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Corridors of Freedom

On the 17 January, UCL Bartlett hosted a second event in London as part of its Large Scale Urban Development series. This time it was a unique opportunity to compare one of London’s opportunity area developments (Old Oak & Park Royal) with international projects of a similar scale.

Of particular interest, was the work of the Johannesburg City Council to radically address inequality through transport oriented interventions.

“It is officially recognised that apartheid spatial planning has left the City with sprawling low-density areas without viable public transport systems. The majority of working class and poor citizens are still living on the fringes of the city and have to commute over long distances to access work and economic opportunities.”
– Johannesburg City Council

The City Council used a wide range of participatory planning and consultation methods and employed non-technical drawing techniques to communicate ideas and themes to the public and encourage involvement.

Herman Pienaar (Director, City Transformation and Spatial Planning for the City of Johannesburg) presented a fascinating walkthrough of their public consultation processes. He described the complexities of Johannesburg and how government funding was crucial to land acquisition along key roadways into the centre of the city. These “corridors”, as they see it, are a means to get people from poor communities in the suburbs to their jobs in the core. This is also a way to encourage social mixing, getting black and white people to use the same transportation systems and the same services within the city.

“There will be a clean break with apartheid spatial distribution and people living on the periphery will be able to move closer to economic opportunities. The shape of the future City will consist of well-planned transport arteries – the “Corridors of Freedom”
– Johannesburg City Council

More on the Corridors of Freedom project can be found here

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