When I first came to work on the Schauderville Korsten Urban Design Masterplan (for the MBDA) , I suppose I thought of it as a “local” or “neighborhood” intervention, but by the time we were done I came to understand that this crucial node has a substantial and significant commercial and civic role to play in the bright future of our city region.
What interests me, is that while this consultative Urban Design process was carried out in 2015 already, it is still continually referred to in community discussions that focus on these issues. To be honest though, I am two minds about processes like these. On the one hand I can see how it is important that a community comes together and develops consensus about a picture of what they see for their urban future. On the other hand, I see how frustrating it is for people living in very difficult conditions to wait and wait and wait for any implementation to happen. So what do we do?
As an Architect and an Urban Designer, I am paid to do this work, but the community representatives who volunteer many hours and long nights (and their reputation in the community) are very often left asking “was it really worth it?” . They don’t see the projects being implemented. All they see are the disappointed faces of their neighbors as the pass them on the same derelict and dismal streets that were there before Tim and his team came to town.
I think though, if I was president of the world and could choose only one building to implement out of large collection of great projects that make up the Schauderville Korsten Urban Design Masterplan, then it would be the proposed Korsten Transport Mall (on Durban road, next to Mercantile Hospital) – Korsten is a key “intermodal zone” in the city region, but has almost no public capital infrastructure to support this essential function. Durban Road is almost always in a state of unmitigated chaos as a result of this failure to invest.
So lets see! Maybe we are all just being impatient. These things perhaps just need a little more time.