Research Articles

Permanent URI for this collection

For information on accessing Architecture content please contact Bongi Mphuti via email : or Tel (W) : 011 717 1978


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 16
  • Item
    Redlining or renewal? the space-based construction of decay and its contestation through local agency in Brixton, Johannesburg
    (Taylor and Francis, 2017-04-21) Haferburg, Christoph; Huchzermeyer, Marie
    In South Africa, space-based exclusion remains prevalent in many forms. In this paper, we focus on the "redlining" of selected neighbourhoods, a technique applied by banks to structure lending decisions in the property market. As a consequence of redlining, prospective home-owners may find it impossible to secure a bond in such an area. This rationale and its results have been described extensively in urban studies literature: zoning areas as "not credit-worthy" prevents investment and creates a self-fulfilling trajectory towards crime and grime. Residents in these neighbourhoods are subject to a practice of territorial stigmatization. This results in economic insecurity with various negative neighbourhood effects, e.g. individual disinvestment or slumlording. Redlining is currently not in the spotlight of media or research in South Africa. The structural effects of this practice, however, are significant. The translation of socio-spatial perceptions into financially excluding techniques is not prevented in South African legislation. The relevance of dissecting this conundrum is demonstrated in our case study of Brixton, one of Johannesburg’s socio-economically most diverse neighbourhoods. It is precisely in mixed areas such as Brixton on Johannesburg’s east-west axis where redlining is applied, effectively devaluing a process of unplanned socio-economic integration of over two decades. In our case study, however, we observe how some residents respond to this and successfully counter redlining by banks with a combination of individual and collective strategies. However, our case of local agency also demonstrates the huge effort that is needed to challenge the financial institutions’ spatial ideology.
  • Item
    The rhetorical devices for marketing and branding Johannesburg as a city: a critical review
    (Sage Publications, 2015) Sihlongonyane, Mfaniseni Fana
    Since the founding of the city of Johannesburg in 1886, the city has taken up the quest to project a modernist image whose meaning has an international reach and a local foundation. In this endeavor, its locational advantages, product (gold), ethnicity (African), race, and class (notwithstanding the interconnections of these factors) has been used as part of the branding narratives of the city. However, the use of these factors has been closely shaped by the political ideologies of the day. While the brand imaginary of the apartheid government was largely Euro-modernist and dependent on the use of locational, product, and racial influences, the post-apartheid vision has been Afro- modern relying on the fusion of global and African images informed by ethnicity and class. Whereas the two governments had political systems that differ widely on ideological grounds, both have had to contend with the indelible influence of the global market in the production of the city’s brand narratives. The paper traces the different trajectories of image/branding narratives of the city from its founding to the present. Consequently, it posits the theoretical argument that a global-African imaginary as a form of African modernity is the driving force for the branding of Johannesburg. The goal of the paper is not to assess the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns but to gain insights into the city’s self-reflective efforts at re-imagining the city’s identity as captured in branding texts through a critical and interpretive approach. The paper presents an Afro-modernity that is relational and inclusively intercultural but perverted by the hegemonic impact of neoliberal policy and its adverse articulations of globalization.
  • Item
    The legal meaning of Lefebvre’s the right to the city: addressing the gap between global campaign and scholarly debate
    (Springer, 2017-06)
    There is a growing consideration globally of a right to the city in urban policies, strategies and legislation. The mention of this concept in the UN’s New Urban Agenda vision statement, in relation to human rights, both acknowledges and encourages this trend. It is also a result of lobbying and contestation. In the Anglo-American scholarly literature, there has been caution as to whether Henri Lefebvre intended a legal and institutionalized meaning for his ‘right to the city’. This paper reviews these debates and from that perspective examines Lefebvre’s positions on law, rights and the right to the city. It locates this within his wider political strategy and in particular the three-pronged strategy he put forward in The Urban Revolution to address the urban question – political foregrounding of the urban, promotion of self-management, and introduction of the right to the city into a transformed contractual system. By contextualizing and reviewing Everyday Life in the Modern World (published immediately before Right to the City), the paper examines Lefebvre’s thinking on rights formation, within ‘opening’, or the process of inducing change. The paper engages with meanings Lefebvre provides for rights in his concept of the right to the city, including his later conception of a contract of citizenship. The paper suggests that engagement with a fluid role of law and rights, in combination with Lefebvre’s other strategies, is important in opening the pathway he charts for the realization of this right, whether through local or global initiatives.
  • Item
    Aiton Court: Relocating Conservation between Poverty and Modern Idealism
    (International committee for documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the modern movement, 2013-01) le Roux, Hannah; Hart, Brendan; Mayat, Yasmin
    Aiton Court, in Johannesburg, is a case study in how heritage and economics clash in economically constrained cities. This iconic and formally innovative Modern apartment block from 1937 is located in an area where the income levels of tenants are now very low. Although the building is protected by legislation, the viability of its restoration is being further tested by a rent boycott. The article covers the building’s history, and questions how to approach its conservation differently, given the strong demand for housing at a cost level that would be excluded by purely market–led gentrification. We propose that locating conservation strategies in relation to the building’s history and to other subsidies aimed at the public good may provide other routes to preserving Aiton Court.
  • Item
    Book review: The Architecture of Demas Nwoko, by John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood
    (Farafina, Lagos, 2007) le Roux, Hannah
    Given the challenges of access and archives, it is hard to get down to detail in the documentation of modern African architecture. This architectural monograph by Nigerian based architects John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood is a moving and meticulous catalogue of the designed work of their friend, the artist Demas Nwoko, that is refreshingly full of both architectural and anecdotal details. It begins with two short essays on Nwoko’s creative background and an analysis of his approach to design, but for the most part describes, in drawings, text and photographs, his twelve built and five unexecuted works.