IMAGINING WARWICK JUNCTION PRECINCT’S FUTURE
Media invite by Alan Khan, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology
Following the release of the two books that recorded the past of the Warwick Junction Precinct (WJP) by DUT’s ROCS research project, the University’s Physical Planning Department is now engaged in a long term project focusing on imagining how this space could be developed and planned for the future.
Shedding more light into this matter will be architect Leonard Rosenberg, ROCS (Research Of Curries and Surrounds) research project founder and head of the University’s Physical Planning Department during a seminar to take place on Wednesday March 19, 2014, at the University’s ESBE Boardroom, L3, S4, S Block, ML Sultan. The event will take place from 12:00 noon to 13h30.
“Making sense of the history of the Warwick Junction Precinct has been critical to understanding possible futures for it, including for the DUT City Campus. The research undertaken by the ROCS project has, up until know, focused on the urban history of Durban with an emphasis on the North Western part referred to as the Warwick Junction Precinct. It is within this fascinating and vibrant space that DUT is located. The Physical Planning Department is now engaged in a long term project focusing on imagining how this space could be developed and planned for the future. This imagining will inform the new ‘master plan’ for the DUT campuses. This presentation will provide insight into the multifaceted, complex and contested history of the Warwick Junction Precinct, and will demonstrate how elements of this past are now informing the planning exercise for the DUT master plan,” said Rosenberg.
Rosenberg’s lecture topic is: Past and future: Spatial planning for DUT within a broader city context. The topic aims to deal with the historical research (past) and DUT’s master plan which looks at the future.
“I hope to show how the past has shaped the future and how the research has been integrated into the DUT master plan. DUT should also play a leadership role, but more importantly it makes sense to ‘adopt’ the precinct as a focus area for research by various departments within the University. That’s what the ROCS research project has done, by focusing our research on the precinct and this research helped inform the physical planning aspects at DUT,” said Rosenberg.
Commenting on the role of the Urban Futures Centre (UFC), is a new initiative at DUT, is Professor Monique Marks; Research Professor at DUT’s Engineering and the Built Environment Faculty. The initiative is currently in its foundation stages.
“The UFC is an initiative of Professor Ahmed Bawa, DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal. It is his vision that the UFC will become an internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary hub that serves as the central node for a network of projects, institutions, practitioners and academics interested in the future of cities locally (in Durban and South Africa) and globally”.
“The role of the UFC at DUT also aims to bring together, in an established academic space, knowledge and practitioner networks. The UFC will be a deliberative and practice oriented space for designing (in the broadest sense) cities and urban settlements that are aesthetically pleasing, equitable, humane, resilient, and fit for purpose. In order to achieve this, the UFC at DUT recognises the importance of taking stock of the needs, uncertainties and dreams of the people that occupy city spaces,” she added.
Prof Marks also reiterated that the UFC recognised that to achieve its aims, it was vital to view cities as spaces of flows – flows of information, people, resources, waste and capital.
“Optimising flows of people, resources and information is critical to creating cities that are efficient, accessible, safe, and vibrant. With substantive flows come risks of many different sorts. Managing flows and risks in urban spaces raises questions about city governance arrangements and the governance of transition,” she said.
Note to the Editor
Rosenberg recently published two books on the Warwick Junction Precinct, namely: The Making of Place. The Warwick Junction Precinct, 1870s-1980s and Curries Fountain. Sports, Politics and Identity.
The Making of Place. The Warwick Junction Precinct, 1870s-1980s, by Leonard Rosenberg, Goolam Vahed, Aziz Hassim, Sam Moodley and Kogi Singh focuses on the Warwick Junction precinct and present a part of the city shaped by colonial and apartheid policies. The book traces the establishment and growth of this other “invisible” precinct from the time of the earliest settlement of Indians in Durban in the 1870s through to the 1980s when the apartheid ideology and its structures started to implode.
Curries Fountain. Sports, Politics and Identity, by Leonard Rosenberg, Sam Moodley and Goolam Vahed, is solely dedicated to the history of this iconic sports ground, lavishly illustrated by hundreds of photographs. The history of soccer, cricket, athletics, golf, boxing, cultural events and political activities at this site is located within the political context of the country as a whole, the precinct within which it is located and the changing sporting formations at the time.
All in all, Rosenberg hopes, through the UFC at DUT, to be an action oriented research hub that operates at the highest international standards in thinking about, and shaping, the future of cities such as Durban, and how it could and should look like in the next 50 to 100 years.
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