This research dissertation explores how the symbolic space of public space, and therefore memory and meaning attached to a place, could inspire the process of the design for a landscape intervention. The research argues that community identity of a neighbourhood can be enhanced through the landscape and, more specifically, through the memory that a landscape holds. Furthermore, it suggests that relationships can be fostered within a community through the use of urban public space. Public space is a platform for the initiation of events which in turn provides the opportunity for interaction and therefore the conception of relationships.The area of study is Marabastad in South Africa, which underwent a number of forced evictions during the Apartheid regime. This community was uprooted and forced to live in racially demarcated areas. The development plans for Marabastad suggest that previous residents have the opportunity to return to their land. Adding to this, a new residential component is proposed for the area. This suggests that a new community would be present. It would consist of people who do not know one another as well as a combination of people who do and do not have knowledge of the area’s past. In order to initiate the interactions between these community members the author proposed a landscape intervention in the form of urban public space for Marabastad. The physical landscape intervention was conceived through recognising the memory that the site holds. The memory of certain events was revealed while at the same time the opportunity for new memories and associations to the landscape was created. In this way the traumatic past that Marabastad has experienced is overlaid with new and inspiring memories.
Dissertation (ML(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2010.