Ten years ago, I wrote a Johannesburg tourism puff piece in which I extolled the virtues of Melrose Arch as a development that — given enough foot traffic over time — could become the kind of high-end, pedestrian-orientated outdoor space that the city so desperately needs: somewhere that, though it targets affluent clientele, is accessible and integrated into the wider urban fabric.

That take hasn’t aged well. An area that you approach by car through a secured entrance is unlikely to qualify as flâneur friendly; moreover, part of the appeal of Melrose Arch to its tenants and patrons is precisely that it is separated from the rest of Joburg, like an artificial island floating alongside the M1 motorway. ..

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