Exploring Urban Change Through Virtual Networks and Climatic Databases

In the majority of third world countries, specifically in South Africa, people are living in extreme climatic conditions. Temperatures varies from -3 º to 45 º. People have limited financial means to build sustainable structures as well as limited knowledge or exposure to building techniques. As a result, cities are rapidly developing into unsustainable entities. A large percentage of the public have to build their own structures which are substandard and don’t comply to justifiable living conditions. On the contrary, South Africa’s internet network is on a first world level and I would like to use this platform to educate people on the above issues. With a new digital language; mobile applications, knowledge can be shared much quicker in order to transforms basic services such as education and climatic issues within the built environment

My idea is to develop a mobile app based on scientific research criteria to educate the self-builder to improve the quality of the structures in which they live. The goal of the app is to generate a building solution that takes into account the local conditions and materials. The app will be facilitating-manual to instruct the user how to apply and use the materials in various climatic conditions within South Africa. Furthermore, the app will aim to explore how materials can be reconfigured to achieve the best thermal comfort.

In essence, the app will work as a kit of parts that suggests to the user which combinations will achieve the best possible solution financially too. Through this app, the hope is for the urban form and fabric to change through the hands of the people and not only professionals.

Mentors: Jakob Merk, Vu Hoang

Petru Du Toit – South Africa

Petru Du Toit – South Africa

Petru completed her Bachelors and Master Degree in Architecture at the University of the Free State, South Africa in 2016. She has worked as a Junior architect for KOOP Design and dhk Architects where the focus of the projects were largely driven by sustainability. She is particularly interested in 21st century online networks and platforms as a way of knowledge sharing to influence the built forms of a city.