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Integrated Neighbourhood - Slovo Park

INTEGRATED NEIGHBOURHOOD - SLOVO PARK

Johannesburg 2011
Design Consultant: Michael Hart Architects. Urban Designers
Client: Gauteng Local Government and Housing / City of Johannebsurg

The Study Area

The informal housing settlement of Slovo Park is located within the township of Coronationville. The settlement is flanked by open space to the north within Coronationville and open ground to the east within the township of Crosby.The study area is located in western Johannesburg within Administration Region B and within the city's east west development corridor.

Design Analysis :Status Quo

The acquired land to the north and the east of the settlement offer the opportunity to extend the development over a larger area offering a Greenfields element to the proposed development. The larger development offers the opportunity to link with surrounding road networks.The southern edge is bounded by the railway reserve , forming a hard boundary edge. Connectivity shall encourage opportunities of mixed use retail and commercial activities. The direct linkages from neighbouring areas will inform a wider consumer catchment allowing the future economic sustainability of the study area.

Urban Design Approach: Connectivity with neighbouring suburbs.

This is beneficial on many levels. Lines of movement shall be direct and convenient; this will improve the routing of public transportation, direct movement for private vehicles wil open up access for pedestrians and bicycles in an east west direction, up to date the sites have been an obstacle for movement and therefore the decline of growth.
Continuity of the urban fabric, improving desire lines and introducing varying built typologies and uses shall achieve a positive and dynamic neighbourhood.

Pedestrian Orientated Design (POD)

This approach aims to create an equitable use between Vehicle and Pedestrians. POD leads to a clear definition of road hierarchies, public transportation , vehicular collector roads, neighbourhood roads and pedestrian / private vehicular roads with integrated street courts.
Fine grain block layout, an open street network with variations shall create a walkable neighbourhood. The inclusion of mid block pedestrian "right of way" paths have been inluded to link the high level public transport route with mixed use nodes of community / retail and recreational facilities . The pedestrian right of way is flanked on either side with activity generating uses such as retail shops, informal and formal trading opportunities.
Safety of pedestrians is paramount to the success of creating a walkable neighbourhood. Landscaping, paving, lighting and street furniture and long term maintenance must be part of the development budget.
Socio -economic functions and relevant infrastructure shall be invested in within the public realm to ensure the attraction for business opportunities.

Economic Development opportunities for small scale economic activity.

Economic activity shall be a planned component of the development of Slovo Park to ensure an economic and socially sustainable settlement. The development shall offer a hierarchy of economic activity. The range of zoning opportunities shall allow for a mix of business opportunities.

Hierarchies of business zoning:

High order formal Retail/Office / light manufacturing: supermarket, butchery, fruit &vegetable traders, furniture sales and repairs, clothing chains, curtain manufacturers etc;
Second level formal retail: such as small shops, restaurants, take away foods, service orientated shops: hardware, locksmith, laundromat, chemists etc
Third level informal traders and small micro stalls:such as clothing, fresh and cooked food, bags and phone stalls etc
Employment generation is a major objective of the developmental process. It is proposed that the initial infrastructure
investment be directed to road networks and trading related sites and services. This shall enable people to create a foothold on an economic basis assisting them to afford an improved lifestyle. The majority of low income or unemployed beneficiaries who will be attracted to this new neighbourhood form part of the "informal sector". It is therefore important to align 'Urban Markets' with public spaces; pedestrian movement routes and public transportation, pick up and drop off points, allowing entrepreneurs to respond appropriately to urban structuring . The implementation of Urban Markets should remain the responsibility of the Local Authority.

Advantages of promoting markets by means of public actions:

i. Creating urban markets enables small traders to gain access to viable locations.
ii. The physical concentration of traders increases their drawing capacity and enables competition .
iii. Markets in low-income areas can provide a service to consumers. Offering variety, choice of goods, convenience at a localised scale.
The urban markets is linked by the pedestrian route to other forms of public infrastructure, such as the community hall, creche, clinic, public square, parks and religious gathering points reinforcing the importance of public investment and social return.

Continued on Panel 2 | Panel 3 | Panel 4.

MICHAEL HART ARCHITECTS URBAN DESIGNERS