Our Rosebank media walk brings stakeholders and city officials together

We are advocates for a better city experience, for positive connections, the safety to explore, inclusiveness, and walkable neighbourhoods. 

In addition to our digital and print In Your Pocket City Guides to your favourite city, Joburg, we also work as urban engagement specialists. We consult with neighbourhoods and local city improvement districts to help stakeholder-led organisations to tell their story and share the work they do to better the city.

The Rosebank Management District has been one of our closest partners and in 2019, identified a need to present Rosebank as a tourism destination. Together we launched the first in a series of printed district mini-guides, which we later independently expanded to Sandton and the City. We also trained Rosebank ambassadors (cleaning and security staff) in how to welcome visitors and direct them through the neighbourhood.

Our partnership has deepened since, and in 2020 we stepped into a social media marketing role for the district. It soon became clear to us that the Rosebank Management District was being underrepresented, and that it needed to present its own story. On August 24 , 2021 we organised and were proud to lead a guided media walk through Rosebank.

Rosebank Management District’s Media Walk attendees leave the first stop at Keyes Art Mile.

We sought to highlight the Rosebank Management District’s efforts to establish Rosebank as a walkable, accessible, welcoming and inclusive neighbourhood. We also wanted to remind people why this is one of South Africa’s most successful and engaged city districts.

More than 50 invited media and city officials were led through the district on foot on a 2,43km route by Rosebank representatives to see first-hand the successes and challenges facing the area. It was a celebration of the district’s hard work and the best way to reveal and share the challenges faced by this growing neighbourhood. The walk emphasised the many potential impacts of effective engagement and managed public-private partnerships. It gave an opportunity for discussion and observation, for starting conversations between the city and the district. We have developed this way of looking at neighbourhoods over time. We believe that by engaging at street level, our Rosebank media walk was a platform to encourage honest conversations about critical urban issues.

Here’s a look at the spaces, places and people we met on the walk.

Members of the media and city officials arrive for our Rosebank media walk. On arrival our guests also enjoyed coffees from Keyes Art Mile cafes Croft & Go and L’Atelier
We invited members of the media and officials from the City of Johannesburg, including representatives of the newly installed Mayor of Johannesburg, Jolidee Matonga, to join the walk. Here Rosebank Precinct Manager, Lerato Khiba together with Upper Rosebank Management District (RMD) Chairperson Nicole Greenstone and Founder of Keyes Art Mile, Anton Taljaard welcome city officials to the walk
Anton Taljaard of Tomorrow Co, developers of Keyes Art Mile, shares why the company chose Rosebank as the site for this development and how Keyes Art Mile has made a place for itself as one of Joburg’s key art destinations. He also shared how Keyes Art Mile’s has focused on neighbourhood greening and planting new trees.
Judith Briggs, Chair of the Rosebank Homelessness Association, outlines the work carried out by the Rosebank Homeless Shelter and the variety of challenges facing the homeless in a rapidly urbanising environment. Inclusiveness is a key principle of the neighbourhood.
Rosebank has four public park spaces. The flagship is managed as a public-private partnership, and is cared for by the Park Central body corporate under an “Adopt a Park” initiative with City Parks. The other three public parks are in dire need of maintenance. Justin Bass, Chairperson of Lower RMD and Executive Director of Grapnel Property Group (who have built a number of residential developments in Rosebank, including The Tyrwhitt) addressed this topic, along with the incredible recent growth in residential property development in Rosebank. He also highlighted work carried out by RMD to beautify Rosebank’s public spaces and the need for better service delivery from City of Joburg departments to meet ever-increasing demand on ageing infrastructure.
The Rosebank Events Park on Keyes Avenue, sadly remains closed after a R9-million upgrade by the city. One day after the walk, the park was finally handed over by the city agency responsible to City Parks. Hopefully it can now come under district management to be developed and looked after as a clean and safe public space.
Refreshments and tasting platters were served at Proud Mary, the new signature restaurant of Rosebank’s new voco Johannesburg Rosebank hotel. Jessica Redinger, GM of the new hotel, shared the hotel’s plans (due to officially open Q4 2021 / Q1 2022) and why IHG Hotels group chose Rosebank as the destination for Africa’s first voco hotel.
Nicole Greenstone, Chairperson of RMD and Portfolio Executive for Hyprop (owners of Rosebank Mall), highlighted Rosebank’s pedestrianised spaces, walkability and interconnected retail attractions. She also detailed Rosebank Mall’s continuing efforts to provide space for small entrepreneurial businesses as well as big brands, such as within the Rosebank Art & Craft Market. Among the mall’s new offerings are the Soko District emporium, a department store-style space designed especially for small local brands.
Sandy Roth, Executive Manager for Marketing at Gautrain, explained the successes of the Gautrain in connecting commuters and visitors to Rosebank. She also detailed Gautrain’s ongoing developments, including plans to adjust Rosebank’s Gautrain bus routes, a new Gautrain student offering, and the addition of a midi-bus service connecting to Parkhurst
The walk visited the Rosebank Taxi Rank to discuss its inadequate size for the number of commuters it services. Currently, the rank has 32 bays and it is estimated that more than 500 taxis travel to Rosebank and neighbouring Illovo daily. In order to continue to be an inclusive and accessible district, the City needs to find an adequate and sustainable solution to develop an upgraded taxi rank that matches the size of the growing district.
The final stop on the walk was the newly opened Radisson RED Rosebank hotel, where guests enjoyed food, drinks, music and a sunset view on the hotel’s rooftop bar taking in the whole of Rosebank, and the walking route taken.
The invited City MMCs were asked to share their closing remarks and thoughts on their walk through the district. Councillor Mpho Moerane, MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services (pictured speaking left) said:
β€œIt is such a pleasure to be here. I spend most of my time in the townships trying to attend to service delivery issues. This is truly a breath of fresh air. Rosebank is really beautiful. We are encouraged by all this. My office has been taking notes of all the issues raised here today and we will be sending a report to the City Mayor to attend to them. The City is committed to addressing all issues related to service delivery.”

We extend special thanks to Croft & Go, L’Atelier Bakery, Proud Mary and Radisson RED Rosebank for the delicious food and refreshments provided and to Gautrain for gifting everyone with cards to ride the Gautrain.
Photography by John Hogg and Johannesburg In Your Pocket

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