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Junkspace City: The Institute of Political Ecology

Part 2 Project 2015
Rachel Wilson
University of Johannesburg | South Africa
K-206, an unclaimed territory in the 'jungle' of Alexandra, a piece of abandoned wasteland in the heart of the city, is regarded as a scarred landscape of environmental disregard. Arriving one morning in summer, the sangomas (shaman ancestor-worshippers), inyangas (traditional African herbalists) and Rastafarians, who live permanently on the site, offered me clues into the hidden nature and potential of K-206. The dense blanket of vegetation obscures the cultivation of medicinal plants, a source of economic sustainability for the communities who live in the area. Blurred boundaries of inhabitation, territory, culture, nature and conflict characterise the terrain and its approach. The site unfolds as a hidden wasteland, secretive in nature and somewhat detached from society. Junkspace City investigates the idea of political ecology in the South African context at three scales: landscape, intervention and architecture. It explores the ability of any given landscape to become 'territory' and/or ‘ecology’ in its widest sense and develops a programme based on observation and exploration.
Rachel Wilson


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