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The water’s edge is the most iconic and identifiable image related to the city of Durban and in seeking an ‘authenticity’ that typifies the built fabric of the city, the image that this place creates is arguably the answer. Since its formal establishment as a settlement in 1824, this edge has been a primary element in the urban fabric. Development of the space has been fairly incremental over the last two centuries, starting with colonial infl uenced built interventions, but much of what is there currently stems from the 1930’s onwards, leading to a Modernist and later Contemporary sense of place that is moderated by regionalist infl uences, lending itself to creating a somewhat contextually relevant image. This ‘international yet local’ sense of place is however under threat from the increasingly prominent ‘global’ image of a-contextual glass high-rise towers placed along a non-descript public realm typical of global capital interests that is a hallmark of the turnkey project trends by developers from the East currently sweeping the African continent.
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