Urban Oasis: Youth development centre in Berea/Doornfontein

Lemaire, Marc Jean Philippe
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Many cities in the world have issues regarding street children and the mere fact that there are too many homeless children within them makes it difficult to eradicate the problem. These street children, or ‘detached youth’ are dwelling on the streets for numerous reasons, often specific to any individual child, ranging from domestic violence through to a low socio‐economic status. There are institutions that aim to assist these children by providing food, bedding, clothing and shelter; however many children feel that these provisions are not adequate in offering sufficient comfort in their lives. This document will delve into the history of Berea/Doornfontein to ascertain the cycle of poverty commencing from the formation of these suburbs, while a thorough understanding of psychological development throughout childhood will be covered to support the argument for a new type of solution to the rising problem: ‘An architectural solution that caters for the detached youth; providing social and psychological development across diverse age groups’ The implementation of varied programming into the building, with sufficient professional or adult supervision will cater for children that are on the streets for any given amount of time. The purpose of the architecture is to allow a mediation between the detached youth and members of the surrounding social context through recreational, emotional and vocational programs so that the detached youth can be sewn into the social fabric.