Accepted paper:

Masters of illusion? Developers and the regeneration of Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg


Natache Sylvia Iilonga (University of Johannesburg)

Paper short abstract:

Exploring class discrimination, gentrification and social exclusivity; this paper seeks to question the ideology of developer led "inclusive" / "exclusive" urban regeneration in the post-colonial city of Johannesburg.

Paper long abstract:

This essay explores urban regeneration in Johannesburg using Maboneng Precinct as its case study. Specifically, it seeks to investigate Maboneng's model which, according to its developers, is aimed at creating an inclusive space. However, this urban regeneration model really is a simulation. Drawing from primary research conducted in Maboneng through interviews and literature, this essay argues that urban regeneration models like Maboneng, exclude poor people, who do not fit in with the preferred social class. And seeks to further understand why. The research finds that, there is a subtle, veiled sense of class discrimination existing within the urban regenerated neighbourhood of Maboneng. This is contradictory to its marketing strategy on their website, which states that it aims at cultivating an "inclusive and integrated" urban community. This claim is merely consistent with mainstream literature which state that urban regeneration models encourage social integration of people from all economic and social backgrounds.

panel P112
Engineering the Middle Classes: State Institutions, Wealth, and Aspirations of Citizenship