featured image

Officials, politicians, non-governmental organisations and academics from across the country gathered at the Newtown Turbine Hall on 5 and 6 March to discuss themes and demonstrate projects relating to the concept of Spatial Transformation in our Cities, an event hosted by the South African Cities Network (SACN), the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency.

The primary motivation behind the two-day conference was to convene different key role-players in the development field to:

  • Showcase and interrogate thinking and practical work undertaken by cities like Johannesburg to contribute to practice-based learning (the city as laboratory)
  • Gain knowledge and insight by considering examples and lessons from other cities
  • Deepen mutual understanding and learning regarding challenges and strategies for spatial transformation
  • Build the capacity of learning institutions and learning networks
  • Contribute to informing national and local urban and spatial development policies and plans

The fun commenced a day ahead of the conference when a number of guests were invited to take part in a Joburg City Challenge. Imagine the Great Race propelled by the city's public transport infrastructure: a heady combination of adventure, problem-solving and navigating contestants throughout the city using BRT, taxi, road and rail.

This was one part of an ambitious programme of events that combined interactive sessions, guest lectures, a gala dinner, exhibitions, a book launch and a specially commissioned video on spatial transformation co-funded by the HDA (available on our website soon).

In addition to the real-time interactions, a number of position papers had been developed and circulated prior to the event, including the HDA's perspective on growth and investment trends developed by the Land Information Systems team.

The HDA played a significant role in assisting the content committee that had been established in the months preceding the event, and was rewarded with a number of platforms to present an Agency perspective on the land-assembly strategy and principles for prospective Priority Housing Development Areas, and a permanent exhibition stand during the formal two-day proceedings.

Presentations made during the conference can be accessed on: http://www.sacities.net/joburg_spatial_transformation/