The role of architecture in developing urban self-sufficient living : a proposed youth development centre for Durban's inner city.
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The study investigates the role of architecture in developing urban self-sufficient living as an alternative to a lifestyle of consumerism, and the negative effects of consumerism and materialism on people’s health and environment predominantly in urban areas. The study is justified because by researching what the role of architecture is in developing urban self-sufficient living and proposing an appropriate architectural intervention, we can encourage an alternate lifestyle to consumerism and develop urban self-sufficiency by utilising theories of minimalism and voluntary simplicity. There will be a reduction of the environmental footprint of living in urban areas, a sustainable and self-reliant community and an improvement in the quality of life. A literature review is conducted which reviews literature concerning minimalism and voluntary simplicity with autonomous buildings, biotecture, permaculture, ecominimalism and the small house movement as sub-theories. The literature review investigates the philosophies of these theories which concern various aspects of lifestyle. The literature further investigates the effects of consumerism and materialism on consumer behaviour and culture within the South African context. A conclusion is reached that the proposed architectural intervention is to be a youth development centre within Durban’s inner-city. Precedent studies are conducted which are based on their practical application of the theories and concepts investigated within the literature review. Case studies of two projects, within the South African context, are conducted in order expand on the information uncovered within the literature review and precedent studies. It was concluded through the case studies the role of architecture in developing selfsufficient living, we also understand the importance of living a minimalist or simplified lifestyle as an alternative to consumerism. Finally, the summary of the research document finds conclusions of the applicability of the key theories, based on the comparison of the literature review and precedent studies to the case studies. Recommendations are then made of the utilisation of these theories in the proposed youth development centre within Durban’s inner-city.