Johannesburg Development Agency walks the talk on city greening

Posted On Friday, 18 September 2015 07:36 Published by
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The greening of Joburg's public spaces has become a trademark of the JDA's public environment upgrades. The agency has also taken the lead in a number of park upgrade and creation projects across the city.


The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has strong track record of sustainable inner city regeneration and environmentally friendly development across the city.

The greening of Joburg's public spaces has become a trademark of the JDA's public environment upgrades. The neighbourhood in the immediate vicinity of every JDA project, large or small, has been enriched with improved sidewalks, outdoor furniture, new lighting and signage, in many cases new public artworks - and in most cases, new trees and landscaping.

And while the revamping of existing parks, and establishing of new ones, is chiefly a function of Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ), the JDA has been a major partner - and in some cases the main driver - in upgrading and creating a number of new parks in areas where the agency is more widely involved.

Public parks, and other notable greening projects, that have been driven by the JDA, include the following:

Metro Park, Newtown

Most recently, in September 2014, the JDA and JCPZ opened the R16-million Metro Park in the midst of the cultural, commercial and residential hub of Newtown. Featuring an outdoor gym and state-of-the-art children's play area, Newtown Park scooped a Gold Award of Excellence at the 2014 South African Green Industries Council Convention.

Ernest Oppenheimer Park, Joburg CBD

Ernest Oppenheimer Park, in the heart of the inner city next to the Rissik Street Post Office, was completely revamped, restored and relaunched by the JDA, complete with a basketball court for inner city kids, new landscaping, an amphitheatre and ablution facilities. The park also features a number of new artworks, including a new sculpture of cast-iron impala, to replace the original impala sculpture which was vandalised and now stands restored opposite the headquarters of Anglo American in Main Street.

Attwell Gardens Park, Joburg CBD

Built from scratch at a cost of R4.5-million on the corner of Plein and Rissik Streets in downtown Joburg, Attwell Gardens Park is furnished with new landscaping and irrigation, an astroturf soccer field, multi-purpose court, outdoor furniture, lighting and ablution facilities.

Greater Ellis Park Precinct

The JDA's comprehensive redevelopment of the Greater Ellis Park Precinct included complete makeovers of two rundown parks - Fuller Park off Fuller Street, and Bertrams Park in Ascot Road - to create green havens offering children in the surrounding suburbs a five-a-side soccer field, basketball courts and refurbished play equipment. It also included:

  • The transformation of an untidy soccer field called Maurice Freeman Park into the Bertrams Cricket Oval, complete with tall stadium lights, clubhouse, change rooms and ablution facilities.
  • The transformation of Ellis Park Central Square, immediately outside the Johannesburg Stadium, from an unkempt traffic circle into a public space with landscaped gardens, a row of concrete columns, and a trickling stream of water running down a granite waterway - marking the site of the Ellis Park spring, which forms the beginnings of the Jukskei River, which eventually becomes the mighty Limpopo River.

End Street Park, Doornfontein

The redevelopment of the dilapidated End Street Park also formed part of the JDA's regeneration of the Greater Ellis Park Precinct. With its rounded play beacons, five-a-side soccer fields and idiosyncratic details, End Street Park challenged traditional notions of how an inner city park should be designed and built. The R10-million facility includes a state-of-the-art children's playground, artistic fencing and ablution facilities.

Troyeville Community Park

Also part of the JDA's regeneration of the Greater Ellis Park Precinct, the refurbishment of the Troyeville Community Park included construction of an athletics track, courts for netball, basketball and volleyball, and space for concerts and other community events.

Yeoville Community Park

The refurbishment of the Yeoville Community Park, part of the JDA's regeneration of the trendy Rockey-Raleigh Street, included construction of a new children's playground, a multipurpose centre, and a space for events and performances.

Ekhaya Park, Hillbrow

Ekhaya Park was created from scratch on unsightly vacant land on Claim Street in the heart of Hillbrow by the JDA in partnership with local residents and the eKhaya Neighbourhood Improvement Programme. Included in the construction were new paving, landscaping, lighting, fencing, a synthetic soccer field, children's play area with safety surface, gaming tables and bins.

Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, Kliptown

The Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown underwent a major revamp ahead of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter on 26 June 2015. Spearheaded by the JDA, the project introduced extensive green landscaping to soften the hard open space, along with artwork and plaques reflecting the history of the area, and public seating, improved lighting, children's play areas and other features to make the Square a more attractive place of work and leisure.

Ridge Walk, Orange Farm

The Ridge Walk connecting a densely populated neighbourhood in Orange Farm to Stretford Station, built by the JDA at a cost of R7.4-million, is flanked by lighting, balusters created from mountain rocks, resting spaces with seating, and artwork produced by local artists. At the crest of the ridge is a park with children's play equipment and a small amphitheatre for community events. The walkway has had a significant effect on quality of life in Stretford, and improved the commuter experience for countless people who previously had to make their way along a dark, rocky and dangerous path up the hillside.

Bruma Lake Renewal Project

The JDA's Bruma Lake Renewal Project, which is currently nearing completion, has transformed the polluted, foul-smelling Bruma Lake into a naturally flowing watercourse surrounded on both sides by newly established floodplains and recreational parkland which is in the process of being landscaped. In the first phase of the R65-million project, started June 2014, the Jukskei River was diverted to allow the lake to be drained and the silt to dry so that a new channel could be built for the water to run through. The second phase, currently under way, involves the conversion of sections of the reclaimed land into a recreational park.

Rooftop Food Gardens Project

The JDA has partnered with Johannesburg Housing Company subsidiary Makhulong A Matala, the Food Gardens Foundation and others on a project to promote and build rooftop vegetable gardens in the inner city.

One of the JDA's ongoing corporate social investment initiatives, the project seeks to promote sustainable urban living, improved nutrition and food security for local residents, and livelihoods for some through growing and selling vegetables. Rooftop gardens have been planted on the following buildings:

  • The Africa Diamond Building in the CBD
  • Towerhill Mansions in Hillbrow
  • Brickfields in Newtown
  • Douglas Village in Troyeville
  • Lake Success in Hillbrow
Last modified on Thursday, 15 October 2015 09:39

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