JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY PUBLIC PARK
Revitalising the city through landscape development corridors.
In 2009, the Johannesburg Development Agency solicited proposals for the development of a large urban park, to serve as a break-out area for the Johannesburg inner city. Co-Arc International began by analysing the inner city in terms of space, landmarks, land use and areas requiring regeneration as well as transport links and open space.
It became clear that the city was suffering from containment within peripheral buffer zones, which separate the inner city from adjoining neighbourhoods. Essentially, the city is contained by elevated motorways on the east, west and northern edges, while the mining belt on the southern side of the city represents a swathe of brownfield land that is environmentally and geotechnically compromised.
Co-Arc proposed a concept that uses the peripheral constraints to develop a circular system of green open spaces, anchored by three large parks developments at Doornfontein (Ellispark Sports precinct), Faraday Precinct (southern edge) and Braamfontein (railway yards). The parks’ designs incorporated the sale of public land on the parks’ edges, which would finance the establishment of the parks themselves, but also support neighbourhood development and regeneration of the inner city.
The urban design proposal would redress urban decay and neglect, to unlock the potential for residential and commercial redevelopment along the edges of these green spaces. It would also integrate movement in the city by linking neighbourhoods for pedestrians, and plug into existing green corridors that extend deep into suburbia.
Many of the concepts presented in the proposal have the opportunity to drive both sustainable economic development and a healthy and vibrant city.