MA Urban Design Studio | Group 4: Neighbourhood tactics
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Group 4: Neighbourhood tactics

Public space is an urban asset, therefore, the right to exploit its socio – economic potential, should be everyone’s right. The recent gentrification of Braamfontein, resulting as a unified interest monopoly of private investers and public agencies, has pushed the already marginalized working class out of the public realm, further strengthening the legacy of the Apartheid. This understanding of social inequality, spatial exclusion and the importance of Public space as a mean to generate livelihoods led us to the decision of acting as an agency for the urban poor.



To give back  the informal traders, especially women, their rightful place in the CBD and design a framework for them to climb up the social ladder. It will not only target the provision of a place to claim but also training a work force that identifies itself as the equitable owner of the space through participatory resilience and capacity building workshops.



The approach deals with leftover spaces in the CBD area. For our first pilot project we chose the alley connecting Melle street and Biccard Street through The Grove. It falls right at the boundary of the area that denies access to the Informal traders. This is another effort to generate a social mix in the area as the space is used by all three user groups (students, residents and corporate employees)

For our Tactical Involvement, we are proposing a rather radical intervention by using the alleyway as a narrow terraced market place with the lowest level dedicated to selling of goods and the remaining two for storage facilities and community gardens. We also propose to allow places for the vendors to utilise their skills to create more activities in the space. Eg knitting workshops , cooking classes etc.


It will be a testing ground for our theory of inclusivity through architecture. It will improve the movement around providing students with goods at relatively affordable prices, making the streets safer ( source). It will also prove pivotal in allowing for more unemployed people who do not have any chances of moving into the formal sector, to generate income and earn their livelihood. Considering the very nature of the issue, and the imbalance in might create in the market monopoly, there might also be extreme reactions from both private investor and public agencies. Although given their previous investments and efforts to revive the use of alleyways, this proposal aims to deliver on all fronts.





Former Street Traders Tell Their Story

GCRO 2013 QoL Survey



Joburg Inner City Urban Design Implementation Plan 2009_Part 3

local_government_-_municipal_systems_act_32-2000_-_city_of_johannesburg_-_informal_trading_by-laws_final  by laws 3



Shaoying Cao