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Sustainable Living Urban Model / Issue 8 Social Design Public Action

Guest-Edited by Lukas Feireiss

Keep Their Heads Ringin’


110

A

Public Action

t a time when the thinking about housing in South Africa is shifting towards upgrading versus the eradication of informal settlements, the need for suitably experienced professionals, community planners and officials who can engage in a process of participative planning is becoming increasingly urgent. Although notions such as Participative Action Research (PAR) and “Designing for the Other 90%” have been on the agenda of universities and professional bodies for some time, the immense complexity and contradictions revealed through real world engagements across social and economic classes certainly challenges this goal significantly. The dominant realities of cities, especially in the global south, demand that academic and professional institutions engage with this set of challenges, not least of all the transformation of the institutions themselves. This article expands on the INFORMAL STUDIO: MARLBORO SOUTH, a course on in-situ upgrading developed at the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Architecture in 2012 during which 51 architecture students worked with ‘community planners’ living in informally settled warehouses and open plots of Marlboro South, a former industrial buffer strip between Alexandra and its wealthier surroundings. The basis of the studio was to provide a defined service (in the time available) which would support a process

of development driven by residents themselves and aided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community based originations (CBOs). Whilst the process of engagement is by no means simple or benign, it holds the promise that cities, however flawed, can and should be modified by ordinary citizens. Central to this promise is the necessity that professionals and the institutions which educate them, shift towards modes of education and practice which are more responsive the the reality on the ground. INFORMAL STUDIO: MARLBORO SOUTH presents a case study which aims to describe the events and relationships which emerged and the outcomes, challenges and opportunities a participative approach to planning made evident.

targets). The Department of Human Settlements’ recent call for tenders for the drafting of upgrading plans for 46,000 informal households, in Johannesburg alone, pays evidence to this shift and the recognition that the formal subsidy system is too slow and does not provide a holistic housing solution to the poorest members of society. Furthermore the conditions of deprivation in informal settlements pose a serious threat to political and social stability.

National Context In the face of a 2.3 million backlog in the “delivery” of state-sponsored formal houses, the upgrading of informal settlements is being given credence by the state. This is evidenced in the National Upgrade Support Programme (NUSP) called into being to assist the government in reaching its target of upgrading 400,000 households in well-located informal settlements around the country (as part of Outcome eight of the National Delivery Agreement

Fig. 1: Backlog Graph (by 26’10 south Architects) Graph showing ever increasing backlog in formal subsidized housing which has ostensibly been “met” by the informal city.

Nationwide service delivery protests have increased in frequency from two per month to two per week from 2008 to 2012. High unemployment rates, eight times higher infant mortality rates and three times higher HIV infection rates are only some of the symptoms of under serviced communities.

Background The “Housing and the Informal City” project initiated in 2008 by 26’10 south Architects in partnership with the GoetheInstitut, Johannesburg has evolved over successive years from a purely researchbased project (investigating informal urbanism) into a university course which has engaged with people-driven development processes in two separate informal settlements.

Fig. 4: Ruimsig Studio (image by Alex Opper) The university studio was trans-located into an existing informal church within the settlement. At least half of the studio sessions, workshops, and many meetings and debates involving students, residents and city officials took place here.

Fig. 3: Diepsloot Shack (image by 26’10 south Architects) “Illegal” road-side business offering cooked meals and housing. A house can be delivered in 1-2 days at 5% of the cost of a subsidized house.

One of the many challenges facing NUSP is a lack of suitably qualified professionals skilled in methods of participative planning, understanding and engaging with the needs, expertise and knowledge residing in communities. New methods of education and engagement need to be developed in which ordinary people are recognized as equal role-players and stakeholders in setting the agenda for research and practice. This is a tall order in a soci-

In 2011 the first course was developed together with the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Department of Architecture, housed in the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (FADA). It was held in Ruimsig, an informal settlement west of Johannesburg. Here sixteen architectural master’s students engaged with the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Ikhayalami and the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), as well as local residents and community leaders. A collaborative process of mapping and design served to articulate proposals for short- and longterm improvements in the settlement. Whilst the proposals took cognisance of the goal of achieving security of tenure and incremental formalisation over time, a re-blocking strategy was drawn up which recorded community-driven proposals for immediate improvements to be under-

Fig. 5: Ruimsig Re-blocking Map (image by 26’10 south Architects) A re-blocking map produced by students and residents was the outcome of the seven week course. Here it is displayed at an exhibition and film screening attended by the multiple stakeholders vested in the project. The public display of the studio results and process forms and important aspect lending agency and legitimacy to the community’s development process.

111

After the course residents, assisted by NGOs Ikhayalami and CORC, systematically began to tackle the physical upgrading of their surroundings. To date 65 structures have been moved and upgraded from the most congested part of Ruimsig to better positions within the settlement through support secured via the NGOs.

Fig. 6: Ruimsig Re-blocked (by 26’10 south Architects) This map shows the dwellings ‘moved’ (into better positions) in the six months period following the studio. These adjustments to the fabric of the settlement were carried out by residents assisted by CORC (NGO).

Critical to this engagement was that UJ (students and staff) acted as service providers to residents. The Ruimsig community was already mobilised towards improving its own environment through existing grassroots methodologies pro-

Public Action

Social Design

Thorsten Deckler

Participatory planning, in which inhabitants play a central role in co-determining outcomes specific to their own needs, is seen as an important component in developing upgrading strategies ensuring more sustainable livelihoods. A simple example is that the provision of a top structure (house) delivered through a subsidy system may not be the immediate priority, when taking into consideration the slow process of delivery, the low densities and high costs for a shelter which people are (and have been) quite capable of providing for themselves in the face of the housing crisis. These costs could thus be better spent on immediate improvements to existing settlement by means of retro-fitting essential services with a view towards long term formalization and integration with the city.

taken by residents themselves. The main objectives of re-blocking in the context of Ruimsig are: the equitable distribution of land, addressing overcrowding and the activities of slumlords; the adjustment of movement routes to suitable road widths (for improved circulation and passage of emergency vehicles); and the creation of improved public and semi-public spaces. Following on from an accurate mapping of the existing conditions, a re-blocking map was developed together with community planners living in the settlement.

Social Design

Fig. 2: Sewerage Map of Reception Area, Diepsloot (by 26’10 south Architects) 7.2 kms of daylight sewerage flow from oversubscribed communal toilets in the Reception Area, a formally laid out but informally settled area in Diepsloot, one of South Africa’s largest post-Apartheid settlements comprising approximately 200,000 inhabitants. The promise of formal subsidized housing coupled with a lack of tenure (and the very real threat of evictions) has resulted in an illegal limbo in which residents are reluctant to invest in land they do not own.

ety which generally identifies expertise in the form of degrees and is itself stratified in a class (and race) system manifest at a massive scale. To this effect two university courses, collaboratively developed, question and review the traditional role of the university as the primary center of knowledge; the profession as experts; and communities as passive recipients of development. This shift would ultimately allow theory and practice to be combined in real world partnerships focused on the co-production of the built environment by ordinary citizens, the state, and professionals.


110

A

Public Action

t a time when the thinking about housing in South Africa is shifting towards upgrading versus the eradication of informal settlements, the need for suitably experienced professionals, community planners and officials who can engage in a process of participative planning is becoming increasingly urgent. Although notions such as Participative Action Research (PAR) and “Designing for the Other 90%” have been on the agenda of universities and professional bodies for some time, the immense complexity and contradictions revealed through real world engagements across social and economic classes certainly challenges this goal significantly. The dominant realities of cities, especially in the global south, demand that academic and professional institutions engage with this set of challenges, not least of all the transformation of the institutions themselves. This article expands on the INFORMAL STUDIO: MARLBORO SOUTH, a course on in-situ upgrading developed at the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Architecture in 2012 during which 51 architecture students worked with ‘community planners’ living in informally settled warehouses and open plots of Marlboro South, a former industrial buffer strip between Alexandra and its wealthier surroundings. The basis of the studio was to provide a defined service (in the time available) which would support a process

of development driven by residents themselves and aided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community based originations (CBOs). Whilst the process of engagement is by no means simple or benign, it holds the promise that cities, however flawed, can and should be modified by ordinary citizens. Central to this promise is the necessity that professionals and the institutions which educate them, shift towards modes of education and practice which are more responsive the the reality on the ground. INFORMAL STUDIO: MARLBORO SOUTH presents a case study which aims to describe the events and relationships which emerged and the outcomes, challenges and opportunities a participative approach to planning made evident.

targets). The Department of Human Settlements’ recent call for tenders for the drafting of upgrading plans for 46,000 informal households, in Johannesburg alone, pays evidence to this shift and the recognition that the formal subsidy system is too slow and does not provide a holistic housing solution to the poorest members of society. Furthermore the conditions of deprivation in informal settlements pose a serious threat to political and social stability.

National Context In the face of a 2.3 million backlog in the “delivery” of state-sponsored formal houses, the upgrading of informal settlements is being given credence by the state. This is evidenced in the National Upgrade Support Programme (NUSP) called into being to assist the government in reaching its target of upgrading 400,000 households in well-located informal settlements around the country (as part of Outcome eight of the National Delivery Agreement

Fig. 1: Backlog Graph (by 26’10 south Architects) Graph showing ever increasing backlog in formal subsidized housing which has ostensibly been “met” by the informal city.

Nationwide service delivery protests have increased in frequency from two per month to two per week from 2008 to 2012. High unemployment rates, eight times higher infant mortality rates and three times higher HIV infection rates are only some of the symptoms of under serviced communities.

Background The “Housing and the Informal City” project initiated in 2008 by 26’10 south Architects in partnership with the GoetheInstitut, Johannesburg has evolved over successive years from a purely researchbased project (investigating informal urbanism) into a university course which has engaged with people-driven development processes in two separate informal settlements.

Fig. 4: Ruimsig Studio (image by Alex Opper) The university studio was trans-located into an existing informal church within the settlement. At least half of the studio sessions, workshops, and many meetings and debates involving students, residents and city officials took place here.

Fig. 3: Diepsloot Shack (image by 26’10 south Architects) “Illegal” road-side business offering cooked meals and housing. A house can be delivered in 1-2 days at 5% of the cost of a subsidized house.

One of the many challenges facing NUSP is a lack of suitably qualified professionals skilled in methods of participative planning, understanding and engaging with the needs, expertise and knowledge residing in communities. New methods of education and engagement need to be developed in which ordinary people are recognized as equal role-players and stakeholders in setting the agenda for research and practice. This is a tall order in a soci-

In 2011 the first course was developed together with the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Department of Architecture, housed in the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (FADA). It was held in Ruimsig, an informal settlement west of Johannesburg. Here sixteen architectural master’s students engaged with the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Ikhayalami and the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), as well as local residents and community leaders. A collaborative process of mapping and design served to articulate proposals for short- and longterm improvements in the settlement. Whilst the proposals took cognisance of the goal of achieving security of tenure and incremental formalisation over time, a re-blocking strategy was drawn up which recorded community-driven proposals for immediate improvements to be under-

Fig. 5: Ruimsig Re-blocking Map (image by 26’10 south Architects) A re-blocking map produced by students and residents was the outcome of the seven week course. Here it is displayed at an exhibition and film screening attended by the multiple stakeholders vested in the project. The public display of the studio results and process forms and important aspect lending agency and legitimacy to the community’s development process.

111

After the course residents, assisted by NGOs Ikhayalami and CORC, systematically began to tackle the physical upgrading of their surroundings. To date 65 structures have been moved and upgraded from the most congested part of Ruimsig to better positions within the settlement through support secured via the NGOs.

Fig. 6: Ruimsig Re-blocked (by 26’10 south Architects) This map shows the dwellings ‘moved’ (into better positions) in the six months period following the studio. These adjustments to the fabric of the settlement were carried out by residents assisted by CORC (NGO).

Critical to this engagement was that UJ (students and staff) acted as service providers to residents. The Ruimsig community was already mobilised towards improving its own environment through existing grassroots methodologies pro-

Public Action

Social Design

Thorsten Deckler

Participatory planning, in which inhabitants play a central role in co-determining outcomes specific to their own needs, is seen as an important component in developing upgrading strategies ensuring more sustainable livelihoods. A simple example is that the provision of a top structure (house) delivered through a subsidy system may not be the immediate priority, when taking into consideration the slow process of delivery, the low densities and high costs for a shelter which people are (and have been) quite capable of providing for themselves in the face of the housing crisis. These costs could thus be better spent on immediate improvements to existing settlement by means of retro-fitting essential services with a view towards long term formalization and integration with the city.

taken by residents themselves. The main objectives of re-blocking in the context of Ruimsig are: the equitable distribution of land, addressing overcrowding and the activities of slumlords; the adjustment of movement routes to suitable road widths (for improved circulation and passage of emergency vehicles); and the creation of improved public and semi-public spaces. Following on from an accurate mapping of the existing conditions, a re-blocking map was developed together with community planners living in the settlement.

Social Design

Fig. 2: Sewerage Map of Reception Area, Diepsloot (by 26’10 south Architects) 7.2 kms of daylight sewerage flow from oversubscribed communal toilets in the Reception Area, a formally laid out but informally settled area in Diepsloot, one of South Africa’s largest post-Apartheid settlements comprising approximately 200,000 inhabitants. The promise of formal subsidized housing coupled with a lack of tenure (and the very real threat of evictions) has resulted in an illegal limbo in which residents are reluctant to invest in land they do not own.

ety which generally identifies expertise in the form of degrees and is itself stratified in a class (and race) system manifest at a massive scale. To this effect two university courses, collaboratively developed, question and review the traditional role of the university as the primary center of knowledge; the profession as experts; and communities as passive recipients of development. This shift would ultimately allow theory and practice to be combined in real world partnerships focused on the co-production of the built environment by ordinary citizens, the state, and professionals.


vided by the ISN and the NGOs involved. A guiding principal of the Informal Studio educational model is that residents are recognised as legitimate experts of their own living conditions. Central to this relationship is the empowerment of communities to take part in the necessary decision-making and design processes.

112

Through the association with the university and the production of the re-blocking plan Ruimsig has received increased attention from city authorities, who now show more support of the community of Ruimsig’s focus on upgrading—to the extent that the area has been declared an “experimental zone” in which certain municipal standards and by-laws may be re-defined in order to meet the very different spatial demands and needs of the settlement. An example which precipitated this “ruling” is the excessive road reserve width the city’s roads agency insists on in order to install services. Would these widths be implemented throughout the settlement, most households would need to be relocated.

In 2012, based on a request from NGOs actively working with informal residents in the area, a course was developed for and held in Marlboro South (MS). A similar engagement model was employed, but at a larger scale, with more students, partnering with a large group of volunteer “community planners.” Over the past 20 years MS’s status as an apartheid buffer has been gradually eroded by people making their homes on vacant plots and in dis-used or “hijacked” former industrial buildings. The result is a squatted industrial no-man’s land with an estimated 1,545 households (Fed-Up enumeration report, 2011) living in precarious conditions, without adequate municipal services and under constant threat of eviction.

Fig. 11b: Diagram of Typologies (by 26’10 south Architects) The different typologies existing in Marlboro South ranging from formal business to hybrid conditions of business and living to “walled” and open lots with live stock.

Fig. 10: Occupied Warehouse (image by Ryan Bosworth) An example of an occupied warehouse with informally constructed mezzanine level.

Public Action Fig. 8: Map with Road Reserve (by 26’10 south Architects) Map shows the extent to which a legal road reserve width would displace further households. The drawing became a tool of negotiation with city officials who subsequently declared Ruimsig an experimental zone in terms of town planning regulations.

Informal Studio: Marlboro South

Fig. 12: Land-use Map (by 26’10 south Architects, based on work by students) The land-use map formed the main deliverable, demonstrating the many new uses which have “humanized” the industrial landscape through the introduction of housing, livestock, restaurants, crèches, churches, sports fields, etc.

Fig. 11a: Warehouse diagram (by 26’10 south Architects after students work) Drawn example of an occupied warehouse with informally constructed mezzanine level.

A deal was made (facilitated by the partnering NGOs) between UJ and the community: namely, that the course outcomes would include a detailed and accurate land-use map; a conceptual spatial development framework; and proposals for short- and longer-term spatial and infrastructural strategies. All of these deliverables seen together would articulate the potential for the area to become an integrated neighborhood, offering safer, healthier, and affordable housing for its current residents. The outcomes were envisaged as an instrument with which the community and the NGOs could table valid information and proposals around which to ultimately engage city authorities.

During the post-course engagement a re-settlement plan for 390 evicted households was drawn up at short notice. This plan was prepared by the lecturers and architects involved in the course following an indication from a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Johannesburg Housing to make available to the community open, state-owned sites within Marlboro South. This plan was then tabled to the MEC by the community itself. The re-settlement plans, whilst not definitive, indicate what a re-settlement—which anticipates growth (and tenure), mixed uses and better communal defensible spaces—may look like. Whilst the layout options prepared during the design process are being adapted by the community and NGO for the immediate resettlement on evicted stands, the power of the image of a settlement which is laid out around open spaces, allows for growth (formalization over time) as well as economic activity has lent a measure of credence to the seriousness of the community’s efforts.

CHALLENGES and OPPORTUNITIES (One of the biggest challenges is the energy, time and cost associated with running a course of this nature. This places a significant limit on what can realistically be achieved during the course in terms of benefits for both the students and the community partners involved. A clear deal had to be made which defined the concrete deliverables to the community in relation to the learning outcomes for students. Furthermore the conceptual nature as student projects had to be explained and that only, one or two of these could likely be developed further. As it happened, the resettlement plans drawn after the course drew on many of the ideas and findings collectively generated during the seven-week period.

Fig.13: Re-settlement Workshop (photo by: Delite Visual Archives) Models used to workshop settlement layouts with evicted households. Residents won a court interdict against the City’s evictions orders and are legally able to re-settle land in the area.

113 Fig. 14: Re-settlement Models (photo by: Guillermo Delgado) 11 settlement options were produced by 26’10 south Architects & BOOM Architects. Each option shows a starting and end condition (after growth). Residents decided on 10msq room sizes as these could be affordably self-constructed. The various settlement options thus explore future growth and expansion from 10msq to 20, 30, and 40msq. 40msq is the size of a subsidized house.

Through the collaboration with the Goethe-Istitut (G-I) UJ funds could be extended to cover the pre-course preparations as well as the post-course engagement on the development of the resettlement plans. Through formatting the exhibition (again, supported by the G-I), the material produced by students could be presented in a consistent and accessible way to the community (in the form of this “newspaper”). G-I support also made possible the documenting, on film, of the studio process, and the professional editing of the raw material for the purposes of the exhibition.)

Public Action

Social Design Fig. 7: Ruimsig Resident presenting Project at Final Reviews (image by Alex Opper) Albert Masibigiri, one of the 8 community planners involved in the course shown here presenting his group’s work. An important aspect of the INFORMAL STUDIO is that residents are engaged throughout the process which ostensibly forms part of their larger drive for development.

Social Design

Fig. 9: Marlboro South Figure Ground (by 26’10 south Architects) Figure ground showing the ‘domestication’ of the former industrial buffer strip through informal housing.


vided by the ISN and the NGOs involved. A guiding principal of the Informal Studio educational model is that residents are recognised as legitimate experts of their own living conditions. Central to this relationship is the empowerment of communities to take part in the necessary decision-making and design processes.

112

Through the association with the university and the production of the re-blocking plan Ruimsig has received increased attention from city authorities, who now show more support of the community of Ruimsig’s focus on upgrading—to the extent that the area has been declared an “experimental zone” in which certain municipal standards and by-laws may be re-defined in order to meet the very different spatial demands and needs of the settlement. An example which precipitated this “ruling” is the excessive road reserve width the city’s roads agency insists on in order to install services. Would these widths be implemented throughout the settlement, most households would need to be relocated.

In 2012, based on a request from NGOs actively working with informal residents in the area, a course was developed for and held in Marlboro South (MS). A similar engagement model was employed, but at a larger scale, with more students, partnering with a large group of volunteer “community planners.” Over the past 20 years MS’s status as an apartheid buffer has been gradually eroded by people making their homes on vacant plots and in dis-used or “hijacked” former industrial buildings. The result is a squatted industrial no-man’s land with an estimated 1,545 households (Fed-Up enumeration report, 2011) living in precarious conditions, without adequate municipal services and under constant threat of eviction.

Fig. 11b: Diagram of Typologies (by 26’10 south Architects) The different typologies existing in Marlboro South ranging from formal business to hybrid conditions of business and living to “walled” and open lots with live stock.

Fig. 10: Occupied Warehouse (image by Ryan Bosworth) An example of an occupied warehouse with informally constructed mezzanine level.

Public Action Fig. 8: Map with Road Reserve (by 26’10 south Architects) Map shows the extent to which a legal road reserve width would displace further households. The drawing became a tool of negotiation with city officials who subsequently declared Ruimsig an experimental zone in terms of town planning regulations.

Informal Studio: Marlboro South

Fig. 12: Land-use Map (by 26’10 south Architects, based on work by students) The land-use map formed the main deliverable, demonstrating the many new uses which have “humanized” the industrial landscape through the introduction of housing, livestock, restaurants, crèches, churches, sports fields, etc.

Fig. 11a: Warehouse diagram (by 26’10 south Architects after students work) Drawn example of an occupied warehouse with informally constructed mezzanine level.

A deal was made (facilitated by the partnering NGOs) between UJ and the community: namely, that the course outcomes would include a detailed and accurate land-use map; a conceptual spatial development framework; and proposals for short- and longer-term spatial and infrastructural strategies. All of these deliverables seen together would articulate the potential for the area to become an integrated neighborhood, offering safer, healthier, and affordable housing for its current residents. The outcomes were envisaged as an instrument with which the community and the NGOs could table valid information and proposals around which to ultimately engage city authorities.

During the post-course engagement a re-settlement plan for 390 evicted households was drawn up at short notice. This plan was prepared by the lecturers and architects involved in the course following an indication from a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Johannesburg Housing to make available to the community open, state-owned sites within Marlboro South. This plan was then tabled to the MEC by the community itself. The re-settlement plans, whilst not definitive, indicate what a re-settlement—which anticipates growth (and tenure), mixed uses and better communal defensible spaces—may look like. Whilst the layout options prepared during the design process are being adapted by the community and NGO for the immediate resettlement on evicted stands, the power of the image of a settlement which is laid out around open spaces, allows for growth (formalization over time) as well as economic activity has lent a measure of credence to the seriousness of the community’s efforts.

CHALLENGES and OPPORTUNITIES (One of the biggest challenges is the energy, time and cost associated with running a course of this nature. This places a significant limit on what can realistically be achieved during the course in terms of benefits for both the students and the community partners involved. A clear deal had to be made which defined the concrete deliverables to the community in relation to the learning outcomes for students. Furthermore the conceptual nature as student projects had to be explained and that only, one or two of these could likely be developed further. As it happened, the resettlement plans drawn after the course drew on many of the ideas and findings collectively generated during the seven-week period.

Fig.13: Re-settlement Workshop (photo by: Delite Visual Archives) Models used to workshop settlement layouts with evicted households. Residents won a court interdict against the City’s evictions orders and are legally able to re-settle land in the area.

113 Fig. 14: Re-settlement Models (photo by: Guillermo Delgado) 11 settlement options were produced by 26’10 south Architects & BOOM Architects. Each option shows a starting and end condition (after growth). Residents decided on 10msq room sizes as these could be affordably self-constructed. The various settlement options thus explore future growth and expansion from 10msq to 20, 30, and 40msq. 40msq is the size of a subsidized house.

Through the collaboration with the Goethe-Istitut (G-I) UJ funds could be extended to cover the pre-course preparations as well as the post-course engagement on the development of the resettlement plans. Through formatting the exhibition (again, supported by the G-I), the material produced by students could be presented in a consistent and accessible way to the community (in the form of this “newspaper”). G-I support also made possible the documenting, on film, of the studio process, and the professional editing of the raw material for the purposes of the exhibition.)

Public Action

Social Design Fig. 7: Ruimsig Resident presenting Project at Final Reviews (image by Alex Opper) Albert Masibigiri, one of the 8 community planners involved in the course shown here presenting his group’s work. An important aspect of the INFORMAL STUDIO is that residents are engaged throughout the process which ostensibly forms part of their larger drive for development.

Social Design

Fig. 9: Marlboro South Figure Ground (by 26’10 south Architects) Figure ground showing the ‘domestication’ of the former industrial buffer strip through informal housing.


Fig. 17: Process & Engagement Map (by BOOM Architects) This timeline, produced by Eric Wright and Claudia Morgado, charts the course and documents the key events such as meetings, agreements, evictions, court battles, protects and victories which took place before, during and after the course. It also shows the sheer number of people (approximately 100) which were involved in the process.

Social Design

Social Design

114

Public Action

Another challenge is the inexperience and essentially middle-class mind-sets of most students. To overcome this potential draw-back students were thoroughly immersed in the context through hands-on site work (measuring, interviewing, drawing-up) as well as the integration of the subject matter across most of their other university subjects. On the other hand the openness and willingness of young students to engage played a great part in bridging the divided worlds of university and Marlboro South. In this aspect the role of the NGOs is critical in that it sets the tone and principles of engagement to which the partners need to adhere in order for a mutually beneficial set of outcomes to be achieved. A guiding principle, and one which the NGOs ensured is maintained on a continuous basis, is that the mobilisation or empowerment process within communities is maintained and that the course benefitted from a well-informed and motivated client. Whilst the internal politics of communities are often complex in their own right all parties need to be able to maintain clear communication and verify the relevance of agreed outcomes during the process. During the MS studio repeated evictions of participating members of the community posed a great threat to the studio and on several occasions all parties had to reconnect, discuss and confirm the best way forward. This

implies a very open but “principled flexibility” in order for the studio to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. A challenge specific to lecturers of this course is the pervasive emphasis on the image of architecture and the overstatement of the importance of individual (one-off) buildings as perpetuated in blogs, magazines and books. The resulting aesthetic overload makes it difficult, especially for students, to focus on the “unspectacular.” The field of informal settlement upgrading requires an almost “invisible” but by no means less important “design as support” approach; one in which sensitized architects have an important role to play.

Exhibition Part of the purpose of this exhibition is thus to make accessible the underlying dynamics and principles of participative design to students and institutions and to convey the nature of collaborative/participative design as a dynamic and contextually-rooted process of un-learning and re-learning for both professionals and community partners. The exhibition also seeks to demonstrate the value of participative design practice in developing contextually well founded and achievable approaches to city making through a set of retro-fitting moves and adjustments which acknowledge rather than do away with the imperfect and contingent aspects of ever-evolving cities.

115

Fig. 16: Exhibition at Goethe-Institut (image by Kutlwano Moagi) The exhibition, curated by Anne Graupner of 26’10 south Architects, contained drawings, maps, text, a graphic narrative, models, student proposals as well as four films depicting the views of STUDENTS, RESIDENTS, NGO / OFFICIALS and ARCHITECTS / TEACHERS. Connecting a multiplicity of insights and opinions across the divide of an unequal society was an important motivation in the curatorial strategy. The exhibition became a site for community discussions as well as media coverage.

Action Learning/practice-led research/ participative action research are terms coined to describe the development of new modes of teaching and learning which combine theory and practice in order to break out of the sometimes selfreferential corner academia and the profession has painted itself into. Academics and professionals do not live or have to survive in the marginalised contexts they study, design for or regulate and the documentation of the course seeks to open up a debate on potential alternative forms of education and practice which may bridge this divide.

Public Action

Fig. 15: Re-settlement Proposal (excerpt from comic produced by student Jaco Jonker) The final “splash page” of comic (illustrating the entire studio process) shows the resultant resettlement proposal (by 26’10 south Architects & BOOM Architects). This proposal was presented by evicted residents of Marlboro South to the city.


Fig. 17: Process & Engagement Map (by BOOM Architects) This timeline, produced by Eric Wright and Claudia Morgado, charts the course and documents the key events such as meetings, agreements, evictions, court battles, protects and victories which took place before, during and after the course. It also shows the sheer number of people (approximately 100) which were involved in the process.

Social Design

Social Design

114

Public Action

Another challenge is the inexperience and essentially middle-class mind-sets of most students. To overcome this potential draw-back students were thoroughly immersed in the context through hands-on site work (measuring, interviewing, drawing-up) as well as the integration of the subject matter across most of their other university subjects. On the other hand the openness and willingness of young students to engage played a great part in bridging the divided worlds of university and Marlboro South. In this aspect the role of the NGOs is critical in that it sets the tone and principles of engagement to which the partners need to adhere in order for a mutually beneficial set of outcomes to be achieved. A guiding principle, and one which the NGOs ensured is maintained on a continuous basis, is that the mobilisation or empowerment process within communities is maintained and that the course benefitted from a well-informed and motivated client. Whilst the internal politics of communities are often complex in their own right all parties need to be able to maintain clear communication and verify the relevance of agreed outcomes during the process. During the MS studio repeated evictions of participating members of the community posed a great threat to the studio and on several occasions all parties had to reconnect, discuss and confirm the best way forward. This

implies a very open but “principled flexibility” in order for the studio to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. A challenge specific to lecturers of this course is the pervasive emphasis on the image of architecture and the overstatement of the importance of individual (one-off) buildings as perpetuated in blogs, magazines and books. The resulting aesthetic overload makes it difficult, especially for students, to focus on the “unspectacular.” The field of informal settlement upgrading requires an almost “invisible” but by no means less important “design as support” approach; one in which sensitized architects have an important role to play.

Exhibition Part of the purpose of this exhibition is thus to make accessible the underlying dynamics and principles of participative design to students and institutions and to convey the nature of collaborative/participative design as a dynamic and contextually-rooted process of un-learning and re-learning for both professionals and community partners. The exhibition also seeks to demonstrate the value of participative design practice in developing contextually well founded and achievable approaches to city making through a set of retro-fitting moves and adjustments which acknowledge rather than do away with the imperfect and contingent aspects of ever-evolving cities.

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Fig. 16: Exhibition at Goethe-Institut (image by Kutlwano Moagi) The exhibition, curated by Anne Graupner of 26’10 south Architects, contained drawings, maps, text, a graphic narrative, models, student proposals as well as four films depicting the views of STUDENTS, RESIDENTS, NGO / OFFICIALS and ARCHITECTS / TEACHERS. Connecting a multiplicity of insights and opinions across the divide of an unequal society was an important motivation in the curatorial strategy. The exhibition became a site for community discussions as well as media coverage.

Action Learning/practice-led research/ participative action research are terms coined to describe the development of new modes of teaching and learning which combine theory and practice in order to break out of the sometimes selfreferential corner academia and the profession has painted itself into. Academics and professionals do not live or have to survive in the marginalised contexts they study, design for or regulate and the documentation of the course seeks to open up a debate on potential alternative forms of education and practice which may bridge this divide.

Public Action

Fig. 15: Re-settlement Proposal (excerpt from comic produced by student Jaco Jonker) The final “splash page” of comic (illustrating the entire studio process) shows the resultant resettlement proposal (by 26’10 south Architects & BOOM Architects). This proposal was presented by evicted residents of Marlboro South to the city.


26'10 south Architects, SLUM Lab, Issue 8, Fall 2013