In this theme, researchers and designers involved in the DSD DESIS Lab and partner organisations explore a variety of aspects related to spatial and activity design.

Primary objectives of SADUAC include:

  • To better understand the notion of an afro-centric production of space/place and the subsequent enabling of related activities and environments through meaningful design interventions.
  • The investigate the tension between spatial design and its affect on activity and the reciprocal relationship between human activity and its influence on spatial considerations.
  • Establish modes of ethical collaboration to ensure meaningful collaborations that address issues of systemic structural inequality.

Projects included under this theme generally relate to

  • Spatial design- including concepts from disciplines such as as Architecture, Urban Design and Placemaking as a shared discipline of design practice.
  • Activity Design- including concepts from disciplines as diverse Interaction Design, Information Architecture, Industrial Design, and Wayfinding.

While at times certain projects may focus on particular disciplinary practice the intention of the Research theme is to explore a closer integration and blending of concepts and practices related across the individual disciplines through the lens of collaboration.

We see the cohesive integration of these fields particularly aligned in terms of a shared human-centric philosophy operating in the realities of situated socio-practice, and relevant related participatory modes of engagement with collaborating communities.

Current and planned projects include:

Mai Mai Project

A multi-disciplinary project focused on the Mai Mai Traditional African Market and surrounding hubs such as the Zulu Men’s Hostel in the inner-city of Johannesburg.  Participants in this project will include members with architectural, urbanist and interaction design backgrounds. This project is currently in the planning phase and it is expected that initial research activities will begin in late 2017.

Rhodes Park Library Project

This Masters project explores how libraries in Johannesburg, which are often fairly old fashioned or understaffed could better serve the needs of surrounding communities. Typically, suburban libraries were built to serve the needs of the white minority under apartheid. While the communities around the libraries have changed and are often largely Black African, the library services have often not. Thus the problem emerges that the libraries which store a wealth of information are surrounded by communities that cannot access the information inside. This project looks at a particular user group of small scale farmers and explores how digital technology could potentially facilitate the accessibility of the farmers to the information within the Library

ICRC Support

Occupied buildings in inner city Johannesburg and the technical design support required to support such a group of people (links to Mai Mai and JHB South)