MA Urban Design Studio | Group 5: Neighbourhood Tactics
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Group 5: Neighbourhood Tactics


Braamfontein, termed as ‘the spring by the brambles’, is located north of Johannesburg’s city center. Despite decades of fluctuating fortunes, it has remained an important economic and entertainment hub. It is a commercially and culturally diverse business district composed of corporate offices, student residences and commercial buildings.

According to “Braamfontein socio spatial mapping”, a research document by BLITZ, energy nodes are the car corridors, petrol stations, the Saturday market, The Grove and bus stops. Most of the energy nodes are not located around shaded areas. These energy nodes, along with economic activities need to be aligned with the existing movement patterns of the neighborhood to create sustainable activity corridors. Many people currently use the streets as gathering and meeting spaces for social interactions e.g., the transit points while waiting for transport. These areas are the busiest in terms of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Most of the movement is recorded around De Kort, De Beer, and Bertha Street. This concentration creates many points of frequent traffic congestion.

Different elements of street furniture can be found around Braamfontein, which are placed randomly and are scarce. Garbage bins, benches and trees do not fulfill the needs of the neighborhood.

The area evolved as a dense urban fabric with heavy traffic but limited parking spaces, pedestrian crossings, or transit seating spaces. It lacked legibility and sense of space, making it insecure for residents. Having no open public spaces and bad infrastructure devalued the land creating a huge environmental divide within the area. The mobility around the site and social interactive spaces are major issues to be addressed. On an average waiting for Rea Vaya bus takes 15 minutes and there is no defined timetable for Metro bus. There is a need of defined public transport network to be integrated with public spaces.

Addressing to both of these problems we are designing Public spaces around transit points. As the bus stops are the potential points for public interaction. People of varied age groups, racial and socio-economic classes come together on the same platform to wait for their transport. These places have the potential to become the site of our pilot project.










































Chen Chen