The area known as the Rosebank Management District has been perceived as the premier retail and business node within Greater Johannesburg since the mid-’70s. However, the area witnessed a dramatic decline in the quality of its environment from the early ’90s to the present, which has undoubtedly had a negative impact on the area and its viability.
As is the case in almost all South Africa’s urban conurbations, the effect of rapid urbanisation, following the decades of apartheid control mechanisms, has taken its toll, and the older, more established areas in particular are subject to urban blight, increasing criminal activity and the presence of the urban poor.
The major problem issues experienced in the area were prioritised as security, cleaning, informal trading, traffic flow, minibus taxis, homelessness, parking, traffic and road signs. The most common crimes were identified as muggings, theft from motor vehicles and theft of motor vehicles. The most common additional crimes mentioned were armed robberies, ATM crimes, breaking and entering, and vehicle hijackings.
The purpose of the City Improvement District (CID) is to leverage the large economic investment made by property owners, as well as to ensure the upliftment and growth of the area for all stakeholders. It is through CIDs that areas like Illovo, Braamfontein, Sloane and Sandton have maintained their status as desirable nodes within Gauteng.
Excellerate Management Services is currently managing the Rosebank Management District (RMD) and the Lower Rosebank Management District (LRMD), with the desire to maintain a place management solution in the form a City Improvement District (CID).
Rosebank has become a hub of new businesses, trendy restaurants and art gallery openings. The vision aims at well-connected businesses, retail and high-density residential nodes, serving both the region and its immediate urban context, while integrating the development into the existing transport infrastructure of the city. These measures will be implemented to turn the area into a place that thrives and is a leading example for environmental sustainability, liveability, connectivity, diversity and innovation.
In terms of liveability, the precinct is holistically designed for healthy and active living, and incorporates important aspects of walkability, integrated with opportunities for physical transport, good wayfinding signage, and human-scale public spaces. One of Rosebank’s strengths is its connection to the city’s public transport systems. Pick-up points are placed within walkable distance from activity nodes, and pedestrian-friendly design encourages a greater use of bicycles, motorcycles and walking as daily modes of transportation. These so-called “complete streets” include appropriately sized sidewalks, resting places and shading.
In Rosebank, heritage and culture should be celebrated, as these are integral to generating a collection of diverse, mixed-use places.