The increasing demand and pollution of natural water systems caused by the constant growth in population has placed maximum strain on the resources upon which people depend. The presence of water sources has ensured the establishment, development and progression of the urban environment since settlements first originated, however, these environments have grown beyond the resources capabilities to sustain them. The preservation, purification and sustainable use of water have quickly become the most important strategies ensuring the survival of the urbanized world and its inhabitants.
The loss of water as a resource as well as their ecological systems and processes is not limited to larger water sources but is evident in the smaller scale river systems that are exposed to the urban environment on a daily basis. The demands by the surrounding urban environments exceed the capability of these smaller river systems which in turn has led to their neglect and steady destruction.
This study investigates the potential of small scale urban river systems to be able to provide for the surrounding urban environment as a resource through the process of purification. The reintroduction of the river as a resource will instil a sense of stewardship in man over the natural environment on which they rely, focusing on the connection between man and nature. The transformation of the riverfront into an interactive public space will promote the use and interaction of people with a previously neglected environment. The strengthening of the connection between man and environment is achieved through the incorporation of the resource into the economic sector of the urban environment, using the river as a means of income and production will add considerable value to the natural environment.
A broad approach was investigated that took the entire river system into consideration, while the main design intervention took place at one specific point along the river which had potential in all social, ecological and economic aspects. A decommissioned, post-industrial site was selected into which the purification of the river system could be integrated. The purification of the river would allow for various degrees of use, interaction, education and production centred around the resource. The proposal creates opportunities for the creation of public space and economic activities which benefit the surrounding communities through the rehabilitation of a polluted urban river. The incorporation of the river system into the post-industrial site is responsible for the rehabilitation and reclamation of a wasted landscape into one of provision and connectivity between various aspects of the urban environment.
The purpose of the intervention is the re-introduction of an existing urban river system into the built environment through the creation of social, economic and ecological connections, re-capturing the significance, importance and potential they hold as a resource as well as the ability to inform urban spatial design.
Mini Dissertation (ML(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2016.