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In celebration of World Architecture Day, the Architects’ Collective is proud to announce the South African Informal City Exhibition, to be held from 10 November 2011 at the Bus Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The initiative will be a showcase of South Africa’s most relevant and innovative projects that explore informality in the modern metropolis. The aim is to open up dialogue and discussion around the critical issues of informality and urban development, in order to further cooperation, information sharing and positive action between policy makers, practitioners and academics involved in this environment.

The exhibition will focus on pioneering projects throughout South Africa, in centres that are at the heart of urban migration. The magnetic quality of these centres means that metropolitan areas have a large and continuous need to provide shelter and associated social amenities. These conditions demand innovative, appropriate approaches to the issues of informality, and this exhibition will explore a range of realised and research projects, some of which are unique to the South African condition, and some of which share questions and concerns with other developing countries.

The showcased work will explore Inner City Informality; In Situ Upgrading; Catalytic Projects; Un-built Projects; and Backyard Interventions.

The exhibition will provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and for existing research and realised projects to become part of a greater debate. As such, the exhibition will also form a platform for a one-day seminar on the topic of informality and sustainable urban development.

The South African Informal City Exhibition and associated seminar are being supported by the Johannesburg Development Agency, the Neighbourhood Development Programme (National Treasury), the South African Cities Network, and the NRF Chair in Development Planning and Modelling.

The Architects' Collective (non-profit company) is entrusted with the responsibility of hosting the Architect Africa Film Festival and associated cultural events under the leadership, guidance and control of a duly constituted Board of Directors.

The Architect Africa Film Festival was conceptualised in 2005, and the first Festival edition was hosted with acclaimed achievement in 2007. In 2010 we hosted our third successful edition in five cities over three weeks, and partnered with ArchitectureZA2010 in Johannesburg. We have run the Tripod Architecture Student Photography Competition since 2008 with growing interest, and have been involved in the Moving Space Student Film Competition since its inception in 2009.

We first held film screenings at the Architecture Student Congress in 2009 at the University of Pretoria, and maintained our involvement in the ASC2010 at the University of Johannesburg and in the ASC2011 at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

In 2011 we are continuing to expand our commitment to furthering the built environment professions and sustainable development in Africa.

Karen Eicker
Tel: +27 11 646 9200

Credit: Tanya Zack
Attached images are courtesy of the Tanya Zack collection, which will be showcased as part of the South African Informal City Exhibition.

Image 1 (Top)
“Hundreds of informal recyclers pull their trolleys through the suburbs, collecting reusable paper, plastic and bottles. Many store their goods where they live and exchange the materials for cash on a weekly basis.”

Image 2 (Bottom)
“Mealie sellers and peanut sellers burn coals in braziers and carry these to the inner city pavements where they roast and sell their wares. This has given them the title of ‘firewalkers’ in Johannesburg.”