community adaptability and spatial agency in the bo-kaap: exploring the benefit of cultural representation by community members in the development process, in order to mitigate displacement sentiments
This project looks at an approach to equitable development in the Bo-Kaap, an inner-city suburb of Cape Town. Cultural education and community development initiatives have been proven to be the main priorities identified by residents as effective tools for community longevity and adaptability. Therefore, the provision of a flexible educational facility is the resultant outcome of this research. This facility is to serve a cultural organisation with credibility in the area. An architectural program and design response has been attained through the analysis of the existing urbanism and spatial character of the area, in order to properly understand how aspects of tangible and intangible heritage are represented through the existing architecture. Though the use of the existing urbanism found there, sympathetic, and appropriate spatial considerations have been made that attempt to position this public building comfortably within the fine grain, allowing for an adaptable but permanent feature to foster community longevity. The Bo-Kaap contains long-standing communities that are being displaced due to the high land value in the suburb, as gentrification gains pace, making living there too expensive for members of the long-standing working-class community. The lifestyle changes brought about by gentrification are an on-going issue that the long-standing community is being confronted with. Muslim and Cape Malay cultural identity is at risk of dissipating as the youth relocate and take their culture and traditions with them. Due to the rapid change of demographics in the Bo-Kaap, and the increasing land value seen there, the area is ripe for high end residential developments to cater to the gentrified class. Community backlash against these building proposals is commonplace, often igniting into violence.