Architecture partnership for a public space in Monwabisi Park

14 June 2011 | Story by Newsroom

panel signingBuilding Africa: Attending the signing were (top, from left) Piet Barnard and Dr Robert Morrell of UCT, and (front, from left) Monwabisi Park representative, Ntombiyakhe Zepe; SUN representative, Dr Kathryn Ewing; and research project team leader, Dr Tom Sanya.

Design and Making Through Community Participation is a new collaboration between researchers in UCT's School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, SUN (Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood) Development and the Monwabisi Park community, Khayelitsha, to execute participatory design and construction of a public space in the area.

"We aim to investigate design as a way of knowing," said UCT research team representative, Dr Tom Sanya, at the official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 31 May. "One of our main objectives is to make a contribution to global understanding of design knowledge with our unique African circumstances as a point of departure."

Funded by the Carnegie Corporation through the UCT Research Office's Programme for the Enhancement of Research Capacity (PERC), the project is an avenue for proactive Afropolitanism, where, simultaneous with fulfilling the above academic aims, a local community, in this case, the informal settlement of Monwabisi Park in Khayelitsha, will benefit from a design and build project.

The MoU makes this possible by giving UCT researchers access to the community and the possibility to tap into the extensive urban planning and design work that has been undertaken by SUN in the area.

"This is an important moment for our programme", said PERC co-ordinator, Dr Robert Morrell. "The agreement brings UCT together with a community organisation to look at a new way of looking at social issues in developing Africa."

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