Johannesburg: The New York of South Africa

The question: ‘Why did you come to Johannesburg?’ is the most heard question living in Joburg and being a foreigner. “You come from the Netherlands, we want to go there! Why on earth would you coming to Johannesburg? And why not Cape Town?”

The answer is always the same: Because Johannesburg is such a cool city. There is so much energy, positive developments are taking place everywhere, and there is so much to do! Have you been to this new place in …(fill in the blanks)? Continue reading

Why design is crucial for urban planning

For some time now I have been following the debate on affordable or social housing. In the blog Vision, Apartheid and Gentrification I touched upon some of the general challenges in South African housing and urban development. The last three weeks I have been talking to several experts and I have attended two conferences (Social housing and municipalities & Department of Design). I noticed that I missed one challenge in my previous post: design. This doesn’t mean interior design or art, rather it means architecture, infrastructure, use of materials, human capital and local factors. So how does design fit in with social housing and urban planning? Continue reading