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About GRIND: Global Regeneration Initiative for Neighbourhood Development. GRIND is a non-for profit organisation founded in 2013 by Propertuity, the South African company responsible for creating and developing Johannesburg’s famed Maboneng Precinct.

GRIND is an international network of regenerated neighbourhoods and buildings restored by owners, organisations and developers. GRIND encourages the sharing of best practices in urban regeneration around the world.

GRIND Global GRIND Global is an international network that connects revived neighbourhoods around the world, and provides information about the latest urban regeneration successes and trends.

GRIND Studios GRIND Studios for Urban Innovation are located in partnering GRIND neighbourhoods. These local GRIND spaces function on a residency basis where people passionate about urban innovation and experienced in all disciplines can come work in the GRIND Studio space and implement innovative urban projects that have a positive impact on the neighbourhood development. This brochure displays one of these projects. “GRIND JHB” is the first GRIND Studio space. It currently is located on the 5th floor of Situation East building, in the Maboneng Precinct.

Project description: Maboneng in Numbers By

Contact Details Name: Daniel Ebert E-mail: Cell: 072 36 23 948

Project GRIND: Maboneng in Numbers A scientific survey of Maboneng’s demographics will ensure a better understanding of the neighbourhood’s actors, their desires, wishes and demands. As the survey asks for Maboneng as a whole it is necessary to look sharply on both, the residential aspect and the business activities. The goal of this research is therefore defined as a substantive database which makes it possible to design a smarter urban development for the precinct considering the needs of its actors.

What are we going to do? The development of the Maboneng precinct started in 2009 and has brought a great variety of changes to the neighbourhood. The district itself is located east of Johannesburg downtown circumscribed by Error Street and the Ellis Park Station in the North, Madison Street and the Jeppe Train Station in the East, Marshall Street in the South and the Joe Slovo Drive in the West. These physical boundaries shouldn't prevent the attention from the surrounding areas which also have an impact on the precinct. The importance of real estate investments in South Africa in general and the increasing interest in Johannesburg downtown areas in the context of various new developments in particular became an important drive for Maboneng. A constant rise in cost for the square meter makes investments in property attractive in a long term and a good option against other portfolios. On

the on hand this dynamic change is wanted, on the other hand it creates effects which are unpredictable. One focus of this research therefore is the investigation on how an increasing quality of the property, amount of buildings, residents, workers and visitors influence the characteristics of an authentic urban area. Authenticity is an argument for many creative industries to establish Maboneng as a creative hub and also merchandise their products directly in the neighbourhood. Hence, future developments should also keep in mind this special constellation to prevent results like a gentrified Greenwich Village, New York or Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, which has lost most of its original characteristics. Though these examples are well documented one should always consider the unique situation in Johannesburg and remember safety and public security aspects. Scientific analyses of the situation of creative workers may help to see the threshold which makes an environment fertile for this growing branch of a city’s economy. Yet, they also point out the limitation in space and in this context help to prevent misdirected investments. Being more than a creative environment for artists, the Maboneng precinct tries to include every resident and improves the neighbourhood from the bottom up. The formation of small businesses in the culinary field, or in retail is only one example. Besides the research on the authenticity and creative work, the third focus of this survey, is to improve the possibility for local economic activity to establish. This will be achieved by a profound understanding of the main obstacles entrepreneurs and enthusiastic workers face when setting their own business. It wouldn’t fulfil the expectations of the interactional character of the GRIND projects, when all the different interest groups are treated as separate from one another. Local creative workers, small businesses and residents are only examples of miscellaneous actors. Ties between different groups are the actual value of a vivid neighbourhood. When identified by their individual characteristics the interaction between interests will be object of further research. The main questions in this context are, whether ties exist, why certain ties are stronger than others and how ties can be activated/ strengthened. Research on the connective dynamics in the precinct follow a first demographic analysis and can only be done when interest groups are defined.

The data will be elevated by a qualitative method in the form of expert interviews and the scientific analysis of the results. Expert interviews are a proper approach to this task, because a great variety of data will be collected from which further studies can be derived. A quantitative methodology would restrict the survey only to pretended problems. This doesn’t cope with the complexity of a precinct in change. It also should be considered that the researcher is more likely to lose sight of the initial question. A clear definition of the wanted results therefore is compulsory without loosing the creativity and pleasure of working in an innovative environment.

Objectives The objectives of the Maboneng demographic survey is split in two different accomplishments. The first one is obviously the answer to the questions of authenticity, creative industries, local engagement and the ties between pressure groups. This enables a smarter urban development considering demographic facts as well as a more connected neighbourhood. The second result is the research design itself. The creation of the questionnaire for the expert interviews requires a certain pre-understanding of the precinct and takes some reflection of the situation before the actual research even starts. The questionnaire may be used for future studies and serve as a database. Directly derived from the raw data various pressure groups and their characteristics define the actors more accurate.

Funding The project does not require any funding.

Timeline The project is taking from the 21st of April until the 18th of June 2014.

Date (weeknr)



21st April - 4th May



5th May - 25th May

Expert Interviews

Raw Data

26st May - 1st June



2nd June - 18th June


Demographic Report

Grind demographics and ties  
Grind demographics and ties