Welcome to the School of Built Environment and Development Studies

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies provides answers to some of the long-held questions regarding the relationship between the construction of physical infrastructure and the people who either have to use the infrastructure, or live in and around it locally and internationally. It is appropriately placed to work with both the national and local government in promoting the synergistic relationship between the built environment and social, economic, cultural, political and environmental development.

UKZN recently engaged in a reconfiguration exercise which gave birth to the College model. Within the College of Humanities, the School of Built Environment and Development Studies was formed. It is one of six Schools in the College and comprises three former Schools: Architecture; Planning and Housing; and Community Development and Development Studies. It is fully operational on the Howard College campus.

The School offers mostly non-applied or professional programmes and many of the modules serve as popular service subjects for other programmes within the College. The School of Built Environment and Development Studies boasts an experienced, balanced and high caliber group of academic staff who are experts in their fields and committed to their students.

Centres within the School


Professor Betty Mubangizi

Welcome to the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS). It’s my pleasure to be leading a School that has had many accomplishments and to be working with a highly capable team of Academic Leaders and staff members.  Our School is uniquely positioned to foster research, scholarship and community engagement through the creative and intellectual drive of our staff and students.

The School of BEDS is home to the disciplines of Architecture, Housing and Planning all of which comprise the Built Environment cluster.  It is also home to the disciplines of Community Development, Population Studies and Development Studies. The synergistic and interrelated nature of these disciplines enhances our School’s ability to provide the critical mass that responds to the challenges of underdevelopment in our communities, country, region and continent at large.

We are acutely aware that the multiplicity of socio-economic problems confronting society requires new and innovative approaches to development, policy formulation and implementation. The academic discourse of our programmes explores constructs of the built environment, society and the indisputable relationship between the two. The programmes we offer interrogate some of the long-held views on the relationship between the construction of physical infrastructure and the people who make use of it, live in it, within it and around it.  We attempt to understand how elements of the built environment need to come together in a manner that drives sustainable growth of cities, towns and rural settings. 

To this end, in the discipline of Community Development, we develop analytical skills for understanding the contexts of development programs as well as practical skills for the formulation, resourcing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of   community development projects. Graduates from the Community Development discipline acquire expertise to design and lead creative, effective and culturally-sensitive processes of responding to the twin challenge of poverty and disempowerment.

The discipline of Development Studies provides insights into the processes involved in overcoming poverty and creating healthy, wealthy and sustainable societies.  Our Development Studies graduates obtain high quality academic training in using contemporary theory to understand the processes, policy and practice of sustainable development.

In Population Studies our graduates develop awareness of human populations in relation to their size, composition and geographical distribution; the changes which occur in these over time; the factors associated with these changes and their inter-relationship with the natural, institutional and built environment. Population studies are important in development planning. Graduates of Population Studies are able to systematically identify population-related factors and strategies so as to allow development planners address pertinent issues in various sectors of the economy.      

Town and Regional Planning focuses on improving the living, leisure and working environments and conditions of people. Town and regional planners do so by estimating future needs of settlements including housing, business, industrial sites, public facilities and open spaces so as to meet the needs of growing populations of our towns and cities. Such ever increasing populations lead to rapid urbanization. Studying Housing enables our graduates to play an important role in the development of affordable housing as well as effective and efficient infrastructure while conserving historical and natural environments.

Finally, the study of Architecture encompasses planning, designing and constructing form, space and the built environment to reflect functional, technical, social, environmental and aesthetic considerations. The guiding principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas advocated by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century AD remain relevant today and, in part, inform our approach to teaching Architecture. Vitruvius’s principles are particularly relevant in present day South Africa which is awash with examples of the disjuncture between the physical and the social environments and where the principles of durability, utility and beauty have often been in discordance. 

The built environment which is made up of designed spaces and the activities of people in their pursuit of sustainable development of communities and populations are inter-related and inseparable. The School is probably one of the few schools in the country to incorporate all these distinct but interrelated disciplines. We are thus appropriately placed to, not only, understand the interrelationship between the built and social environment but also, through high quality research and community engagement, generate knowledge that is beneficial to the community, context specific and forward looking in nature.

In addition, the School of the Built Environment and Development Studies is home to two National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Chairs – these are; the Chair of Applied Poverty Reduction and Assessment  and the Chair in Economic Development. Further, the School is also home for the Centre for Civil Society. In combination, these help to enhance the teaching, research and community engagement experience of academics in the School.

I look forward to welcoming you to the School of the Built Environment and Development Studies

  News
  • Renowned architect Hans Hallen visits UKZN residences

    Renowned architect Mr Hans Hallen visiting John Bews residence and viewing some of his drawings.

    [26 May, 2016] Renowned architect and one of the first graduates in Architecture at the former University of Natal, Mr Hans Hallen, recently made his first visit to UKZN’s Mabel Palmer, John Bews, and Scully Hall residences on the Durban campus, since designing and building the student accommodation in the early 1960s. 

    Full story

  • Academic presents research at eThekwini Research Symposium

    Dr Andrew Okem

    [20 May, 2016] Research findings on stakeholders’ perspectives on the social acceptability of effluent in agriculture were presented at a eThekwini Research Symposium.

    Full story

  • Students perform Water Is Life play on Durban’s beachfront

    UKZN students showcase the play - Masihambisane: Water is Life - on Durban’s beachfront.

    [20 May, 2016] UKZN’s fourth year Architecture students and Drama and Performing Arts students recently showcased their Masihambisane: Water is Life show on the Durban beachfront.

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  • Community Development Association hosts leadership workshop

    CDA Local Executive Committee and CDA Foundation members at a leadership workshop at Howard College

    [05/May/2016] The Community Development Association on UKZN’s Howard College campus recently hosted its inaugural leadership training workshop for its Local Executive Committee.

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  • Study on relationship between co-operatives and privately owned businesses in uMgungundlovu

    Dr Andrew Okem.

    [28/Apr/2016] A UKZN researcher recently presented his work investigating the networking activities or the lack of them between co-operatives and privately owned businesses in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

    Full story

  • UKZN academic addresses conference on social protection for informal workers

    Professor Frances Lund.

    [28/Apr/2016] Professor Frances Lund of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies addressed the topic of extending social protection to informal workers when she spoke at the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) World Labour Congress and Labour Conference in Cape Town.

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  • UKZN student in Top 10 in prestige architecture competition

    Architecture student Mr Phillip Warren.

    [28/Apr/2016] Architecture student Mr Phillip Warren was one of 10 finalists in the prestigious PG Bison 1.618 Competition started more than 20 years ago to recognise future interior and industrial designers, architects and key decision makers in the South African construction industry.

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  • Master’s graduate focuses on homelessness

    Ms Mbalenhle Dube graduates with a Master’s Degree in Population Studies

    [11/Apr/2016] Homelessness was the focus of Ms Mbalenhle Dube’s Master’s Degree in Population Studies.

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  • Nutrition for HIV/AIDS sufferers in Zimbabwe central to graduate’s research

    Ms Nobuhle Moyo.

    [11/Apr/2016] Research on nutrition for people living with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe led to Ms Nobuhle Moyo graduating with a Master’s degree in Development Studies.

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  • Women’s use of skin bleaching creams examined

    Ms Ayanda Tshabalala.

    [11/Apr/2016] ‘As a young black woman, I’ve always seen education as the key to empowerment and independence.’

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  • UKZN boasts first black woman with PhD in Town Planning

    Dr Hope Magidimisha.

    [11/Apr/2016] UKZN’s College of Humanities celebrated the graduation of Ms Hangwelani Hope Magidimisha - the first black woman to be awarded a doctorate in the discipline of town planning at the University.

    Full story

  • UKZN academics participate in Southern African Cities Studies Conference

    UKZN academics participate in Southern African Cities Studies Conference

    [07-Apr] Academics from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) participated in the 3rd Southern African Cities Studies Conference, hosted at the Urban Futures Centre (UFC) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

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  • Public employment programmes discussed at Seminar

    Public employment programmes discussed at Seminar

    [31-Mar] A paper titled: Public Employment Programmes: A Comparative Analysis of their Impact on Socio-Economic Welfare of Households and Individuals in Argentina, India and South Africa, was presented by an Associate Professor in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Professor Oliver Mtapuri, as part of the School’s seminar series.

    Full story

  Events
  Disciplines
   
  • Architecture Architecture is a field related to the design of buildings and human spaces. An architect's responsibility also includes supervision of the construction of the buildings she/he designs.

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    Architecture
  • Community Development Community Development is a multi-disciplinary research and teaching programme which focuses on the broad areas of social development and socio-economic reconstruction.

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    Community Development
  • Development Studies Development Studies addresses key economic, political and social concerns - inequality and poverty, uneven or inadequate economic growth, maldistribution of resources and institutional failures by critically examining the role and efficacy of state policies, and interventions by other social actors, in addressing these problems.

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    Development Studies
  • Housing Housing is more than mere shelter. It transcends the physical structure and exists within a context defined by services and facilities which link individuals and families to the community, the city and regions. The Housing Programme provides a wide range of modules that aim at equipping students with economical, social, technological and policy issues that impinge on various housing production systems and how they impact on the delivery of housing.

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    Housing
  • Planning Planning means the scientific, aesthetic and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities. Responsible planning has always been vital to the sustainability of safe, healthy and secure urban environments.

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    Planning
  • Population Studies Population Studies is a broad social science discipline concerned with the study of human population in relation to the factors associated with changes in their size, composition and distribution. The programme consists of a broad range of modules aimed at equipping students with an understanding of population processes, demographic analysis and policy formulation.

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    Population Studies<
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    • Masters in Population Studies Programme Poster
    • Masters in Development Studies Programme Poster
    • Masters in Population Studies Programme Poster

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