This dissertation considers the lives and rituals of a community of informal waste
reclaimers living on an active landfill site just outside Mamelodi, Pretoria. Their
living conditions are poor and yet they deliver an important service by reducing
the amount of garbage buried and recycling otherwise wasted resources. The
intention is to acknowledge the importance of the informal waste reclaiming
community that has evolved into a network of intricate exchanges and trading
which in turn provides economic opportunity in a country that has a large
percentage of unemployed people.
Due to the evolving nature and scale of the project, the design approach considers
a series of interventions that can be implemented during the various phases of
the lifecycle of the landfill.
The proposal utilises landscape architecture as an intrinsic component to initiate
the fundamental infrastructure that can establish the foundation for a habitable
environment and future public spaces.
The initial phase considers an area where recycled materials can be processed
and transformed after their extraction from the landfill. This creates an important
node that supplements economic opportunities. It is here where a market space
provides a platform for interactions and transactions between a variety of people
passing through and working on the landfill site.
In conjunction with the economic upliftment proposed, the project needs to
address the access to basic human rights of clean water and dignified sanitation.
The design of a 'water node' provides the core around which daily rituals are
To create a safe, stable environment where habitation may organically evolve, the
strategy is to reorganise the way waste is buried at this landfill so that building
rubble, demolition waste and inert materials are structured into platforms on a
portion of the landfill site. Here waste reclaimers may construct their dwellings
away from the dangers of earthmoving machinery, elevated out of the garbage
whilst still maintaining surveillance over the incoming waste. The intention is to
utilise principals of landscape architecture to harness natural resources whilst
addressing the by-products of habitation in the structuring of the new terrain. The
design seeks to achieve a pragmatic resolution with the intent of creating poetic
moments within this harsh unforgiving landscape.
Mini Dissertation (ML (Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2017.