Johannesburg’s inner city has had a thought-provoking and exciting history over the last 25 years.
During the changes that took place around 1994, many white people and white-owned businesses relocated from the city centre, escaping to suburbs and business districts such as Sandton – areas that seemed to promise them “safety and security.”
Apart from the banks, most companies and residents relocated - no longer seeing the area as favourable.
And so government attempted to implement various policies in order to make sure that it was business as usual in the CBD and that the area was an enticing option for large companies.
With these changes and the shift in management, and buildings not being upheld as they once were, many areas gained an air of disrepute as conditions deteriorated.
For change and improvements to reflect positively, an idea blossomed for big business to absorb and assimilate the social and political projects as if they were its own programmes.
An example of this lies in the gentrification that we see in the areas that are known to be bad-for-business areas – making space for them to become business hubs in their own right.
Areas such as Braamfontein, Newtown, Maboneng are exciting cultural and economic hubs forming themselves as go-to-places within the city. While Braamfontein, Newtown, and Maboneng are not without their fair share of problems, these areas are generating substantial revenue for companies and individuals behind the projects there.
Victoria Yards in Lorentzville is one such project. While still in its early stages, tons of development has been promised. Some of Victoria Yards promise already emerging was its hosting of the 2017 Joburg Fringe.
With New Doornfontein and Troyeville as neighbours, the industrial space possesses an impressive 30 000m² of space – displaying the potential to grow into a community of cultural and economic ability.
There are also a number of creative enterprises such as Nandos’ head office across the road and the Art Eye Gallery space in Ellis House located in the area.
Artist studios are springing up around Victoria Yards, because as all ventures of gentrification go, artists are at the centre, setting trends and drawing in tourists with their creativity.
Brian Green, who is the head developer of this project, has placed great importance on community participation and engagement, introducing projects such as craft-based, skill-sharing workshops, and community farming gardens. But only time will tell whether these ideals manifest in actuality.
Watch the Victoria Yards promotional video for more information:
This article first appeared on 702 : Victoria Yards: exciting new inner city space