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Exploring how post drug addicted healing and reintegration inform architectural design: towards a contemporary rehabilitation centre for Durban.

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Currently 40% of south Africa’s population living in rural and urban areas are involved int the use of substances or are post substance users and this number is increasing immensely over the past 5 years. Although the availability of substances has increased, current rehabilitation centres are trying to expand their reach however stability and the lack of psychological healing is evident in these facilities and as a result the socio-economic inequalities that are filled in cities, users do not have access to rehabilitation facilities. In conjunction substance use and relapsing is a growing challenge in the city, fuelled by the impact of no education, lack of skills, psychological imbalances and specifically the rehabilitation facilities in the city of Durban do not focus on post drug addicted users and the reintegration of them into communities. Therapeutic communities are one of the most important approaches developed by the world health organization that has a successful rate over the past two decades of the improvement of individuals through healing architecture. With regards to that the aim of this dissertation is to explore how post drug addicted healing and reintegration can inform the architectural design. This research uses the theories and concepts of healing, empowerment and community reinforcement as a primary base to contribute to the concept of social reintegration. There is currently no documentation on post rehabilitation centres and the current rehabilitation systems are not enough for these individuals to be healed psychologically. The study is based on the research that the current rehabilitation systems and facilities do not focus on socially reintegration post substance users into society. The research for this study follows a qualitative approach. Relevant literature and a few precedent studies of rehabilitation centres, Groot Klimmendaal rehabilitation centre and Sister Margaret Smith Addiction Treatment Centre is investigated to determine functions and strategies for healing and reintegration however the quality of architecture of these facilities can improve and is not convincing in terms of the principals it should offer. Local studies of rehabilitation centres , Careline Crisis and Trauma Centre and Rauf Rehabilitation Centre is explored, through personally conducted interviews with directors of the centres and community leaders involved in the rehabilitation process as a means of understanding the issues and ways to improve the system in Durban. The research shows that a contemporary rehabilitation centre can improve the users lives by using principals of healing and providing these individuals with educational skills and behavioural skills that will help them cope, feel a sense of belonging, empower them and prevent the possibility of relapsing in the recovery process. In addition, this will improve the current rehabilitation system and reduce the amount of substance users in Durban by removing factors that cause it. It will allow community reinforcement and social rehabilitation to happen between the public and the users aiding them in the process of reintegration into society and empowering them to achieve a better life.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.