Project Global: Ground

This exploration of our current day metropolitan condition as a system of systems deals with the crust of the Earth as a primary carrying capacitor of human activities, from the extraction of resources deep within the ground, to agricultural operations that barely scratch the surface.

Part 1: Lexicon

Part 2: Atlas

Part 3: Architectural Projects

Part 1: Lexicon index

︎ Formation

    ︎ Kaapvaal Craton
    ︎ Johannesburg Dome
    ︎ Vredefort Dome
    ︎ Topsoil
    ︎ Müggelsee

︎ Measurement    ︎ Schwerbelastungskörper
    ︎ Mining Earthquakes
    ︎ Low-tech Soil Testing
    ︎ Soil Texture Triangle
    ︎ Geologic Time Scale 
    ︎ Stratigraphic Colum
    ︎ Geographic Information System
    ︎ Ecotone
    ︎ Cultural Landscape

︎ Prototype
    ︎ Unter den Linden
    ︎ Zoological Landscape
    ︎ Counterculture
    ︎ Cultural Agency
    ︎ Mine-pit Lakes
    ︎ Parliament of Things

︎ Land distribution
    ︎ 1913 Natives Land Act
    ︎ District Six
    ︎ Eavesdropping
    ︎ Reconciliation Policy
    ︎ Land Grabbing
    ︎ Land Acting
    ︎ The Red Ants
    ︎ #PutSouthAfricansFirst
    ︎ Suburban Enclaves
    ︎ Parallel State

︎ Extraction
    ︎ Cullinan Diamond Mine
    ︎ Platinum Group Metals
    ︎ Zamazamas
    ︎ Gold Rush Inertia
    ︎ Sinkhole
    ︎ Maize Doctor
    ︎ Coal Hands

︎ Infrastructure
    ︎ Gautrain
    ︎ Le-guba
    ︎ Lesotho Water Project
    ︎ Deutscher Wald
    ︎ Arrival City

︎ Production
    ︎ Safari Economy
    ︎ Agritourism
    ︎ Rainfall Line
    ︎ Upington Airport
    ︎ Tiergarten Transformation
    ︎ Pivot Irrigation
    ︎ Allotment Garden
    ︎ Bokoni Terracing
    ︎ Johannesburg Forestation
    ︎ Game Farming Cycle

︎ Waste
    ︎ Trümmerberg
    ︎ Fab-Soil
    ︎ Mining Waste Belt
    ︎ Sanitary Landfilling
    ︎ Soil Structure
    ︎ Biogas Technology

︎ Pollution
    ︎ Dry Stacked Tailings
    ︎ Water Pollution
    ︎ Soil Pollution
    ︎ Uranium Sandstorms
    ︎ Poaching

︎ Remediation
    ︎ European Green Belt
    ︎ Conservation Agriculture
    ︎ Airfield Urbanism
    ︎ Solar Park
    ︎ Gold Reef City
    ︎ Mine Pit Lake
    ︎ Loess Plateau
    ︎ Erosion Control

Johannesburg Forestation

“ — ”

Johannesburg is one of the largest man-made urban forests in the world. The northern suburbs are a green urban forest, and the south is a mining dump. Johannesburg is a typical savanna, which means that there are no native tree species. So how did this forest begin?
        Before the discovery of minerals, a few settlements would transplant trees from overseas to ward off dust storms. However trees were not planted in large numbers until the mining boom began. In 1874, Fred and Harry Struben found gold in Johannesburg, at Confidence Reef.1 After the initial boom in alluvial gold, one of the largest mining companies - the Corner House2 - was established to provide the capital needed to extract gold below the surface. However, deep-level mining required wooden props and bolts to be installed in order to support the underground tunnels. The Corner House suggested importing eucalyptus from Australia because their tall branchless growth makes them easily fashioned into poles for underground timbering3 and their suitability to grow quickly in the dry soils in South Africa.
        Now man-made forests in South Africa are not only a national monument but also an important economic pillar of the country. It has become a dynamic industry and has guaranteed employment of more than 120,000 people of which 64,000 are employed in afforestation and 58,000 in wood processing. The total population of forestry and timber industry workers and their families is over 700,000 - equivalent to 1.8% of the national population. In just two or three decades after World War II, South Africa has jumped from a timber importer to an exporter mainly due to the success of afforestation.

Image source:

1.   “Confidence Reef Mine” Friends of Kloofendal, March 6, 2022.
2.   Corner House (Johannesburg), Wikipedia, December 08, 2020.
3.   “Underground Mine Timbering & Support”, Metallurgist & Mineral Processing Engineer, May 09, 2018.