Urban regeneration and development company Propertuity is single-handedly transforming Johannesburg’s precinct Maboneng into a hipster walhalla. One of their recent projects, designed by LOT-EK, is a residential unit composed out of 140 upcycled shipping containers.
The V-shaped container housing complex is located on Albertina Sisulu Road at a spot formerly occupied by a car repair shop called Drivelines. In the spirit of Propertuity’s holistic neighborhood approach to regeneration, the building complex was named after it to carry the legacy of the past.
In Drivelines, all residential units are studio apartments varying in size between 40 and 60 square meters, and include a private outdoor space along the walkways that look into the yard on all floors. It has turned out to be diverse and environmentally sustainable as Propertuity and LOT-EK envisioned it, but the question is, however, how socially inclusive it is.
Unlike many other urban development firms, Propertuity does more than stacking bricks. In Maboneng, the company developed a 360-degree vision of the neighborhood, including street markets, a big role for art, and some experimental architecture. Drivelines is a good example of Propertuity’s approach to regeneration. Since hip cafes, hotels, and new residential developments started to replace abandoned warehouses in Maboneng, the crime rates in the area have fallen sharply. However, gentrification always comes at a cost — skyrocketing rents have made many move away from the area.