Princess Place

Taking Streets Seriously
Gauteng City-Region Observatory
February 2018

View the publication here

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Taking Streets Seriously is a GCRO report edited by Jesse Harber, Alexandra Parker, Kate Joseph and Gillian Maree. I contributed a reflection on Princess Place. My text explores the street as an exceptional condition in Johannesburg and potential model for medium-density mixed-income streets in future. It also grapples with the street’s historical origins and evolution.

“Leaving my apartment to go to work, I often encounte a neighbour whose name I cannot recall. She is elderly, originally from Hungary, and always wears the same canary yellow coat. We often chat in the lift. I also bump into direct neighbours of ours, a young interracial gay couple, both with prestigious banking jobs. Their black BMWs give that away. Sometimes when coming home, I have a slow chat with one of the perpetually stoned guards who lives on the roof of the building. Often though, I share the lift going up with red-beret-clad students who all share one of Princes Tower’s enormous apartments.

Next door to Princess Towers is a small jamaat khana, which the street’s Islamic faithful visit regularly. Opposite the jamaat is an apartment block with blue plaques and brise soleils, Juliana. I know a few academic and artists who now live there. Down the road are a few rental-only buildings, and at the corner of th street is a privately-owned student residence...'