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The role of architecture in providing physical & social wellbeing for the youth: a proposed youth centre in Wentworth Durban.

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Youth Centres have been proven to promote physical and social wellbeing amongst modern youth. Previous research has proven the importance of architecture in community empowerment as mediator between user and surrounding environment. Offering great potential in economic, cognitive, physical and social development for disadvantaged youth. This research will explore the potential of a youth centre in the Wentworth Township. Situated in the industrious back of port South Durban Basin. The lush natural environment, thriving petro-chemical industry, lack of basic health amenities and excessive crime rates present interesting and challenging discussions for research. The overburdened low-income youth are challenged with great social deterrents however offer unwavering potential in their local interests. Limited government aided skills development and youth facilities have resulted in current negative socio-economic activities amongst Wentworth youth. The research to follow will engage scarce youth spaces and related popular peripheries. Exploring existing local and international literature for proposing the design of a youth centre that pro-actively participates in the lives of the youth. Stimulating local youth culture, economic empowerment and holistic development through architectural design. Limited local research carried out in South African youth centre typologies present potential for development of a local framework for inspired and appropriate youth spaces. Dealing with the specifics of the township and greater South African context. Engaging unemployment, hopelessness, scarce basic amenities, skills development, substance abuse and other related social dilemmas that exist because of poverty. The research to follow will analyse the social and built environment within a context specific theoretical and conceptual framework. Determining the role of architecture in youth wellbeing by establishing specific architectural design principles, for designing youth spaces in Wentworth. Place, culture and empowerment theories form a framework for analysing the local urban and social fabric. Concepts of youth culture, proactive design strategy and dreamscaping will orientate methods of response to potentials, and challenges established based on relevant case studies. Incorporating qualitative analysis of both primary and secondary data for the support of outcomes.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.