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Who

STAKEHOLDERS

One of the basic questions in the architecture process is always who am I going to design it for.. Who is the end user.. Who else will be affected by it.. Who is engaged in the whole process and how? Holistic approach towards the new piece of  architecture, in other words towards the project, implies the need for the process of identifying stakeholders who both affect or/and are affected by the project implemen-
tation. This gives possibility to find out what their needs are and effectively address them.

Who are then the stakeholders:
In general terms they are individuals, informal and formal groups who have any sort of impact on the project. Chart on the left represents the stakeholders’ analysis for the low cost housing project being at the centre of this research paper. The stakeholder analysis in the first place is employed to identify key elements important for the project’s execution:

• What is stakeholders’ interest
• How stakeholders can influence the project
• What are potential obstacles and risks

The main goal of direct stakeholders – individual families and small local communities
– is to have good quality, affordable housing. Indirect stakeholders, besides the main goal, might be interested in the whole spectrum of aspects such as potential infrastructure development, inflow of new clients, creation of new jobs, improvement of deprived neighbourhoods, lower criminality rate, higher literacy rate etc.

As assumed from the very beginning of the project, both direct and indirect stakeholders should have a major impact on how the project will be executed.
The core idea is that all interested parties will be actively involved in production of the materials (hemp farming and and later factory production), building of housing units and further export of the business model beyond the original building site.

Keeping this in mind, one should not forget about potential risks and threats associated with the project. First of all, there is a risk that assumptions used in the
project are incorrect – lack of detailed knowledge, for example, about the land ownership in the Mamelodi region might jeopardize the whole endeavour. Lack of
infrastructure might be also a serious problem while trying to execute the project. Another obstacle might be related to whether or not local community is actually willing to and capable of actively participating in the project. Shack dwellers who have endured almost two decades of democratic rule in South Africa without decent housing are also disappointed with the government’s actions and point at corruption as a prevailing problem.


SYMBOLISM IN SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s highlands are home of Ndebele people, who traditionally ornament their houses with geometrical, abstract shapes in bright colours. These painted
exterior and interior of the house is not meant to serve aesthetic purposes only – it is more a sign of personal skills and abilities as well as communities’ resistance to the colonist powers. Painters, who are mostly women, do not receive any formal training. Knowledge about different techniques, colours, materials and skills needed to finish
paintings are passed on from one generation to the other [Crouch & Johnson, 2001]. The painters use abstract shapes to express their resistance. During apartheid times the government’s aim was to maximally control public opinion thus many painters and artists responded with resistance actions such as using black, green and yellow, the traditional South African colours to decorate their houses. These colours were used by the African National Congress – main political arm of the black resistance to apartheid movement. Symbols of resistance were visible to everyone but the government was left puzzled how to counteract it – should they arrest a house...

As shown on the photographs, patterns are concentrated on the front of the building – the centrepiece of the composition. Traditionally motives consist of abstract shapes, however with the changing techniques nowadays motives also include images such as “razor blades, airplanes, light bulbs, and the architecture of the white towns with their two-story houses, swimming pools, and the like” [Crouch & Johnson, 2001, p313]. Ndebele painters derive their motives from tradition, cultural situation, local politics and express in a non-verbal statements their understanding of the world.