What's the Plan stimulates inner city dialogue

What's the Plan stimulates inner city dialoguePeople attending What's the Plan are invited to jot their comments on sticky notes and attach them to the exhibition. These are just some of the results. SEE GALLERY BELOW FOR MORE IMAGES

The Johannesburg Development Agency's (JDA's) What's the Plan exhibition is drawing a lot of feedback from inner city stakeholders, with residents, youth groups and planners among those who have been joining the conversation.

Members of the #JeppePhotoClub visit the exhibitionMembers of the #JeppePhotoClub paid a special visit to the exhibition. SEE GALLERY BELOWThe exhibition, which opened in Maboneng at the start of the month and runs through Saturday, 29 August, provides a platform for reflection and engagement as it charts the evolution of approaches to regeneration and spatial planning in the inner city from 2000 to 2015.

The exhibition emphasizes interaction, encouraging visitors to jot down their comments on sticky notes and to paste them where appropriate on the exhibition itself.

With the exhibition now past the halfway point, a significant amount of feedback has already been generated.

"I want to feel safer. More coffee shops. Love the art. Love the market. Love what you're doing," one visitor wrote, while others called for "cleaner, safer parks that are functional", "more infrastructure development" and "more artistic theatres".

Some encouragement for the JDASome encouragement for the JDA, which has made artworks a feature of its public environment upgrades. SEE GALLERY BELOWA number of comments gave pointers to the kind of inner city envisioned by residents: the city should be developed as a "thriving entrepreneurial hub," one person wrote, while another offered enthusiastically, "Make Joburg the place to be".

And a big thumbs-up went to the City's Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, one of the JDA's flagship projects, which elicited a host of comments along the lines of "more Rea Vaya, less private cars", "Rea Vaya bus lanes are a great initiative", and "more Rea Vaya expansion".

'Potentially the beginning of a much wider engagement'

Mariapaola McGurk, collaborator at agency The Coloured Cube, described the dialogue as encouraging. "To me an exhibition is one of the ways to get across a large amount of information in a visual way so a large amount of people can understand," she said. "There has been a very positive feedback."

Besides individual visitors, a number of groups, including the Jeppe Photo Club, Jeppe Photo Walkers, Inner City Poets and One Love Skate Expo, have attended the exhibition, which McGurk believes is the start of a wider process of unravelling information and engaging with the people of Joburg.

Sharing lessons, strengthening relationshipsThrough What's the Plan, the JDA hopes both to share the lessons it has learnt over the last 15 years, and to strengthen its relationships with affected communities and relevant stakeholders."The social media and notes pasted on the exhibition go hand-in-hand," she said, adding: "An architect asked me if we had to initiate the note pasting around the exhibition in order to get people engaging. I thought about it, because I thought people would be nervous, but the truth is that people just took this exhibition on.

"People from all walks had something to say and they wanted to say it. This is why I believe this exhibition has the potential to burst open a dialogue for people within the city."

What's the Plan? (Inner City) is open to the public at the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA) at 27 Fox Street in Maboneng until 29 August.

The exhibition will be followed in 2016 by What's the Plan? (Alexandra), which will document the evolution of the JDA's development planning for the city's oldest township.

 

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