Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Image: Tower in daylight used as a safe urban space
Extract from Accelerate the City Competition (architectural design competition):
Completed in collaboration with Boitumelo Dire and Dipesh Dhaya.
Being afraid in broad daylight in public space is the reality that women in Johannesburg endure every day. By creating a series of towers located in public spaces, with the built-in capability of monitoring its surrounding vicinity, the city will establish safe zones that can be linked to police stations. This notion is already commonly accepted and implemented in affluent suburbs that can afford to do it through private security companies.
Image: Tower distress pod activated at night
Making safe zones accessible to the greater public proactively addresses gender-based violence (GBV) by providing women with easily accessible places of safety, with a further benefit in that these spaces can be enjoyed by everyone. The tower would also be capable of being responsive and provide safety pods that a person in immediate distress can access and use to alert and wait for authorities. Lastly, the narrative of the tower is to bring a beacon of light to the city. Its three main objectives would be to Heal, Empower and Rebuild.
1.Heal: As a beacon of light above the city it is intended to connect and remind the residents that there is power in the plural fight against GBV.
2.Empower: The lower floors were kept flexible with the intention that they be used for community upliftment initiatives such as space for installations, staged conferences or empowerment drives.
3.Rebuild: The tower will have a series of networks and telecoms connected to the South African Police Services as well as various helplines.
Image: Close up of tower base
The South African President has described gender-based violence as a pandemic. Beacons of light are a bold, proactive and assertive response to reimagine a future where women are safe in public spaces in Johannesburg.
Image: Beacon of light at night