Connecting cities across infrastructural divides Case studies from self-build practices in Tshwane east

Paul Devenish (1) , Denambaye M. Demba (2) , Alexia Katranas (3) , Delani Kriek (4)
(1) PhD candidate & master’s studio supervisor, Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, RSA , South Africa
(2) 2021 Master’s degree graduates, Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, RSA , South Africa
(3) Master’s degree graduate, Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, RSA , South Africa
(4) Master’s degree graduate, Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, RSA , South Africa

Abstract

This paper investigates opportunities to connect divided cities by analysing ways in which occupation practices operate alongside, subvert and potentially transform historic, and presently developing urban infrastructure divisions in Tshwane’s eastern urban region. Through a critical theory lens existing and perpetuating conditions of infrastructural segregation are examined in order to understand scenarios through which built environments, as assemblages, maintain conditions of extreme inequality and power. In this respect, urban spatial research projects, analysing formal and informal settlement patterns are presented. The projects form part of an architecture design lead research studio that focuses on discovering alternative scenarios for urban environments by examining existing infrastructure barriers, and unpacking methods for the transformation of segregative systemic forms. Extracts of the projects are presented as case studies with a focus on areas around Mamelodi east and Moreleta Park in rapidly growing parts of Tshwane. These projects demonstrate conditions through which urban divisions of scarcity are established and constructed along infrastructure development zones in the region. They also raise key spatial questions pertaining to inequality and the role of capital investment in its perpetuation. 


The second part of the project involves socio-spatial methods of mapping self-build situations occurring alongside hard infrastructure zones in the region. The studies focus on the composition of building fabrics that actively attempt to circumvent issues of scarcity and unequal access to material and social infrastructures. Through the establishment of physical interfaces, people form modes of operation despite extreme resource limitations. The project aims to identify alternative ways of reading territorialised urban infrastructure assemblages by examining critical zones of urban occupation. While the examples expose many of the volatile situations that the urban majority experience on a perpetual basis, the primary aim is to reveal - from the everyday – urban spatial emergence and methods of coding and mapping these emergences towards an adaptive, reparative and transformative approach to divided cities.

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Authors

Paul Devenish
paul.devenish@up.ac.za (Primary Contact)
Denambaye M. Demba
Alexia Katranas
Delani Kriek
Devenish, P., Demba, D., Katranas, A., & Kriek, D. (2023). Connecting cities across infrastructural divides: Case studies from self-build practices in Tshwane east. International Journal of Environmental Science & Sustainable Development, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.21625/essd.v7i2.912 (Original work published December 30, 2022)

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