Cityscapes #4: After informality

Photographer Jodi Bieber’s portrait of a member of the Dube Young Blood Shotokan Karate Club in Soweto introduces the focus of the fourth issue of Cityscapes: Soweto. Is it a viable model of what happens after informality? The question does not propose a simple answer. Soweto’s redevelopment is uneven. There are malls, loft developments, a theatre. More significantly, there are roads and basic services. Change is afoot, but not for all. Cityscapes, a magazine project of the African Centre for Cities edited by Sean O’Toole and Tau Tavengwa, offers an in-depth look at this emergent edge city on the southern periphery of Johannesburg. Also in the fourth issue: a grouped series of reports, essays and interviews tracing a zigzag path connecting Tel Aviv to Naples to Berlin to Guangzhou, all cities where African migrants are a feature of the urban matrix. There is a speculative logic at work in this grouping. In her conversation with Gautam Bhan in this issue, urban theorist Ananya Roy conjectures, “what does it mean for us to think relationally about the north and south, recognising that these are connected geographies in all sorts of ways?”