Urbanity and architecture: towards a sustainable concept for urban dwelling in the Umgeni Road precinct, Durban.
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The purpose of the dissertation is to determine the significance of an appropriate architectural typology, within an industrial area of the city, to ease the problems associated with workers commuting long distances to work and back; as well as its influence on the city fabric and contribution to revitalising areas within the city that are not currently suitable for human comfort. The primary research question is how can the Architecture of a mixed use architectural typology address the needs of the working commuters, and influence urban regeneration, within a semi-industrial area in the Umgeni Road precinct of Durban? The research will analyse a mixed use architectural typology and its effect on the urban environment and thereafter investigate the main causes of people having to travel long distances for work and to amenities, and the lack of suitable accommodation within the industrial portions of the city to cater for the working commuters. The research necessitates a mixed methodology of primary and secondary sources. The research further explores how intervention can be used as a step towards simultaneously regenerating an old industrial area in a sustainable way and bringing life to the area, especially after working hours. The dissertation focuses on areas which are seen as misused or used only during the day, abandoned or derelict. In a sense, the spaces which are wasted yet have the potential to be transformed into important architectural structures and quality urban spaces. The design of the proposed architectural and urban catalyst will be assisted through the analysis of literature, theories, case studies, precedents as well as interviews with working commuters and surveys distributed to professionals in the architectural and related fields. The research will provide the reasons as to why a mixed use architectural typology will be beneficial within the context of study and the way in which the architectural intervention will be developed to produce a more sustainable architecture that meets the needs of the users. The research will discuss theories and concepts through three main components. Firstly accommodating the needs of the people via the theory of place making. Secondly the regeneration of an old industrial area in the city through the principles of New Urbanism and finally, sustaining the proposed intervention through the concept of flexibility where the needs of the workers will be explored in a mixed use setting.