Since 2010 CUBES and the School of Architecture & Planning have been driving geographically focused, multidisciplinary, community oriented research, learning and service initiatives in the form of City Studios.
Through a three year commitment to a specific area, the City Studios deploy a multi-pronged strategy to fulfil both the research and pedagogic objectives of the School. City Studios provide an opportunity for Wits students who will become future planners and architects to build people-oriented cities, in local contexts with in-depth understandings and in real life situations, with the guidance and support of lecturers and community members.
The City Studio approach embeds pedagogy in socially complex neighbourhoods in a way that seeks to make a contribution through research, mapping, thematic analyses, community/stakeholder engagement, problem-solving and small design interventions. As research and results are periodically discussed and reviewed with partnering civil society organisations (CSOs), City Studios produce socially relevant research, and locally adapted design and policy solutions. Through regular collective feedback sessions, including public meetings, workshops, local publications, and public events, City Studios crystallize debates on local issues, exploring and imagining other urban futures with residents.
CUBES's first City Studio was located in the neighbourhood of Yeoville from 2010 to 2012, and its second was in Rosettenville from 2013 to 2015. The current City Studio is located in Braamfontein, and will run from 2016 to 2018.