Jacobus, Uys
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This thesis explores the role of the Johannesburg Minibus Taxi Industry as a city- making device, both as a concentrator as well as a separator of different people and different industries. The taxi industry’s role in the city oscillates between an activity- generator and inhibitor depending on what state the mini-bus taxi is in. By concentrating people during drop- off or pick- up phases of a commute, the density of commuters afford traders and other commercial entities an accessible market to exploit and sell their wares to, but during off-peak hours the taxi industry is static and doesn’t attract activity, other than taxi- centric activity. The city provides limited amount of space for the taxi to operate in, which forces taxis to territorialise public streets spaces during off- peak hours when the industry is in a lull. These territorialised spaces are then limited to a set taxi- centric function and are prevented from becoming spaces with a greater variety of function or activities. By introducing a space that allows taxis to park, or hold, off street as a means to allow current streetscapes, currently defi ned as taxi spaces, to become open to a reinterpretation by citizens and to fulfi l needs of the citizenry will afford the city a greater level of workability and engagement from all parties involved. In order to achieve a city that is reinterpretable by its citizenry and to do it successfully, the need to establish what constitutes a good urban form is paramount. Dense, diverse, multi- functional and interesting urban morphology is key, but none of this can be addressed if the status quo of the urban environ remains the same. By proposing the construction of a mixed-use taxi holding space on the existing Jack Mincer Taxi Rank, in order to allow taxis currently parking and holding on street to be able to hold in a safe and secure building. This proposal will serve as a catalyst in development for the surrounding urban context which will allow for the redesign of these previously taxi- focused urban spaces to evolve into mixed- use developments that provide housing, commercial opportunities as well as recreational spaces in the existing End Street Park. R einvigorating the existing urban condition through reconfi guring the surrounding urban condition, there is an opportunity to relook at the existing taxi industry itself and its workings and reimagine it. To create a system that allows for greater economic opportunities for associations, owners and drivers. However, in order to achieve a greater level of effi ciency in the current taxi industry, numerous changes need to be made to implement these processes, the least of which will drastically affect and reduce the amount of taxi drivers on the roads. Since drivers are already in a constricted position in terms of job opportunities, these individuals will invariably be victimised and be forced into a position of joblessness, due to South Africa’s struggling economy. By introducing an enterprise component to the project that will help facilitate skill- creation and foster entrepreneurship in drivers, and former drivers, the industry becomes an important stepping stone in developing a workable economy that supports and engenders greater and varied economic activity, by directly encouraging the development of entrepreneurs and skill development. Furthermore, by not just targeting the taxi industry directly, but also by engaging with industries dependent on the taxi industry, this intervention further develops the market district in the region, and further enables traders in the region to exploit the pedestrian market and encourage a richer economic activity on the chosen site, and the surrounding urban context. This intervention is not just reconfi guring an urban condition, but also an industry’s effect on that condition, through the introduction of the Urban Taxi Terminal.