jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013

#books #architecture | Fast forward Johannesburg : [new architecture and urban planning in South Africa]

Fast forward Johannesburg : [new architecture and urban planning in South Africa] : [exhibition march 11 - april 21, 2005, Aedes East, Berlin] / [curator, Dagmar Hoetzel].
Aedes, Berlin : 2005.
47 p. : il., planos
Ed. bilingüe alemán - inglés
ISBN 393709346X
Arquitectura -- Siglo XXI -- Sudáfrica.
Urbanismo -- Sudáfrica.
Exposiciones -- Alemania.
Johannesburgo (Sudáfrica)
Sbc Aprendizaje A-72.038(680) FAS 

Last year, South Africa proudly celebrated the 10th anniversary of its newly founded democratic order. Despite apprehensions on many sides, the abolition of the racist Apartheid system was not accompanied by civil war or economic and administrative collapse. Instead, the country on the Cape of Good Hope has established itself as one of Africas most economically and politically stable nations. Johannesburg and the province of Gauteng make up South Africas economic engine, and the continents largest business center south of the Sahara.

If the new government, elected in 1994, pledged itself to make life better and more just life for the previously disadvantaged black majority, then to redeem this promise has been a protracted and difficult process. The construction of a society based on democracy and equality involves all spheres of life ' including architecture. Today, design processes for public building projects are stamped by the participation of all users (not just judges and officials, but bus drivers and street merchants as well), as well as residents. And the same is true of South Africas search for its identity, of its confrontation with its history, and of its striving to help smaller local businesses to become viable while enabling them to participate in economic and cultural construction processes.

Johannesburg is set high up on a plateau lying at altitudes of between 1600 and 1800 meters. The inner city, with its generations of high-rises arranged on an orthogonal grid, is delimited by motorway and railway lines. Stretching out in a great sweep to the north are the formerly whites-only residential districts. The townships where the black citizenry resides are set outside of the inner city. Soweto, the largest of them, lies to the southwest, separated from the city by a strip of goldmines running along an east-west axis, whose gold-colored mining waste heaps mark the cityscape. The first gold finds of 1886 ' which led to the discovery of the largest deposits worldwide ' triggered Johannesburgs development.

In the inner city, each parcel has been rebuilt, it is said, four or five times, as various styles from around the world were adopted, adapted, and transformed. Johannesburg has always been characterized as being erratic and uncontrollable by nature, as a city capable of generating the best along with the worst. During the Apartheid era, policies of spatial segregation were enforced here with special severity. And with a dynamism peculiar to this city, the fall of Apartheid sparked initially unplanned and uncontrolled processes of wide-ranging transformation. The metamorphosis of Johannesburgs old inner city into an African metropolis was accompanied by the migration of offices, commercial buildings and exclusive shops into newly constructed office parks and shopping malls in the northern suburbs, where new guarded residential parks have also sprung up.

Several years ago, on the other hand, the municipal and provincial governments initiated comprehensive programs designed to revitalize the inner city and to improve living conditions in the townships. Among these programs are infrastructural measures as well as construction related to tourism projects, industry, services and research.

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