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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) is thrilled to announce that Volume 1 of the Special Issue, “Public Space and Placemaking in African Cities - Vol 7 n 1 (2022)”, is now available. You can access it at Vol. 7 No. 1 (2022): Public Space and Placemaking in African Cities | The Journal of Public Space (

This issue features 24 papers totaling nearly 450 pages, with editorials by the journal editor, Luisa Bravo (Journal of Public Space), the convenor of the Centre of African Public Spaces (CAPS), Ayanda Roji from JCPZ, and two guest editors, Tariq Toffa from the University of Pretoria and Dr Josephine Malonza from the University of Rwanda.

The papers cover a range of topics, including gender, safety, culture, greening, streets, privatisation, informality, community participation, accessibility, heritage, public art, mental health, social cohesion, placemaking, and slum upgrading. 

The authors represent diverse countries across the continent, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Sudan, São Tomé and Príncipe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Morocco.

Background to the Initiative: 
In early 2022, the City of Johannesburg, through JCPZ and the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), partnered with UN-Habitat and the Journal of Public Space to issue a call for papers focusing on public spaces and placemaking in African cities. This initiative invited city practitioners, scholars, designers, planners, historians, and writers to offer critical and innovative contributions to understanding the meanings and practices in diverse African spaces. 

The goal of this special issue was to support the establishment of the Centre on African Public Spaces (CAPS)—an online knowledge exchange platform created by JCPZ and the JDA in collaboration with UN-Habitat and GIZ, dedicated to public spaces in African cities.
To encourage City officials to submit papers and reflective pieces, JCPZ partnered with the CoJ Group Strategy, Policy Coordination & Relations (GSCPR) and hosted an employee information-sharing session in February 2022. 

This session was attended by 93 City officials from various departments and entities. Despite the strong turnout, only one CoJ official, Thandeka Phamphe from JCPZ, submitted a paper, which will be featured in Volume 2. 

The overall response to the call for papers was overwhelming, with over 70 papers (both academic and case studies) submitted. Due to the substantial number of submissions, the special issue was split into two volumes. For Volume 2, a peer review process will commence at the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Next steps: 
To mark this achievement, it is planned to launch Volume 1 by co-hosting an online employee information-sharing seminar with GSCPR in the next financial year. Additionally, the Journal of Public Space and partners have submitted a proposal to present at the 12th World Urban Forum in Cairo in November during a side event at the Urban Library. 

This is a significant achievement for JCPZ, the JDA, and the City of Johannesburg, leading an initiative aimed at building a body of knowledge in a field that is under-documented on the continent. It is a milestone worth celebrating.

If you have any questions, please contact Ayanda at


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