Hipster Jo'burg: Mapping The Golus

The New York Times has an interesting article today about cultural worker Adam Levy, who, with wealth, persistence and an eye for architecture and design, has begun to transform the edges of South Africa’s largest, and meanest, city.

“One day I knocked on the door and began a dialogue with the owner,” he said, and three months later bought what is now his apartment building. “People thought I’d lost my mind buying down here, but it just confirmed my excitement about the area.”A lawyer’s son, Mr. Levy said that he was following in his father’s footsteps when he began to study law. But a trip to New York ended up not just exposing him to some of that city’s grand architecture, but also to SoHo-style lofts. “I realized there was the potential to do something like this in Johannesburg,” he said. “Architecture and design were always strong interests, so moving into development seemed like a natural fit.”

The NYTimes has written an entertaining article about a South African Jewish Hipster, but it didn’t delve into a larger trend – the move of suburban Jews back to the city. It sounds a lot like Jews in Brooklyn, Jews on the Upper West Side, in Lakeview in Chicago, or the Mission in San Francisco. This migration to the cities represents a tidal shift in our values, and in our cultural worlds. This article is just evidence that this isn’t only an American Jewish phenomenon.
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