In 2010/11, the JDA intends to implement four township developments: Orlando East Station in Soweto; Kliptown in Soweto; Stretford Station in Orange Farm; and Diepsloot in Region A, on the northern perimeter of the city.
The majority of these areas are classified as district nodes in the City’s Regional Spatial Development Framework. District nodes usually serve a few neighbourhoods, but are mainly focused on fulfilling the needs of the local community. The most critical issue to address in a district node is easy access and interconnected pedestrian movement.
ORLANDO EAST STATION
Orlando East Station is a new project that is being implemented by the JDA for a number of important reasons: it is a significant site from a heritage perspective; its location close to Orlando Stadium; its location on the Rea Vaya BRT route; and its proximity to Vilakazi Street and the Orlando Ekhaya projects.
The Orlando East Station precinct is of great significance to the communities surrounding it, because of its good accessibility and range of public amenities. The area is undergoing major infrastructure changes as a result of BRT system upgrades and redevelopment of the Orlando East railway station. These changes will dramatically alter the role and experience of the area.
The Greater Kliptown Development Project (GKDP) was established in November 2001 under the ambit of Blue IQ. The JDA was appointed the implementing agent.
The initial impetus for a Kliptown project was the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter in Kliptown. The GKDP was initiated with an architectural competition for the design of Freedom Square in April 2002. The winning design consisted of two very large buildings flanking the renamed Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, with paving and planting on the square.
About R180-million was spent on this project and the buildings now accommodate a hotel, museum, conference centre and tourism information, business support and some retail. Traders who used to trade on the square are accommodated in a new market under the roof of one of the buildings.
The JDA also constructed a taxi rank, a new park and Klipspruit Valley Road linking Kliptown with the highway. Finally, basement parking was constructed in 2008/09.
Stretford Station is in Orange Farm, on the Johannesburg-Vereeniging boundary, approximately 40km south of the Johannesburg CBD. It falls in Region G and because of its strategic position as a transport node, should be further developed.
The overall objective of the development of this node is to create an environment that will allow the station to function as an efficient public transport inter-modal facility and a local economic hub, serving the immediate community but also playing a catalytic role in stimulating further economic and social investment in the area.
According to the Diepsloot Urban Development Framework, the area is characterised by high levels of multiple deprivation. The Region A Spatial Development Framework for 2007/08 estimated that 74 percent of its housing units were informal structures.
The City of Johannesburg’s development programme for Diepsloot intends to establish the area as a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable human settlement that is spatially integrated into the city with access to basic services and opportunities for social mobility and economic development.
Low income housing and infrastructure improvements in the form of water, sewage and electricity upgrades are ongoing.
Area-based regeneration in townships is a priority for the City of Johannesburg. Forming part of the City’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and falling within the framework of its Growth and Development Strategy, the upgrading of marginalised townships aims to integrate the first and second economies of these areas into the larger economy of Johannesburg.
The City considers areas like Soweto, Orange Farm and Diepsloot to be high priority for future development because of their proximity to transport corridors and because of their marginalised status.
Soweto dates back to 1903, when Kliptown was established, the first mixed-race township for Johannesburg. The most cosmopolitan and populated township in the country, Soweto is home to over a million people. The township economy is vibrant and ranges from informal traders to bed and breakfasts, the latter frequented by the more than 100 000 tourists a year.
Visitors to Johannesburg almost always include Soweto in their itineraries, going to sites such as the Hector Pieterson Museum, Vilakazi Street and Kliptown. The last two areas have had substantial upgrades done by the JDA, with more developments planned.
Orange Farm lies in the extreme south of the city, and forms part of the Deep South, as Region G is also called. As a result of this geographic isolation from Joburg’s economic centre, its development has been severely hampered in the past, with the area still largely untouched by private investment.
Informal business is the dominant form of trade. Almost half of the population is young, the residents in the prime of their economically active years. They continue to live in informal homes, however, and exist on the meagre income generated from their informal trade. Inhabitants of Orange Farm who have work commute long distances daily. Stretford Station in Orange Farm is the central meeting place for everyone. From here, commuters catch taxis and trains to Roodepoort, the city centre and the southeast of Johannesburg.
Diepsloot township was established in 1994 as a relocation area for informal households from Zevenfontein, and later for those people removed from Alexandra East Bank. Located in Region A, it is densely populated and dominated by informal structures set up in haphazard fashion. The total population of Diepsloot is estimated at 150 000 people.
Major backlogs still exist in terms of infrastructure and housing provision. Economic opportunities are still very limited and stronger links with other areas of opportunity are necessary. The township is in close proximity to economically active business corridors such as Fourways, Midrand and Sandton.
The limited number of proper roads hampers strategic densification, and the negligible number of sites with business rights has resulted in the proliferation of illegal and unregulated informal sector activities.
Orlando East upgrades
As part of the Urban Development Framework, the Orlando East Station precinct was identified as a major project. This led to the drafting of the Orlando East Station Precinct Urban Design Framework, which broadly identified the following interventions:
Station forecourt (west)
The proposal focuses on the creation of formal drop-off and pick-up zones with good lighting and landscaping. Adjacent buildings should have a direct relationship with the forecourt, and the forecourt should be clearly defined with good pedestrian connections.
The proposal focuses on the creation of terraced public open space with trading space.
This proposal focuses on the intervention between the police station and Martha Louw Street. The large road reserve (pavement) is appropriate for a hard surface abutting an existing walkway. This surface can be used for parking, as well as gatherings and community events.
In 2010/11, the public square will be developed as the first phase of the Orlando East Station precinct upgrade.
Despite huge investment taking place to turn Kliptown into a proper precinct and the square into public open space, the area requires further development. Residents have voiced dissatisfaction with the quality of the public realm around the square, and the square itself is not used optimally. There are still an estimated 5 950 informal dwellings in Kliptown, and there is a plan to deliver at least 4 900 new subsidized and social housing units over the next five years.
Following the completion of a review of the Kliptown Urban Development Framework in February 2010, three priority urban upgrading projects are proposed for implementation by the JDA.
The Kliptown public environment upgrade in 2010/11 will consist of the following components:
- Upgrading of the pedestrian bridge across the railway line;
- Public environment upgrade of the walkways between the bridge and the railway station; and
- Construction of a building for use as a study area or centre on Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication.
Stretford Station upgrades
The City of Joburg applied to the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant (NDPG), administered by the National Treasury, for funding for Stretford and was allocated R6,7-million in 2008/09 to construct the Ridge Walk, a pedestrian way that links a densely populated neighbourhood in Orange Farm to Stretford Station.
The Ridge Walk is flanked by lights, spaces with seating and art work produced by local artists, and at the crest of the ridge there is a park with children’s play equipment and a small amphitheatre for community events. It has had a significant effect on quality of life in Stretford, and has improved the commuter experience for countless people who previously had to make their way along a dark, rocky and dangerous path up the hillside.
In 2009/10, the JDA spent a further R10,2-million on public environment upgrades to consolidate the link between the Ridge Walk and the station, and on the first phase of stormwater infrastructure in the Stretford Station precinct, including the construction of an attenuation pond.
The main 2010/11 project is the completion of the storm water upgrade, which will consist of the following components:
- Construction of a storm water retention pond;
- Construction of a section of planned storm water drainage system (underground pipes);
- Open V-channels;
- Retaining walls (gabion retaining structures for the pond); and
- Palisade fencing all around the pond.
The scope of work for the public environment upgrading portion of the project is still to be defined, once agreement has been reached with the relevant City of Joburg departments and entities.
The JDA implemented a public environment upgrade project in 2009/10 on the government node (William Nicol Drive and Ingonyama Road intersection), which included upgrading of Ingonyama road paving, kerbing of the pavements, street lighting, street furniture and landscaping.
Ingonyama Road is a major entry into and route through Diepsloot, and the repair of the existing road and installation of a river crossing will improve efficiency of movement and enhance possibilities for economic development.
The following construction work is earmarked in the government node:
- Further upgrading of Ingonyama Road, including paving and kerbing along the pavement, street lighting, street furniture and landscaping;
- Some improvements to the existing taxi rank, such as additions to the admin block and ablutions, paving, public artwork; and
- Construction of two pedestrian bridges – each 60 metres long, precast concrete bridges along the eastern river crossing (Ward 95) and on the western river crossing (Ward 96).