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Conceiving, producing and managing a neighbourhood

There are a great number of urban interventions proposed within the Gauteng City-Region at present, from transport and area-based upgrading projects (Corridors of Freedom/Transit Oriented Development), to mega-human settlements, inner-city renewal schemes and the establishment of City Improvement Districts in various locations. As they are envisioned, planned and implemented all of these projects will make significant alterations to the urban fabric. It is therefore crucial that research engages with these processes and captures their dynamics, contradictions and outcomes. This project contributes to this endeavour by examining how two area-based management and urban upgrading projects are envisioned and implemented and by drawing attention to the variety of practices, mechanisms, compromises and experiments which are required to bring urban interventions to fruition.

The research entails a case-study of the expanding eKhaya precinct in Hillbrow and the development of a Precinct Plan in Norwood, a suburb in the north-east of Johannesburg. Ekhaya is a Residential Improvement District and was an intervention led primarily by private sector actors. The Grant Avenue Precinct Plan, in contrast, was initiated by local government as part of broader efforts to manage change and facilitate improved residential intensification and transformation in the suburb. The interventions are therefore different examples of urban interventions and mobilise different sets of actors, ambitions and resources.

Research examines the interventions from three perspectives: firstly, it looks at the ways in which the two neighbourhood interventions are conceived/imagined by various actors who operate on different scales. Attention then turns to the different activities and governance arrangements which are utilised to bring the visions to life and produce the neighbourhoods. Lastly, the day-to-day activities and urban management practices which facilitate the neighbourhoods and maintain the interventions are explored to understand the lived dynamics and social relations which these interventions have engendered. Through these different lenses the research thus explores the different ambitions, governance arrangements, alliances and partnerships and actors that are assembled at the neighbourhood scale.

Last updated: 27 October 2017


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