Locating contradictory architectural imperatives: appropriation and subversion in the urban field
Reynders, Hendrik Jurie
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This thesis investigates the value of locating contradictory architectural imperatives when attempting to understand the nature of uneven development in the urban field. The thesis is an attempt at establishing seemingly necessary, yet conflicting mandates in a more revolutionary architectural praxis in support of citizen infrastructure and social equality. Argued through issues related to ownership and subversion in contexts where tracts of urban space are sometimes taken over or appropriated by otherwise marginal groups, and as evident in informal settlements, by re-adapting civic symbols and in building as a form of protest or re-alignment. This is visible in most contested territories, along borders and in the temporal occupation of space. The thesis is supported through empirical investigations in a number of such sites in South Africa where these tactics are increasingly becoming controlled and institutionalized ‑ while at same time exposing new forms of social awareness, a growing autonomous resistance from still marginalised groups and pointing towards innovative spatial formations.