Many urban poor are living lifestyles prescient of a future with little to no accessible fossil fuels, a future lacking easy access to electricity, flowing water, and food security. Scientists such as David Holmgren warn that the rest of society may face a similar scenario. According to the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO 2008), the peak of oil discovery happened in the 1960’s. In 1981 the world started using more than what was found in new fields and since then the gap between discovery and production has been ever widening, many countries have already passed their peak, which indicates that a global peak is imminent. This dissertation investigates a new typology for urban living. An area south of Marabastad, in the north-western quadrant of the city of Pretoria is selected as the wasted landscape for testing the hypothesis that a drosscape has the potential to be designed and developed into an agrarian conservancy to support a society in need of sustainable, innovative places. Part One of the dissertation investigates agriculture as a method for returning the site to some utilitarian efficiency. However, landscapes contain the potential to be more than functional tracts of land with no meaning. Thus Part Two of the dissertation investigates the fact that a creative approach to the implementation of city farming in the Steenovenspruit drosscape can ingrain in the modern industrial city a place with which the inhabitants can identify, where form does not only follow function but also enhances and expresses the celebration of man’s working relationship with the land, as well as celebrating the historic traces evident on the landscape. A palimpsest emerges out of the faint residue of past uses, displaying traces of the character the site once had. The dissertation proposes that by capturing the essence of these past layers of productive use and further enriching the palimpsest by introducing traces of farming and gardens, meaning and experiential use of the land will be returned to the people of Marabastad. The dissertation also proposes that through this experiential use the community is once again able to leave traces on the landscape and lift the site out of limbo and once again into the process of place-making, or refounding. A conservancy is proposed for the Steenovenspruit drosscape which combines the concept of palimpsest and the poetic nature of farming across a number of city blocks, connecting Marabastad and the CBD. The conservancy encapsulates a variety of land uses including residential and gathering traces, however the core of the conservancy centres around a historical city block which formed part of the old Pretoria townlands and which morphs once again into productive landscape.
Dissertation ML(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2013