URBAN FUTURE CENTRE [UFC]
The Urban Futures Centre at DUT, established in 2014, is based in the Fculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. The UFC@DUT is an interdisciplinary laboratory that not only builds theory, but also tests out ideas and interventions in ways that are not prescribed and determined by dominant stakeholders, be they government officials, academics or large social movements. The UFC@DUT seeks to find new solutions to problems, and to do so in collaboration with those most affected by the complexities that characterise urban spaces. The UFC@DUT serves as the central node for a network of projects, institutions, practitioners and academics interested in the future of cities locally (in Durban and South Africa) and globally. It currently houses a set of local and international research collaboration projects, including two community engagement projects.
The Urban Futures Centre runs and co-ordinates the following projects:
Pathways into and out of Street-Level Drug Use
Kenneth Gardens Community Project
Narrarives of home and neighbourhood
City without walls
The projects run by UFC@DUT are research intensive as they often involve action research methods to develop a firm grasp of the dynamics and complexities that characterise and constitute the social challenges tackled. As a result, the projects translate into tangible differences that benefit the communities and stakeholders concerned.
The Street level Drug Use Project for instance is attempting to tackle “Whoonga” (a drug cocktail of herioin, cannabis and other and other substances) addiction through opiates substitution therapy as a demonstration project. It is aimed at convincing health officials and authorities that opiates substituion a therapy can be effective in tackling “Whoonga” addiction.
The Kenneth Gardens Community Project is a joint DUT/Community partnership that focuses on the Kenneth Gardens estate, Durban’s largest municipal subsidised low-cost housing estate. The project has both research and community engagement components, and sees these components as integral to each other rather than as separate spheres of interaction. The primary research components include a 3 year Oral History project that will culminate in a book titled: Voices of Resilience: A Living History of the Kenneth Gardens Municipal Housing Estate in Durban South Africa. Research projects also include evaluation on engagement activities as well as a range of smaller research projects on various aspects of the community life such as youth narratives and Health. The established engagement projects include a free homeopathic and food nutrition clinic run every Wednesday in the estate, as well as capoeira, dance and digital media programmes for younger residents and youth.
To find out more about this project download our CASE FOR SUPPORT booklet.