Youth Workshops in Vukuzenzele
image November, 2016 Uncategorized

Nick Talbot on behalf of People’s Environmental Planning.

 

Over the last 5 years PEP has provided socio-technical support to the residents of Vukuzenzele in order to facilitate the transfer of title of 236 houses to their respective owners. This was achieved through a close working relationship with the local committee and community.

With nearly 18 years passing since construction first commenced in Vukuzenzele, a new generation of residents is now reaching maturity. This younger demographic are rapidly becoming relied upon as active contributors to the community, and will imminently need their own living space. With this in mind, PEP embarked on a pilot workshop program to capacitate the youth of Vukuzenzele so that they could make well-informed decisions about their future housing arrangements and grow into their roles as responsible community members.

The workshops were intricately designed to be responsive to the local context of Vukuzenzele, while simultaneously broadening the participants’ awareness of different housing typologies and community issues throughout the broader Cape region. This included a minibus trip, which provided visuals and a real experience of all of the topics discussed throughout the program.

The age range targeted was 16-21 years old, with strong attendance throughout the whole six weeks. The pilot had a strong emphasis on engaging the youth through participatory, interactive and gamified methods. Therefore, rather than being prescriptive, the content and succession of the workshops was continually adapted to address emerging desires or technical complexities experienced by participants. In this way, a great depth of conceptual and technical learning was achieved. The students will be presenting what they have learnt to the local community as part of an open workshop, and will receive a certificate for successful completion of the program.

At the time of writing, it is not possible to say what effect the increased capacity will have on the community of Vukuzenzele, or how useful the new information will be when deciding upon their personal housing arrangements. However, a noticeable change in attitudes and understanding has been well documented in various forms of media, and the youth group are keen for workshops to be held in future to expand upon certain issues.

Local content to drive the workshops was collected at the beginning of the program by the youth in photographic and video format during a walk around the neighbourhood.
Local content to drive the workshops was collected at the beginning of the program by the youth in photographic and video format during a walk around the neighbourhood.
Vukuzenzele is home to multiple single and double-storey typologies, with many showcasing personal upgrades and extensions since completion of the original development.
Vukuzenzele is home to multiple single and double-storey typologies, with many showcasing personal upgrades and extensions since completion of the original development.
Litter appeared to be a sensitive issue, with many of the youth being highly critical of its presence in Vukuzenzele. This provoked discussions about the social influences which contribute to its existence, as well as the lack of infrastructure.
Litter appeared to be a sensitive issue, with many of the youth being highly critical of its presence in Vukuzenzele. This provoked discussions about the social influences which contribute to its existence, as well as the lack of infrastructure.

The girls demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the shortage of gender equal public space. Especially the lack of a netball court, as the communal field is used for men’s football matches at most times.

The girls demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the shortage of gender equal public space. Especially the lack of a netball court, as the communal field is used for men’s football matches at most times.

The local park serves many of the younger children in the area. It has a circle, a see-saw and some benches, but the youth of Vukuzenzele believed that the site could become so much more. However when asked what actions they would take themselves, it appeared the lack of funds and the threat of vandalism or theft stifled enthusiasm. Nevertheless the frustration of delays in waiting for government to act inspired conversations about low-cost options such as painting hop scotch onto the tarmac.
The local park serves many of the younger children in the area. It has a circle, a see-saw and some benches, but the youth of Vukuzenzele believed that the site could become so much more. However when asked what actions they would take themselves, it appeared the lack of funds and the threat of vandalism or theft stifled enthusiasm. Nevertheless the frustration of delays in waiting for government to act inspired conversations about low-cost options such as painting hop scotch onto the tarmac.
Nick demonstrating how overgrown grass and litter results in the loss of valuable land space, as well as a physical and social devaluation of the neighbourhood.
Nick demonstrating how overgrown grass and litter results in the loss of valuable land space, as well as a physical and social devaluation of the neighbourhood.
By collating information about transportation methods used, and preferred housing typologies, the group learned horizontally as well as from the facilitator’s materials.
By collating information about transportation methods used, and preferred housing typologies, the group learned horizontally as well as from the facilitator’s materials.
“Our Workshop” – The Maker Library @ 75 Harrington Street created the perfect space for the participants of the program to explore the physical properties of materials, as well as participate in model making activities.
“Our Workshop” – The Maker Library @ 75 Harrington Street created the perfect space for the participants of the program to explore the physical properties of materials, as well as participate in model making activities.
Here, a local Architect/Artist and guest facilitator – Heath Nash - leads a session which aims to explain construction and material properties through play with plaster of paris, wire, clay, toothpicks and polystyrene blocks.
Here, a local Architect/Artist and guest facilitator – Heath Nash – leads a session which aims to explain construction and material properties through play with plaster of paris, wire, clay, toothpicks and polystyrene blocks.
Siphelele testing the strength of a slab. Insights from this session included the advantages and drawbacks of cast and cured materials such as concrete, as well as more modular construction methods such as brick-builds and timber or steel frames.
Siphelele testing the strength of a slab. Insights from this session included the advantages and drawbacks of cast and cured materials such as concrete, as well as more modular construction methods such as brick-builds and timber or steel frames.
The “Our Workshop” experience also provided the participants with recreation time to explore the materials for themselves.
The “Our Workshop” experience also provided the participants with recreation time to explore the materials for themselves.
Drawing upon all of the information received throughout the program, a “Play the City” style game was tailor-made for the youth of Vukuzenzele. However, rather than centring around physical outputs on a board, the focus was on creating empathy and understanding for the various actors involved in infrastructure and housing provision, as well as the need for active personal involvement and co-operation in order to sustain a healthy and thriving community..
Drawing upon all of the information received throughout the program, a “Play the City” style game was tailor-made for the youth of Vukuzenzele. However, rather than centring around physical outputs on a board, the focus was on creating empathy and understanding for the various actors involved in infrastructure and housing provision, as well as the need for active personal involvement and co-operation in order to sustain a healthy and thriving community.
The turn-based game stimulated a deep level of conceptual thinking and consideration of real-life constraints and outcomes. This allowed the youth to demonstrate what they had learnt over the course of the program. When compared to the earlier workshops, the complexity of the discussions held showed a great amount of growth, as well as a mature appreciation for the roles, motivations and relationships between multiple stakeholders.
The turn-based game stimulated a deep level of conceptual thinking and consideration of real-life constraints and outcomes. This allowed the youth to demonstrate what they had learnt over the course of the program. When compared to the earlier workshops, the complexity of the discussions held showed a great amount of growth, as well as a mature appreciation for the roles, motivations and relationships between multiple stakeholders.
Some of the members of the Vukuzenzele youth do their best to look cool after a hot day on the trip! The tour included locations in Nyanga which were easily accessible and of high value to the community, a visualisation of the planned separation of Philippi from the city, and a journey along Main Road to see the transition from urban residential, to urban commercial and finally the CBD. The youth also enjoyed walking tours in Woodstock and Bo-Kaap, documenting their thoughts along the way.
Some of the members of the Vukuzenzele youth do their best to look cool after a hot day on the trip! The tour included locations in Nyanga which were easily accessible and of high value to the community, a visualisation of the planned separation of Philippi from the city, and a journey along Main Road to see the transition from urban residential, to urban commercial and finally the CBD. The youth also enjoyed walking tours in Woodstock and Bo-Kaap, documenting their thoughts along the way.