Type of project: Research
Location: Braamfotein, Johannesburg
Dates: November-December 2017
Client: Self-funded (U4E)
Collaborators: Karolina Sobel
Keywords: Braamfontein, neighbourhood community, photography research
Home Braamfontein stems from 1 Neighbourhood 1 Building 1 Home (1N1B1H) research project which was conducted from May to December 2016. Braamfontein is an neighbourhood in the city of Johannesburg that has attracted the attention and interest of investors, city officials and urban practitioners for being the only urban node in the city that appears to be integrated (in terms of race and class) and dense in a city where suburban living is the norm. Braamfontein is also the only neighbourhood in Johannesburg inner city that has overcome urban decay in a more or less organic manner. In short, Braamfontein is quite an exception within the city and this has not gone unnoticed. Due its unique character, Braamfontein has become a place for hope for the promotion of more sustainable and socially integrated urban development. However, the urban interventions that are taking place in Braamfontein seem to ignore a large group of residents who live in the neighbourhood, contradicting therefore this ideal of socially integrated living.
Home Braamfontein is a research project aimed at showing the very diverse group of people that coexist in Braamfontein in terms of race, age, household composition, cultural identity and economic class. The project interrogates who are the people that actually live in Braamfontein and how each of us has made a home in the neighbourhood. The project consists of a series of portraits of the residents and stand still pictures of the living spaces they inhabit. While the portraits engage with the individual identity, the homes images show how each individual creates a spatial identity and the different ways of living we find in the neighbourhood.
The images collected during the four weeks duration of the project were compiled in six short clips that were showed on two mega screens in one of the business intersections in the neighbourhood for four days. A facebook page was also created as a platform to disseminate the project results and to invite residents that were not reached during the project to upload their own pictures.