A responsive architectural strategy for the generations of smart communities: an integrated tech hub in Welbedacht, Durban.
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The social and economic development of peri-urban communities are often overlooked by government contributing to a centralized development approach. This approach encourages migration to areas with more opportunity, preventing development of the underserved community. The uneven distribution of developmental resources and facilities leads to the manifestation of the assumption that opportunities to progress are centralized to certain areas of the city. This divide affects the communities’ morale to empower themselves within their locale thereby hindering their development and growth. In order for South Africa to foster a developmental state, it is vital to create initiatives in underserved peri-urban communities such as Welbedacht, that are more inclusive and empower individuals to control their own development. The theories presented in this research is an attempt to understand how architecture, responding to current issues in peri-urban communities, can act as a social agency for change to help enable, integrate and empower underserved peri-urban communities. Answering the research question, “What is the role of the built environment in enabling, integrating and empowering communities?” Place theories are applied to understanding people; linkage theories are applied in order to understand the needed infrastructure and theories of Socio-Ecological Resilience is applied in order to understand the design principles needed to achieve a holistically responsive architecture. Unilaterally connected, the theories will be applied so that connection between the theories provide a design strategy for sustainable development of smart peri-urban communities Explored in the research is architectural examples that encompass the principles identified through literature review, tectonic, technique and technology. Although the context of the precedent has similarities, no site is the same and therefore the community of Welbedacht is explored in detail (social, economic and environmental context). With an aim of sustainable development, the research focuses on a design outcome to encourage and facilitate active participation of citizens in the development of their communities.