Bubbles of Exclusivity: Bursting the bubble around private development in uMhlanga, Durban

Master Thesis


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All around the world, cities are making a move towards a more inclusive city, while smaller towns like uMhlanga, Durban are speeding into the world of exclusion. Durban itself continues to be developed along the lines of exclusion, with the previously racially motivated segregation being supplanted by economic division. The road infrastructure which consists of major arterial routes has alienated and separated the very development sectors that they are meant to link. Large-scale private developments are emerging at a rapid rate, further dividing the town into these bubbles which do not interact with one another. The reliance on private investment and development has resulted in developers having the power to decide who is included and who is not. Government and municipal leaders are buying into these developments as promises of pushing the economy upwards are their biggest priority. In contrast, developments of these exclusive natures should not be considered at all. The design component of this research aims firstly, to identify the effects of a specific development on a context and identify the levels of exclusion present. Secondly, to achieve a connection between the different areas within the neighbourhood that currently operate in isolation. Thirdly, to explore how the site could be used otherwise, and how taking a more inclusive approach to design can result in a more suitable and accessible space for a larger group of users. There is a dire need for collaboration between the private sector and the public sector to tackle issues facing our cities and communities. The increase in urbanisation has opened a door for the private sector to help address the challenges of rapid urbanisation through partnering with different levels of government, communities, and academia to develop and deliver sustainable urban developments in our cities.