An Exploration of the Social Production of Vilakazi Street as a Social Space

Segooa, Tjaka
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Uncertainties of globalisation and gentrification remain a persistent in former black townships. The assimilation of these ideologies has led to several unintentional consequences in spaces such as Vilakazi Street, Orlando West. Vilakazi Street has been identified by the City of Johannesburg through its implementing agent, Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) as a potentially significant heritage, cultural and economic node. But the cultural implications are unknown. This study looks at the social production of Vilakazi Street within the context of Soweto in three criteria: the conceived, perceived and lived spaces since 1994. It critically explores how creativity and innovation within the social space of the street has contributed to the needs of existing local communities. Thirty five respondents were randomly selected and interviewed. These included government officials, local residents, business representatives, and tourists. In this quest, the conceived space focuses on how various interventions on the street were imagined by government officials and designers, the perceived space looks at how ordinary people have assigned meaning to the street, and the lived space focuses on the actual experience and purposeful use of the Street. The study has discovered that the use of a variety of spatial symbols allow experiments that may return spaces to the control of humanised and anti-capitalism everyday spatial practices. Thus, a consideration of cultural planning can offer better perceptions into the values and aspirations of existing local communities and enclose the gap between the past, present and future in such contexts.
Planning Honours Research Report 2014, Wits University
Space, Social Production of Space, Culture, Branding
Segooa, T (2014). An Exploration of the Social Production of Vilakazi Street as a Social Space, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg