Building Nurture: Care and Protection of the Growing through the Built Environment

Master Thesis


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South Africa's tumultuous and oppressive past has given rise to a ubiquitous inequality in the country. This inequality has manifested itself in disparate access to essential needs including but not limited to adequate housing, education, sanitation, job opportunities and child care amongst others. Limited access to the aforementioned, on top of the exponential growth of South Africa's population, has left many in extremely undesirable living conditions and immense poverty. These ubiquitous issues have not gone unnoticed and there have been many attempts to better these conditions through a top-down approach – for example, provision of housing and affirmative action through employment opportunities. However, what these topdown approaches fail to tackle is the problems at their conception. The betterment of the country lies in the nurturing of its growing communities, especially its youth. Nurturance as an attempt to care and protect that which is growing both at the community and individual scale. This project aims to find a way in which to achieve nurturance through the built environment and tests ideas of integrative design that protects and cares for the growing impoverished population and the children that are born into it through physical intervention. It will be an attempt to lift people out of the cycle of poverty at its root through empowerment of both impoverished communities and the children born into them. This intervention will be designed and tested in the community of Vrygrond, one of the Western Cape's oldest informal settlements, which is a prime example of a continuously growing settlement with a very large young population. The site is located in the nucleus of the settlement as a symbolic embedding of a child-centred programme into the informal urban environment. This acknowledges the imperative need for child-centred spaces by weaving it into the pre-existing built fabric.