Informal city on show


Informal settlements in Lawley township west of JohannesburgInformal settlements in Lawley township west of Johannesburg

URBAN design and architecture will be at the heart of an exhibition on South Africa's informal sectors, to be held at the Bus Factory in Newtown from 11 November to 11 December.

Titled South African Informal City, the exhibition is an initiative of the Architects' Collective, in partnership with the Johannesburg Development Agency, the Neighbourhood Development Programme of the National Treasury, South African Cities Network and the National Research Foundation Chair in Development Planning and Modelling.

"The intention of the South African Informal City exhibition is to open up dialogue and discussion around the critical issues of informality and sustainable city development in order to further co-operation, information-sharing and positive action between policy makers, practitioners, academics, students and civil society involved in this environment," says Karen Eicker, a director at Architects' Collective.

Some 20 projects in five categories will comprise the exhibition, with the focus on ground-breaking projects throughout the country, especially in places where urban migration is high. These five categories are: inner city informality, in-situ upgrading, catalytic projects, un-built projects and backyard interventions.

"Work will include proposed and realised catalytic interventions in informal settlements, and incremental upgrading and process work that provide opportunities for communities," she says. "[It will include] research that documents the real demand around housing and rental accommodation, and even student work that maps the current circumstances of informal settlement dwellers."

It's summed up by its tagline: "The exhibition is a showcase of relevant and innovative projects that explore informality in the modern metropolis."

A particular focus will be the magnetic quality of cities, which attract people through promises of a better life. This in turn means that metropolitan areas have a continuous need to provide housing and other amenities, according to the Informal City website.

"The concept for the exhibition is to celebrate and showcase the important design and research work being conducted in our country, some of which is unique to the South African condition, and some of which shares questions and concerns with other developing countries," the website reads.

For more information on the exhibition, visit the website.

The Bus Factory is located at 3 President Street in Newtown, and is the home of the JDA.

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