Covid-19 CA+HR architecture task team
I write in my capacity as director of the UIA, work programme, Community Architecture and Human Rights, CA+HR.
We are in the process of forming an architectural CA+HR task team, volunteer based, that could assist with efforts relating to the Covid-19 crisis in my country, South Africa, following President Ramaphosa’s announcement for a countrywide 21-day lockdown period, which commenced on midnight, Thursday 26th March 2020.
We believe that architects have a unique skills set that could benefit our country during this time of crisis. We recognise that better planning and spatial management of the relief efforts must be put in place if we are to have the intended outcomes of saving as many lives as possible. We are calling on all architects and practices to come forward and support. We will be working closely with the National Department of Health and possibly limit inputs to remote advice and services.
The will of government, together with the support of private sector is imperative. While make shift testing centres are being explored in various locations, government looks towards using existing infrastructure to manage the demand that will soon be upon us. This approach could be fatal, as it is almost impossible to retro-fit existing buildings with the required closed drainage / water system to prevent contamination of neighbouring infrastructure. Learning from the hospitals designed in West Africa for the treatment of Ebola patients (2013-2016) and the hospitals built in China, Wuhan for the treatment of the Covid-19 patients, the approach to place field hospitals in green field sites where all-inclusive systems could be designed for the buildings, is a sound one. Water and sanitation systems are one of the critical measures of controlling cross-infection and the spread of disease. Sustainable technology innovative systems must be considered in the design of these field hospitals.
The City of Johannesburg, Department of Health has been in the forefront of bringing quality healthcare to the people. In the design of the prototype model clinic, which I lead, in 2011/2012, the considerations of lowering cross-infection and controlling the flow of people, was researched, tested and improved upon. The design of primary healthcare facilities in the city, many of which my own practice has been involved in, has proven highly effective, with isolation rooms offering protection for other patients from potentially Covid-19 infected persons. These primary healthcare facilities work even in these conditions, primarily because of the successful cohorting of patients.
Possibly the most pressing problem facing the success of the lockdown and, by extension flattening the curve, is how to deal with homeless people. The planning of human flows a critical aspect which seems to have been overlooked. In Tshwane we’ve seen metro police and SAPS rounding up these people and dumping them at stadiums. In Johannesburg the city is urgently trying to prepare a number of unused buildings to house these people but, the preparation of buildings for this purpose usually takes months. The first thing to note is that these facilities, especially stadiums, are not equipped to house people. NGO’s familiar in dealing with displaced people have pointed out the failures to cater for water points per capita, proper sanitation, physical distancing, etc.
Added to this is the fact that homeless people are in and of themselves a complicated and diverse group of people. Some are drug addicts that cannot simply be carolled but need support. The same can be said of the many mentally challenged people who habitually roam the streets of our cities. Many of the people who were gathered in the initial swoop at the start of the lockdown have returned to the streets with many complaining about the facilities or lack thereof and the shortage of basic foodstuffs.
We hope to work together with both the public and private sector and are willing to advise on all spatial / planning matters and concerns.
I feel it is vital to give the architectural profession a voice during this pandemic, to make a real difference in saving lives now and hopefully beyond.
CALL FOR PAPERS: UIA Community Architecture and Human Rights_CA+HR
By 2030, two thirds of the world's population will live in cities. Projections show that there will be 41 mega cities with more than 10 million inhabitants. Tokyo will remain the world's largest city with 37 million inhabitants followed by Delhi with a population of 36 million. Community Architecture & Human Rights is a key driver in working towards sustainable environments and sustainable city spatial planning.
How can architecture play a role in influencing policy to guide sustainable urbanisation, while ensuring the human dignity of the communities it serves and bringing in effect spatial justice?
The UIA CA+HR work program is announcing a "Call to papers!" for any individuals or organisations that wish to contribute to the conversation. CA+HR will be represented in Baku to address this question, and host two conferences in Johannesburg and Hong Kong later this year, with dedicated events leading up to the RIO 2020 UIA world congress, following which a report will be produced on the work that has been done for the duration of the program.
We welcome contributions from researchers, students and practitioners dealing with these issues in the field.
19 July 2020
UIA World Congress
RIO DE JANEIRO
ABOUT THE EVENTS /
What we do
The UIA Community Architecture Programme is dedicated to advancing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a particular emphasis on Goal 11: Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. With current estimations stating that by 2030, two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, it is essential that urban environments develop in harmony with the UN guiding principles. This Work Programme aims to ensure that Architects are mindful of the Sustainable Development Goals in all the projects that they undertake.
How we do it
Information sharing – The Programme implements conferences, discussions and written output about the architect’s role in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.
Expert counsel – The Programme is continually collating policy directives and best practice examples for consultation by the architectural community and distribution to legislative bodies.
Raising awareness – The Programme organises visits and events in developing communities.
Who we work with
Architects, urban planners, policy makers, and sustainable development organisations.
International Union of Architects
South African Institute of Architects
Hong Kong Institute of Architects
Gauteng Institute for Architecture
WHAT WE WANT
Papers, Conferences & Discussions
Create Policy & Best Practice
Township visits and Events
Raise Public Awareness
Action Programs for UN Goal 11
RIO 2020 Congress Report
THE PEOPLE /
NADIA TROMP SOUTH AFRICA
TRISH EMMETT SOUTH AFRICA
KEVIN BINGHAM SOUTH AFRICA
SHIRLEY ADIV ISRAËL
SANNY GOLDMAN ISRAËL
SIMON HUI HONG KONG
JOSEPH KWAN HONG KONG
NINOSTHKA HUDSON FERNANDEZ COLOMBIA
DIEGO ZOPPI ITALY
The human beings responsible for collaborating and coordinating this work program.
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