Repository logo

Culture as a response to homelessness and how it informs architectural design : the design of a homeless shelter for Durban.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Within the context of globalising urban cities, this dissertation will investigate how the Culture responds to Homelessness. This can be defined by the Homeless creating their own Culture defined by the lifestyles. Insurgent citizenship has become a real issue facing cities today; the homeless claim their right to the city by reclaiming lost spaces within the urban framework, this will eventually shape the urban landscape, redefining the images of cities that cannot be ignored. Issues of dealing with the Homeless and social policies that cater to them are not adequate enough to solve the problem. The solution that is prevalent in most cities is to hide the Homeless away from view in shelter that cater for day to day needs on the outskirts of the cities, so that societies are hidden from this issue. The Homeless do not fit in with society as they are excluded and looked down upon, this creates a conflict of identity and culture for them because they do not belong or fit in with societies that they once belonged to. They share their plight alone and create their own communities, culture and identity so that they can be seen as a group within the city. The literature, relevant precedent and case studies on the subject highlight the importance of architecture and how it responds to the needs of the Homeless. The discussion looks as insurgency in cities today and how it affects the urban framework as well as social well being of cities. Theories such as Genius Loci and Critical Regionalism highlight how the Homeless aim to recreate a sense of ownership and belonging in the lost spaces of the city. The theory of phenomenology deals with healing environments and the general well being a person within a building environment, with the principles and practices of phenomenological design, a building can produce healing environments that help rehabilitate the homeless. The outcome is the conceptualization of a Homeless shelter within Durban that aims to not only rehabilitate the Homeless, mentally and physically but also help rehabilitate them back into society acting as a platform for reintegration and social interaction.


Masters in Architecture. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2014.


Shelters for the homeless -- South Africa -- Durban -- Designs and plans., Personality and culture -- South Africa -- Durban., Urbanization -- South Africa -- Durban., Crime prevention and architectural design -- South Africa -- Durban., Theses -- Architecture.