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Reclaim the City: The Infrastructure of [Counter] Citizenship
Cape Town, South Africa
Seven hundred activists who have been struggling with the threat of evictions and homelessness have occupied Cape Town’s old Woodstock Hospital, transforming it into an inner city home. This proposal moves away from the “supply and demand” housing model, aiming to understand intervention as vehicle for knowledge transfer to create an organic system that enables knowledge building, for adaptation, over time. Such a system brings to question the very role of the architect, interrogating whether the profession has the capacity to meaningfully engage with complex socio-spatial issues, and by doing so, reshape itself? The proposed interventions build community capacity for negotiation, design and self-building, addressing design ambitions unveiled through participatory process. This process fosters skill from within the community, supporting a new generation of “specialists” who grow out of these communities, developing much needed, deep expertise, and a set of tools that can be applied to similar circumstance across the city.