Laurin Paul Rudolf Baumgardt

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Rice U.

Grant number

Gr. 10097

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Baumgardt, Laurin (Rice U.) "Declarations of Home: Housing Developments and Infrastructural Temporalities in Cape Town"

LAUREN BAUMGARDT, then a graduate student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, was awarded funding in April 2021 to aid research on ‘Declarations of Home: Housing Developments and Infrastructural Temporalities in Cape Town,’ supervised by Dr. Cymene Howe. This research project explores the multiple and constantly changing meanings and practices of ‘home-making’ in Cape Town. While Cape Town is one of the most segregated cities in the world, it is also among the most innovative global cities and has been declared ‘the first African World Design Capital.’ This project examines the ways people cope with, and react to, the rise of housing demands and new infrastructural requirements in an era of intersecting crises, scarce urban land, and continuous socio-spatial segregations. Drawing upon anthropological literatures of development, infrastructure, design and housing, this research asks two interrelated questions: how do resident communities, design professionals, as well as government initiatives seek new solutions to mass-scale housing and infrastructure demands? And how might residents turn the provision of basic service infrastructure and housing development into a sense of home and urban belonging? Researching the economic, social, and affective investments of both residents and professionals, this project will help to surface core values associated with new urban housing solutions. Extended field research will be critical to understanding residents’ limits and opportunities for economic stability and urban belonging through their efforts and persistent claims for affordable housing and infrastructural development.