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Using a therapeutic architecture to re-conceptualize the design of mental health care facilities, for the youth, within the City of Durban.

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The mental health care phenomenon in South Africa, with particular reference to children and adolescents in underprivileged communities, lacks priority, insight, facilities and resources. Children and adolescents experience physical, emotional and societal changes and challenges which can make them highly susceptible for the development of a mental illnesses. If not addressed at an early age, these matters can persist into adulthood and result in a variety of negative coping-mechanisms which can in turn create a very undesirable urban environment, evident within the Durban Central business district area (CBD), South Africa. In response to the most predominant issue at hand, the following research sets out to explore a de-institutionalised approach, as an alternative response to the architectural design of existing mental health facilities for children and adolescents, especially for those that cannot afford or gain access to proper mental health treatment, within the Durban CBD precinct. To discover how it can be improved through the development of a mixed-use housing facility that would engage with its surrounding community, as opposed to an isolated institutionalized facility. The primary objective being to demonstrate that a healing and therapeutic environment can be achieved within an urban setting and that by promoting healing within one's familiar surroundings may prevent the possibility of relapsing. Thus, the following research, qualitative in nature, will be used to retrieve open-ended information in attempt to assemble both primary and secondary data supported by the overlapping principles of a therapeutic architecture and age-sensitive healing design in aims to create a healing induced environment within one of Durban's most unhealthy urban settings, to achieve a better long-term approach to mental health recovery.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.