Lee Burrell

(unSETTLED): Settling Shifting Landscapes for Migrants through Inclusive Social Place-making and Networks of Integrated Infrastructure for Transformative Adaptation


Through the use of eco-tactical urbanism, this qualitative study investigates the narratives surrounding refugees in the informal sector of Cape Town, focusing on a volatile site in Philippi: Samora Machel. The motivation to do this study followed the recent xenophobic attacks and consequential activism in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town in 2019. This study aims to contribute to the limited literature surrounding the spatial implications of xenophobia. The objectives of the study were to identify the causes of intolerances, both spatially and otherwise, and investigate how the informal sector may respond to become a more inclusive and tolerant space for all its people. The findings identified that xenophobia is not rogue events and that the more violent outbursts happen in volatile environments. Consequently, the research looks at retrofitting for resilience in the landscape by creating and strengthening networks across economic, ecological and social realms. The investigation occurs in the residual spaces of the very dense settlement using eco-tactical urbanism at carefully positioned urban acupuncture points. This is all towards creating a cyborg landscape: A landscape which allows for dynamic interactions among infrastructure, ecology, and urbanism across scales, creating complex networks of exchange for a robust and resilient system.