Watch the full video (above) of the seminar by Dr Tanya Zack where she presents a photo essay on ‘Making Do in a Crowded City: Infrastructure Facing up to In-migration in Johannesburg’s Inner City’.
Johannesburg’s modernist infrastructure was built to last and is highly flexible. Buildings and spaces in many parts of the city have been informalised, and appropriated for uses and densities that exceed the limits of official plans and policies. These are the spaces where people are making do for themselves. Sometimes these ways of living and of making a living are survivalist. It’s a place where life happens under extreme and hazardous circumstances and survival is chanced and carved from inadequate, stressed infrastructure. And often they are entrepreneurial. And they are the places where innovation and learning emerge. In-migrants extract from the city, exploit its infrastructure, but they also adapt it and, in this way, may lay the foundation of a new city form.
The photo essay combined documentary visuals with narrative, relying on combination of sensitive observational narrative and first person insights to provide an intimate view into the particular intersection of people with infrastructures in the inner city. These are contextualised views, grounded in ethnographic documentary work that has formed the basis of the photo book series 'Wake Up This is Joburg'.
Dr Tanya Zack is a South African urban planner, writer and reflective practitioner who straddles the worlds of planning practice, policy, academia and creative writing.
This is the 17th in a series of the Community of Research and Practice (CORP) seminar planned by the Scaling City Institution for India: Sanitation (SCI-FI: Sanitation) initiative. This seminar series seeks to provide a platform for discussing the experiences of the researchers and practitioners on urban sanitation.