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Exploring food security as a catalyst for the adaptive reuse of architecture towards an agricultural hub in the inner city of Durban.

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Currently over half of South Africa’s population lives in urban areas and this number is projected to continually increase. As a result, cities are exploring sustainability and resilience as a method for future development. “Zero Hunger” is one of the most important Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations. Although the availability of food in Durban is abundant, issues of accessibility, stability and utilisation are evident as a result of socio-economic, environmental and built form adversities. In conjunction, urban decay in the inner city is a growing challenge, fuelled by the impact of a lack of transformation, specifically in postmodern and apartheid city planning. The aim of this dissertation is to explore aspects of food security as a generator for revitalising and regenerating obsolete buildings. This research uses the theory and concept of resilience as a primary base for establishing a link between issues of food security, and the decay and underutilization of existing buildings. Previous works and current policies regarding food security in South Africa are outdated and documentation on resilience in Durban focuses on the peri-urban and rural domains failing to address these issues within inner-city environments. The research for this study follows a qualitative approach. Relevant literature and precedent studies are investigated to determine functions for food security and strategies for adaptive reuse. Local case studies are explored, through personally conducted interviews with local fresh produce traders, and project leaders involved with inner city regeneration, as a means for understanding these concepts in the context of Durban. The research shows that dimensions of food security can be linked to various elements of Durban’s socio-economic, environmental and built-form capacity. In addition, underutilised space can be repurposed as a platform for localised jobs, employment and skills, imperitive for improving food security. This calls for an agricultural hub which can facilitate functions for business start ups, small to medium agricultural producers, informal fresh produce traders and people vulnerable to food security for an improved quality of life.


Masters Degree in Architecture. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.