Athenkosi Maqubela

Soft Infrastructure: Khayelitsha Wetland Transformation Through the Lens of Sound Ecology

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Abstract

In the ever increasing global epidemic of dilapidated mental health, society seeks more and more ways to reconnect with the natural environment. The natural environment however provides more than reviving the human spirit through aesthetic pleasure and spiritual upliftment but also multi-functioning ecosystem services as well as its own ecological systems that sustain itself that are paramount to all earthly survival. The City of Cape Town with its water scarcity scare in 2018 has put massive attention on consciously interacting with this valuable resource, water. Peripheral communities in Cape Town, however, fall short in enjoying leisure recreational activities that encourage both physical and economic well-being the natural environment could provide because of their urban narrative and lack of adequate infrastructure that should encourage a balanced hydrological lifestyle. Water flows in rhythms and amplifies during certain seasons, it is a common denominator and occurrence of hydrological landscapes. And so is sound, a commonly overlooked key attribute to environmental and individualistic urban health. Through the lens of sound ecology and the key narrative of urban marginalized dwellers, I seek to explore what is well-being in the context of an informal settlement (Khayelitsha) in relation to water and the impact sound ecology has on the human psyche. I aim to design a solution that embodies both interconnected circulating systems in a healthy manner to enhance the surrounding human experience through the discipline of landscape architecture.

Watch this space for more updates on this project (coming end of January 2022)!