Urban estuary: a commentary on diasporic Johannesburg defining an architecture of connection for the transient communities of Yeoville

Valasis, Peter
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This paper explores the contradictions and complexities of the themes Diaspora, Sanctuary and Estuary. Diaspora has historically referred to people and communities who have been displaced from their native, shared homeland through movement as a result of migration, immigration, or exile. African Diaspora tells the story of displacement throughout the continent and how Africans managed to retain their traditions and restructure their identities in a western dominated world and modern urban city. Through this paper I will explore how these diasporic communities maintained a sense of belonging through the notion of sanctuaries. Where these communities and sanctuaries overlap and, much like natural estuaries, how these interactions create uniquely dynamic systems. I will address themes within the urban context of Johannesburg and their influence on the nature space. It concludes by addressing the need for a new form of accommodation in response to the transient communities and fluid nature of the city. Key words: Diaspora, Sanctuary, Estuary, Transience, Accommodation.