Architecture in Southern African informal settlements : a contextually appropriate intervention

Perold, Rudolf ; Donaldson, Ronnie ; Devisch, Oswald (2019)

CITATION: Perold, R., Donaldson, R. & Devisch, O. 2019. Architecture in Southern African informal settlements : a contextually appropriate intervention. Urbani izziv, 30:96-111, doi:10.5379/urbani-izziv-en-2019-30-supplement-007.

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Architectural professionals can contribute to efforts at achieving sustainable urbanism. However, the realm of professional discourse is extremely limited. Grounded architectural practice (GAP) is developed as a conceptual framework to explore an emergent form of contextually appropriate architectural practice in the context of a resident-driven in situ informal settlement upgrading project. The exploration takes the form of a descriptive narrative. Each challenge that arose during the descriptive narrative was mapped according to Engeström’s activity system model, an analytical tool emanating from cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). By participating in live projects in informal settlements and analysing these projects by means of CHAT, the authors explored the highly improvising and generative everyday practices of the urban majority. Architectural practice in such a context requires a multi-disciplinary approach which extends beyond conventional professional boundaries, and attention must be paid to building the capacity of all participants to function in such uncharted territory.

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