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Urban Design Project One: Walkable Juta Street

Individual Portfolio Songnan Zhang


Project Timeline


Project Background


Film on The Study of Inner-city Regeneration in Johannesburg


Design Precedents Study


Urban Design Principles for Inclusive Public Space in Johannesburg

Group Strategy



Development of Group Strategy


Project Location


Active Street and Dynamic Public Space


General Context


Critical Reflection


Site Analysis




Project Timeline





Precedents in Public Space Design & Ideas on Film -- Inner city regeneration Provisional Manifesto for Inclusive Public inJohannesburg Space in Johannesburg -- Design princples




Spatial Design Strategy -- Vision two

Spatial Design Strategy -- Vision one

Spatial Design Strategy -- Vision three

Feedbacks From Tutors and Students in Johannesburg 1

Project Background

Competitive Urban Culture Rapid Urbanisation

Well-Defined Townscape Images

Creativity and Public Arts Regeneration Project in the City

How about public space? In the contemporary capitalist city across the global, as the pace of profit led development and redevelopment carried out increasingly more rapidly, the places that in between the urban spaces are getting more fragmented, the sense of public in the urban landscape are getting blurred. Where and what is public space in the contemporary context? How to generate meaningfully public space for people? In the process, who is included and excluded?

Where and what is pubilc space? How to generate the meaning and ownership of the public space, by citizen, in their daily life?


Who is included and excluded when we talking about the using and building of the pubilc space?

This portfolio illustrates a public space design and strategy making process for Juta Street in the city central area of Johannesburg, in South Africa. The strategy aim to build a walkable Juate street that not only encourage activities and people's use of public space, but also promote the inclusiveness, which the whole city could benefit from.

Film on The Study of Inner-City Regeneration in Johannesburg

As a part of the group research assignment that study of the innercity regeneration in Johannesburg, we have produced a short film on the topic. It concluded that with the support of government strategies, the City of Johannesburg is now facing greate opportunities for urban regeneration project in the urban core area, but the most of current profit oriented projects are often lack of inclusiveness and fragmented from the urban fabric. This study has significantly informed our strategy for design of walkable Juta Street.

Design Precedents Study Lucky Coin, Hong Kong

"This project is a catalyst for various social dynamics, which relates the urban landscape to daily living, emphasizing characteristics of both." --100 Architects The project proposed 10 platforms for 10 different functions that dynamically and efficiently inject to the limited space of a pier area. The activities range from restaurant to grandstand and play. The incorporated activities will make a unique spatial experience, which emphasis the civic and public identity (100architects, 2015). Source: lucky-coin/


Source: lucky-coin/

The installation of power generating floor tile can help lighting the classroom or the underground traffic light is a great effort of promoting sustainability in the modern society. In the case of school installation, the educational impact of sustainability could be tremendous (Jennifer Elks, 2014).

Energy-Generating Floor Tiles in NYC Prep School and Subway Station, New York City & Tokyo

Source: news_and_views/cleantech/jennifer_elks/ energy-generating_floor_tiles_make_us_ debut_nyc_prep_school

Source: news_and_views/cleantech/jennifer_elks/ energy-generating_floor_tiles_make_us_ debut_nyc_prep_school

Source: article-1094248/The-power-commuter--Japanuses-energy-generating-floor-help-powersubway.htmll


Urban Design Principles for Inclusive Public Space in Johannesburg Dimension


In considering of classes' and racial segregation in Johannesburg, and some of the issues like the regeneration project often fragmented form existing context, as a group, we have summarised eight general urban design principles that aim to assist and generally guide an inclusive urban design project in Johannesburg. Although, some of the principles are made according to the issues in Johannesburg, the main focus of this manifesto can also applied to other contemporary urban design project.


Collaborate Work

Our Vision

Project Location Braamfontein Suburb Area

Pauteng Province Region F

City of Johannesburg

South Africa

City of Johannesburg

The West Part of Juta Street Holding Munch Less Activities

Bertha Street The Major Path That Connect North and Sorth In The Area

Central Business Distrct

Railway Buffer

The University of Witwatersrand Major Free way

Commuter Hubs

Juta Street

Region F

Biccard Street Intersection Is The Most Busy Node In The Area


The project location is site in Juta Street, in the central area of City of Johannesburg, and it is located near to the CBD. Adjacent to it north is the University of Witwatersrand, and on it south, there is a railway line and a major commuter huge.

Juta Street


General Context

Existing Greenery

Car Movement

Energy Flow


Pedestrian Movement

Along the Juta Street, it is clear that the pedestrian walker flow and people’s activities and much more concentrated on the east side of the Juta Street, which divided by the extremely busy road of Bertha Street. The Land use is also more mixed on the east side.


Site Analysis

Nodes View

Street View


Group Strategy Strategy Methdology

The ideology that constructed our group strategy mainly consisted of three parts. Firstly, it is considered that the adequate physical pedestrian spaces, which as a foundation of all of activities and practice, should be provided efficiently, and the coordinated transport and accessibility, which ensure people from other part of the city can more easily access and by various means, were proposed. Secondly, based on the enlarged pedestrian spaces, this section is more about functional bases that provide greener and more attractive environment, and activities that engaging people with the environment and promoted the interactivity between people and environment, and amount people. For the third part, the safety issues were considered. Strategy1: Pedestrian sidewalk expansion Active street furniture Power generating floor tiles Public space Strategy 2: Cooperative Transport Strategy 3: Dimensional Sidewalk Strategy 4: Greenery manipulation Strategy 5: Defensible urban spce


Development of Group Strategy L imp ack of in l d Lac terve ement etail f n o a N k urb o eng of rele tion tions o r the a W a f ea v ch unr ater i n netw gemen ance eali nte ork t of zab rven the le tion loca l ex pro istin bab ly g

stru Feed den bac ts i k fro nJ m oha tuto nne r an sbu d rg

E app xpect to L r par ack of oache see m tici go s ore pat ver syst ion nan em in e ce a atic ach nd stra tegy

The vision of rhythm of the strategy


Active street and dynamic public space

Intervention 1 Pedestrian sidewalk expansion

Intervention 2 Active street furniture

The lack of public space and limited pedestrian sidewalk for people in some of the busiest part of the Juta Street as two main issues, this first strategy aims to providing public and pedestrian space, more street furniture, as well as activity in Juta Street to encourage people to visit, to generate a socially active street, and to stimulate a strong sense of public realm. The first intervention of this first strategy is rather physical and fundamental, which is expansion of the pedestrian sidewalk for people walking in the area, and ensure that there are enough space to accommodating activities and street furniture.


The expanded sidewalk would be also capable for accommodating more street furniture, which provide place for people to gathering, and semi-private table and chair for coffee and shops to make street more active and lively. Various types of material are also proposed to address the diversity on the street.

Intervention 3 Power-generating floor tiles

The third intervention of this strategy is to install a serial of power generating floor tiles on the pedestrian street in some of the most visited nodes of Juta Street. The tiles generate electricity by people’s footstep energy, although the power converted is not highly efficient, the idea is rather educational for the local school students and residents to raise the awareness of sustainable energy sources. The energy generated by the tiles can be used for street lighting and local community event. It is also proposed that the management of the facility could be upon local university and student work co-operatively with local primary and high school, and the university take charge of the tiles at the same time they could use the date for further technological and urban study.


Intervention 4 Public space that inbetween the buildings

The last intervention of this strategy is proposed two public spaces for the east part of the Juta Street. As shown in the conceptual images, the one by the Biccard Street is highly enclosed, and the space is also aim to capable of holding small community or public event like ‘weekend day movie night’ or Sunday market.


Critical Reflection

New Ideas

Critical Thinking


Sharing & Discussing

Group works

Long-form format Firstly, for the most unusual and unfamiliar part of this work, which is the very long format of the final product, I find that it is considerably hard to control and operate with it. Not only it is necessary to consider the actual sizes of every image and diagram on the screen, which is difficult, but also the distribution of spaces on the sheet for each sections and group members are problematic, which require deliberate planning before working and checking every time after the changes. However, when after finish the management of the information and all of the diagrams and notes, it is interesting and helpful to think that, this long-form info-graphic as a complex, which just like an urban complex that reduced in size, it has many interrelated aspects, and the management of such work requires some degrees of acknowledgement, understanding, planning and insight of those aspects. As a process, the building or growing of such complexity requires not only general views which cover the entity, but also careful work on each individual parts, which ensure the consistency and details of the work.

As a group assignment, which is another essential aspect of this work, the collaborative working process also placed some of the critical points for reflection. Firstly, the group of five people, to some extend, made the group work requiring better coordination and significant communications. Although as the number of group members increase, the amount of work for individual reduced, the key is to share the ideas, understanding and views to each other, and this part of the work often was found a little bit difficult. For the group discussion, apart from the sharing of ideas, as process of communication, it is also an effective way to generating new ideas. As the discussion carried out, the inspiring effect of that interaction is very useful for. Therefore, as I am becoming more leading or dominating the discussion, I would like everyone to talk even me or others have no new ideas. But in the group, there were still someone never talk, plus that I was always speaking, I feel that the result of the group works becoming increasingly more imbalance and significantly lack of foresight, and I think a more interactive discussion and collaboration would make the result better. In the group discussion and working process, the different point of views and disagreement could probably resulting a more critical outcome than the one personal view.

Sources and material For the project, as the location of the site is unusually faraway from us and make us completely physically inaccessible to the site, our researches have also been taken some of completely new forms of investigation of a place. For example, the major sources of images and photos of the Johannesburg and more detailed Juta Street were derived from Google Map and it’s Street Views, and therefore the visual sources are identical and very limited. But in order to gain a direct spatial relationship and clear visual understanding of the project street, we have also closely looking at the details of those limited images to gain information as much as possible, and further immerse ourselves in the context to imagine desirable interventions and outcomes for the street. This is so much different from what we usually do, as we can just normally go to the site and experience. This remote way of investigation of a place, to some extents, encourages a deeper focus and use of the sources and materials. Moreover, as we read the map and be very familiar with this two-dimensional, ‘view from above’ format, the acknowledgement of physical urban form replace the situated urban experience.


Group strategy In this project, the group strategy as the final product that aim to guide the development of a inclusive and walkable Juta street, I think our group strategy is to some extent lack of a systematic understanding of such urban intervention. As one the easier feedback, which from student in Johannesburg, pointed out that the group strategy could be rather focus on the strategic interventions that could be implemented in multiple places for several desirable outcomes. Instead, our group strategies have been emphasis the physical improvement too much and miss the key point of building a systematic framework that guide and address the interrelationships, possible outcomes and alternatives of the interventions. In all of three visions of our strategy, there are some inappropriate lacks of coordination and strong interrelationships between individual strategies. This is primarily due to, which as mentioned above, my dominating issue and lack of argument and more critical discussion of the direction of our group works. Lack of critical effective reviews of our own work in the process is another issues that resulting in this imbalanced outcome. Individual part of the strategy For my own individual contributions to the group work, I think I have more or less response to the feedback provided by the tutors and students in Johannesburg, and have made some changes and new attempts to achieve the more participatory and eco-friendly thinking of the public space. But, at the end, the final product in relations to the group strategy might still be fragmented. My contribution to the group strategy is firstly and ideally providing physical spaces for pedestrian and later intervention, and this is the simple and fundamental aspect the group ideology. For other interventions of my part, they are focusing on the engagement of the activities and adding educational function to the public space, as there are few schools around the area. The progression have been made gradually toward the more anticipated outcome, as the feedbacks were extremely useful to reveal the shortages of the work, but if there were more literature reviews and case study have been done, the overall work should be more integrated, and the understanding of the overall objectives of the strategy framework could be more comprehensive.

Reference 100architects, (2015) Lucky Coin: 12 FUNCTIONS, a programatic landscape in a single object. [Online] available at: http://100architects. com/project/lucky-coin/ Elks, J. (2014) Energy-Generating Floor Tiles Make US Debut at NYC Prep School, [Online] available at: news_and_views/cleantech/jennifer_elks/energy-generating_floor_tiles_ make_us_debut_nyc_prep_school


Urban Design Project One: Walkable Juta Street