Both the Architect and the City of Durban, should be commended for consolidating their research and their observations of de facto urban development in the Municipality of eThekweni. If this document could be implemented and acted upon, it would contribute much to the sustainable evolution of not only Durban but other South African cities.
There is a lack of critical thought offered by city authorities regarding the state of actual urban development in South African cities, and whilst this proposal does not offer any solutions, it does provide guidelines of pursuit.
The document acknowledges the de facto state of rapid urbanisation in Durban, which is common to most cities in the developing world. The study understands the need for the harmonisation of a series of approaches as no single panacea will solve the challenges that are faced. These include social interaction with communities combined with infrastructure development by local authorities.
The author extends his observations to the role of the architect as one that needs to evolve from our current understanding of a 19th century gentleman professional to exploring architecture as sociology. The role of the architect is likely to develop from designer of icon to designer of process and response. Building design will evolve from graphic to a result of a process and innovation through social inclusion.
Place Making Performance
Whilst the document is not exhaustive in its investigation, it does offer generous tactile observations of construction methods which extend into job creation. This is not only a poetic study but also an opportunity for pursuing a wide range of applicable or relevant solutions. The opportunity exists for the componentalising of architecture, making access to materials and methods easier for residents.
Acknowledging that climate has a large impact on architecture, many of the proposals made are suitable only for subtropical climates, but the issues raised could be pursued nationally. There is also a strong need for the document to be operationalised and tested.
The document is a brave attempt by the only one of the metros in the country that seeks to record, evaluate and propose systems for urban construction in South Africa. The litmus test remains for the document to be implemented and robustly challenged, which if successful could offer realistic opportunities for urban development in South Africa