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Exploring how the healing and reintegration of the physically disabled informs architectural design: towards a rehabilitation and special care centre in the city of Durban.

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South Africa is a developing country with a rich heritage and a past etched in the lives of its people. The year 2018 marks 24 years into a new democracy yet the country still faces a multitude of challenges. One of these challenges being government funded healthcare, more so healthcare for the physically disabled with mobility impairments. Focusing on the Greater Durban Metropolitan Area it is clear that the current community is divided into two extremes these being a small population of the elite and a large population of the poor. In current times the gap between these two groups is increasing rapidly. This meaning that proper healthcare is easily accessible to one group whereas the other is left with little hope of recovery. This dissertation is aimed at developing an understanding of the needs of the physically disabled during their recovery process, and how meaningful architecture can aid in this process. This study specifically explores how the needs of the physically disabled can be incorporated into the architectural design process and in turn work towards physical rehabilitation. The research conducted explores theories and concepts related to the physical and psychological healing process. It identifies architectural spaces and elements that should be incorporated into these centres of healing to encourage rehabilitation and promote revitalization. This study critically analyses the current level of facilities provided for physically disabled people with mobility impairments in the Durban area. It also analyses successful international models which can be adapted to South Africa and in turn initiate the path to better healthcare. Lastly, the data acquired from both primary and secondary sources are compared and various conclusions and recommendations are drawn up. These can be used as design guidelines for buildings which focus on architecture that promotes healing for the physically disabled.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.