Gardens, the Inner-city and Informality: what we learnt about Johannesburg

Pic1by Olumuyiwa Adegun and Hector Rojas Careto

The field trips that formed part of the Johannesburg phase of the Johannesburg-Berlin (In)formal City exchange programme were revealing. We visited a 12-storey Johannesburg inner-city building, where a small garden exists on the roof top. The garden is known called ‘Centre of Attraction’ (CoA). As a community enhancement program, the garden was conceived to provide a space where the building’s residents interact and learn about gardening. Products from the garden are intended to in some way meet the residents’ nutritional needs through consumption of the garden produce and boost income through sale. The CoA garden is the 3rd project of this nature owned and promoted by Makulong a Matala, under the umbrella of Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC), and with service provision by Food & Trees for Africa (F&TA). JHC is a municipal agency in charge of publicly-owned residential buildings in the inner city of Johannesburg, while FTA is a popular NGO dealing with environmental and food security issues in South Africa.   Continue reading

Working with the urban poor – organizations between formality and informality – Part 2

P1060544by Sylvana Jahre und Tursha Mitha

For Part 1 of the blog entry read here


These organizations working with the urban poor and especially with migrants and refugees in the inner city of Johannesburg are only fragments in the wider landscape; therefore this study is not able to provide general claims. However, the interpretation of the empirical data reveals important results. The main question throughout this study was how different organizations relate to governance and how marginalized communities Continue reading

Working with the urban poor – organizations between formality and informality – Part I

P1060562by Sylvana Jahre und Trusha Mitha

This case study focuses on organizations in the inner city of Johannesburg working with disadvantages communities, especially migrants and urban poor. In the frame of community power theories, it is believed that those organizations are able to provide a platform to give voice and power to marginalized groups of people. Therefore formal and informal networks of these organizations and the dependence or independence from government and government funding become crucial variables for the analysis. Continue reading