Ekurhuleni transformative urban regeneration conference
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, seen by some as a “rustbelt enclave” in the east of Johannesburg, became the focus of international urban practitioners and South African guests in 2013. Prompted by the suggestion of an Ekurhuleni official who attended a conference in Medellín and was inspired by the once similarly-challenged Columbian city’s progress. ACC/Cityscapes curated and ran a conference inviting experts from cities ranging from Sao Paula, Tijuana and Delhi to turn their attention and experience on to the lesser known South African city. Two days of information exchange, in which international case studies made conversation with South African contexts, culminated in a closed workshop on the third day, where speakers and municipal practitioners explored together how create urban regeneration can be feasibly employed in the metro. Ekurhuleni is a contributor to nearly 25% of Gauteng’s economy, often a first stop of rural migrants, and home to O.R. Tambo International Airport. It is also the most unequal municipality in the world.
Leading up to the conference, a team led by film maker Kgomotso Matsunyane created as series of short films collectively titled My Ekurhuleni. These films gave a no-holds bared look of the city and brought citizen perceptions of the city and it’s government into the conference room, offering conference participants a reminder of the context their outlooks needed to be guided by.
A print supplement also ran with Cityscapes is5 drawing on ideas which came out of the conference as well as providing a narrative and historical examination of the city of Ekurhuleni. The supplement included some long form reporting, citizen perspectives as well as photography and data on the city.