Reclaiming the City: Joburg’s urban spaces

Neighbourgoods Market – newest kid on the block in Braamfontein

Sculptural urban tree with the Milner Hotel in the background
Sculptural urban tree with the Milner Hotel in the background Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse


Following on Jonathan Liebmann’s development of the Maboneng precinct in the south east of Joburg, with its flagship space Arts on Main, Braamfontein is also being revitalized. Nechama Brodie in her article entitled Regenerate Behaviour: Making the City Sexy,  in this week’s Mail and Guardian,  writes about the new developments in Braamfontein.   Two friends and I went along yesterday to the Neighbourhoods Market (every Saturday 9-3 at 93 Juta St). We were very impressed with the many attendants directing us to the tucked away location and to undercover parking. This made it a pleasure to find.  Modelled on the Biscuit Mill in Cape Town, there is a definite buzz and hype around this market.

Sensory feasts assault the eyes and tastebuds

How pretty is that blossom?
How pretty is that blossom? Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
What is more delectable - the cup cakes or the gerberas?
What is more delectable – the cup cakes or the gerberas? Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

A series of wooden trestle tables and benches allows for a long informal communal eating space between the food stalls. Peach and cherry blossoms in large glass jars give fabulous spring colour on the tables while above hang vibrant Gerberas in glass bottles. And then there are food stalls to die for – amazing olives; genuine Buffalo mozarella; cupcakes that are a feast for the eye, sheer heaven on the taste buds and devastating for the hips.



Mushrooms waiting to be cooked ..
Mushrooms waiting to be cooked .. Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
and mushrooms being cooked ... waiting to be eaten.
and mushrooms waiting to be eaten ….. Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse


There are giant pizzas, huge pans of paella, baskets of spring rolls and samoosas, selections of cheeses, mouthwatering vegetarian dishes and amazing mushrooms kebabs with every kind of specialty mushroom you could wish for.




Urban renewal in Braamfontein


South Point Piazza: the Grove
South Point Piazza: the Grove Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

South point buildingAnd surrounding the unprepossessing building which houses the Neighbourhoods market on its 1st and 2nd floor, are signs of more urban upgrades. In Melle St is The Grove, a great outside space with trees,  bright mural art,  giant TV screen and outdoor tables for Velo, which serves breakfasts and dinners.  And around are a number of newly upgraded buildings, refurbished as student accommodation by South Point Developers.

All these developments, together with the new Wits Art Museum which is in process of being constructed in the old Lawsons’ building on the corner of Jan Smuts and Jorissen St, are set to make this area a really vibrant and viable inner city living and destination space.







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