Urban graft: restorative urban gardens and social justice hub in King's Park Bloemfontein
The concept of social justice is understood as a fair relationship between the individual and society, measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges (Kitching 2001: 3-10). The central precinct of Bloemfontein, King's Park, does not adhere to these general measurements and is in a state of decay. The site has lost its significance as an integral part of the city over time. Historically the interpretation of these aspects can be viewed as the public Zoo and Rose Garden. This has come to be an outdated iteration, because the use of cages has become a socially questionable practice that is viewed as inhumane and cruel to its inhabitants. This dissertation aims to introduce a contemporary interpretation of nature within the city in a more contemporary, updated and socially acceptable manner. Through the use of public gardens accompanied by a programme of facilities that caters to the general public, the project offers a lost part of the city back to the public. The park's derelict state is in dire need of conversion of a semi-exclusive space to an inclusive public space. This will be achieved by using the four social justice aspects in conjunction with a social hub to re-integrate the contemporary re-interpretation into the site of King's Park. The result will be an effective and appropriate ensemble that aims to reflect the justification of its social status. By transforming the site into a structure of service to the community, it will relate to the public. This intervention should function as a graft where the existing park is the original 'plant' and the design proposal is a shoot or twig acting as a graft for new urban growth.