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Exploring private urban agriculture and its integration into high density housing.

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The research looks at how the architecture of residential design can encourage the practice of urban agriculture, from the approach of the environmental, social, physical and dietary benefits to the residents and related urban environment. The research takes the standpoint that a change in the design of urban residential architecture to enable and encourage urban agriculture is important in order to improve food sovereignty and the relationships that urban residents have to food and nature, as this is shown to improve people’s health. The Theory of Social Practice was used to look at the success of private urban agricultural practices and how they rely on the interaction of practitioners or external support and how this can be used to improve residential design for the practice of urban agriculture. The research looks at using Social Practice Theory and Ecological Design (with supporting concepts) to inform the design of high density residential units. Local case studies are explored and analysed to identify how existing urban agricultural practices have been integrated into the city framework. Along with local and international precedents being analysed to determine appropriate responses and opportunities and where opportunities have been missed. The research has been done to inform a set of principles to be used in the design of high density housing which integrates natural systems and benefits of urban agriculture, whereas modern high density housing generally separates people from nature. The research suggests that in order for architects to be able to design for the future cites they need to design for the inclusion of agriculture. The findings suggest that the industrial revolution not only had negative impacts on the way buildings are designed for humans, but it is now negatively influencing how the buildings of the future are incorporating nature in an industrialised manner. Further removing the physical, social and mental benefits urban agriculture provides to residents.


Master’s degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.