University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad; Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad


Our project takes place in Motherwell, a former township and suburb located 20 km from the city centre of Port Elizabeth in the metropolitan area that constitute Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. Motherwell Township was planned and built during the 1980s as an isolated residential area for black people. The location and the segregated physical structure within the area was a result of apartheid politics. Today the area is flat and featureless with a number of sites, for example school sites, which remain undeveloped resulting in very low density. Density in the area must be increased to create a critical mass and make it possible to provide public facilities and transportations. Our main focus has been to develop proposals in order to increase density,improve accessibility within the area and to surroundings,improve the conditions for pedestrians and create well defined usable public spaces. Information about the planning conditions was gathered during our three months stay in Port Elizabeth, through municipal documents and inventory of the project area. As a theoretical background and analyse methods we used, the City Structure analysis by Kevin Lynch, a Space syntax analysis provided by the municipality and the book “Life between buildings- Using Public Space” by Jan Gehl. Our inventory and the theoretical background led to the formulation of three guiding principles for our proposals; densification, accessibility and public space for public use. The proposal is made at two levels, an overall structure of land use and detailed proposals of high density residential and development of nodes-local centres. In the overall structure we propose a grid structure on the vacant land next to Motherwell Town Centre which will be a dense area; primarily for residential purposes, but public functions will also be integrated in the area. To densify the Neighbourhood Units we propose; infill housing on undeveloped school sites and public places, and multilevel houses with mixed use in local centres- nodes. New pedestrian links and design interventions on streets in the existing residential area connected to the new part will lead to a higher accessibility and a more pleasant street environment. Improvements in the overall structure of public space are suggested through developing existing spaces and adding several new ones within the new residential area. Some of these will be connected to “Green links”, which are pedestrian and bicycle lanes planned to function not only for transportation, they also aim to fulfil recreational purposes. A structure of high density blocks with dwellings, public space and facilities and design principles for a node- local centre with mixed use are presented in our individual parts of the project. A proposal of high density residential is made by Karin Telldén and proposals for nodes- local centres are made by Ulrika Hellsten.

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