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

Parallel State

“ ⁠— ”

Opened in September of 2021, Steyn City is the largest private estate in South Africa. Situated just north of Johannesburg, the development was built by Douw Steyn, an insurance mogul who named the creation after himself. It includes schools, shops, a hospital, a petrol station, generators, a golf course, biking trails, fishing dams, all-day security, and even a helicopter landing pad. The intent, is that the residents would never need to leave.1
        Properties such as Steyn City outline exacerbated levels of economic inequality in South Africa, and the urge to live in sanctuaries in a country where citizens feel increasingly wary that the state cannot seem to provide essential services, or curb crime.
        Security is the most apparent instance where privatization is rapidly outpacing the state. In 1997, there were roughly the same number of police officers as active security guards - one-hundred-and-ten-thousand, to m one-hundred-and-fifteen-thousand, respectively. Since then, the police force has increased by approximately thirty-one-percent, to account for population growth and a larger mandate to support and provide safety to South Africa’s citizens. At the same time, private security has ballooned by three-hundred-and-eighty-seven-percent, to a total of five-hundred-and-fifty-seven-thousand personnel.2 Walled suburbs and control rooms have become common sights in South Africa.
        Just North of Steyn City lies the township of Diepsloot. This neighborhood is densely populated, housing many poor South Africans. Renowned for its criminality, the precinct has the fourth-highest rate of violent assault in the country, with only a tiny portion of people considered to be benefiting from the multi-billion-rand estate next door. Security concerns have occasionally led to vigilantism with neighbors organizing the arrest and even killing of perpetrators forming their own “private parallel state”.

Image source:  14-Lane Gateway houses, photographed in 2020, Steyn City, Accessed on 23 March 2022,

1.  The Parallel State, The Economist, page 33, March 5th – 11th 2022.
2.  How many security guards vs police officers there are in South Africa – and why things are changing, Business Tech, accessed on March 24 2022,