This dissertation investigates the role of architecture in the emergence of community identity with specific reference to the spontaneous surfacing and expansion of informal settlements within the South African context and the need for fundamental public service infrastructure provision. The aim is to understand and illustrate the significance of contextual infrastructure provision as catalyst in the emergence of social and cultural networks. In analysing the current innovative survival strategies induced by the community themselves, a theoretical premise will be established regarding the implications of an "African urbanist" approach to infrastructure and means of applying it in design. The current rate of urbanization within the South African context has resulted in several human settlements expanding organically, attempting to meet the increasing housing demands whilst neglecting the provision of platforms for various interwoven layers of urban fabric and public services. These platforms are integral in the shaping of cultural and community identity. The intent of the proposal is to provide an interface between the public and the built fabric that serves the needs of, as well as enhances the quotidian praxis within the Eastern Mamelodi precinct. The proposal intends to disclose an existing cultural language and identity by establishing physical loci that host and exhibit quotidian social practices unique to Mamelodi. Through theoretical and contextual enquiry the study provides an understanding of the role as well as the necessity of infrastructure architecture manifested into an appropriate solution which will facilitate the corroboration of a unique cultural identity.
Dissertation MArch(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2013