The phenomenon of urban identity escapes narrow definition. Its relevance to the interior design context arises as a tool for regeneration where it can assist to capitalize on the potential of particular places and social relations that distinguish one location from another. The city is a constant interplay of human actions. Small moments and rituals that take place with human activity give rise to the everyday interaction between people with one other and with their environment. It is specifically on this human scale that interior design offers the possibility to explore the physical manipulation of space and form to influence interaction. Circulation and interior elements become a means to promote socialisation across different cultural groups and generations. Social friction represents the traditional societal aspect when considering interaction. Here its importance is not diminished but is put on par with the tactile dimensions of the physical as well as the visual. The interrelatedness of the social, physical and visual elements is set against the emerging topic of neighbourhood regeneration. Identity is here considered to be part of the core essence of a sense of place and belonging, which ensures that the regeneration is driven by the local residents, both as individuals and collectively as a community. In the specific context of Sunnyside and Trevenna, which is an area that has undergone many demographic and physical changes, the possibility of a built space as a platform for different people to engage with one another and their surroundings is investigated. Such as intervention aims to instil a sense of ownership, to define the desired atmosphere and to provide a space where collective values for the shifting neighbourhood can be navigated. The design explores this relation between formal design and informal activities through the proposal of a new morphology in form of a public space and café on the ground floor, and a youth aftercare centre on the upper two floors that incorporates desirable aspects of the original structure’s functions.
Dissertation MInt(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2013