Conceptualizing a nurturing inner city environment informed by the needs of street living : towards a multipurpose dream centre for the pavement dwellers of the Durban CBD.
Glass, Lucien Emile Xerxes.
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Within the context of a rapidly urbanizing population, both globally and nationally, this dissertation investigates how street living strategies can assist in conceptualizing a nurturing inner city environment. Responding to the dearth of implementable social policies in South Africa, this research sets out to explore methods for architects to enhance the life opportunities and choices of pavement dwellers by incorporating their livelihoods and aspirations in the design of the built environment. The research was carried out by way of reviewing existing literature on the subject, relevant case studies and precedent studies. The theories and literature discussed guide the focus of this dissertation highlighting the importance of taking people's needs, interests, livelihood strategies and their circumstances into account. The discussion illustrates how the inner city environment, underpinned by theoretical analysis of Theory of Living, Complexity Theory and Critical Regionalism, can be nurturing to life. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used to gather social and architectural data, outlining the interaction between street living strategies and the built environment, illustrating how an inner city can cater to the needs and well being (positive orientation) of the community, or in other cases, fail to do so. This will be further understood through an examination of the pavement dwellers' complex and difficult life in the Durban CBD, and how this creatively assists the design of a nurturing multipurpose dream centre, as a solution to the needs of street living and a conceptualization of a nurturing inner city environment. The outcome is the conceptualization of an inner city environment from which a set of principles and guidelines are established to inform the design of a new multipurpose dream centre in the inner city - the Durban CBD. A dream centre is possible because of the ability of "The architect [to] confront human needs and desires [and] mould the environment closer to the human dream" (Mumford, 1938: 403).