JONATHAN EDKINS : CEO of Vusa Collaborative.

Durbanista and Professional Architect since 1982; Professional Project Manager from 2006. Currently practicing as a social entrepreneur in architecture, development initiation, project packaging and management. Engaged in collaborative joint ventures with experienced professional partners, and working with local businesses, academics and professionals to advance inner city regeneration projects at various scales.

The Father of Happitecture, a Mentor at DUT and UKZN, and author of several articles and papers on sustainable urban development, urban management, and city architecture. 

Retired after 15 years as the Head of City Architects in eThekwini, served as City Architect from 1991 to 2015, and Development Director on a variety of initiatives including the ICC Durban and ICC Arena developments, and establishment of the Priority Zone and Urban Management Zone. Previously in private professional architectural practice including projects in Sevenoaks, Banjul, London, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, DeAar, Bloemfontein, Venda and Durban. 

Jonathan Edkins Pr.Arch : Professional Architect, Development Manager, Project Manager

South African, Professional Architect, Project Manager and Strategic Development Manager, in professional practice in the private and public sectors in South Africa and UK, since 1981.

Experienced in City Architecture and Urban Management; leads multi-disciplinary professional teams to deliver architectural and urban development projects at various scales; including innovative programmes to improve the environment and address service delivery.

Focus on Architecture as applied to urban development, and leadership in social regeneration.


Sharing accumulated knowledge, participating in strategic projects, and collectively forging new directions. Creating and facilitating exceptional architectural development which contributes to the city’s future as a resilient, caring and lovable city.

Founder : Vusa Collaborative

Through collaborative efforts, leading and improving urban architecture,  urban design and urban management, to facilitate strategic development, investment, and innovation in city resilience projects which foster social and cultural cohesion.


The City Architect : eThekwini Municipality (Retired)                               1999-2015
Leadership in integrated multi-disciplinary professional services.

Senior Management    :    City Architecture eThekwini                            1991-1999

Project Architect (UK)  :    Fry Drew Knight & Creamer                           1988-1991

Project Architect (UK)  :    AB Waters Associates :                                  1988

Sole Practitioner (SA)  :    Jonathan Edkins Architect                              1985-1988

Senior Staff Architect   :    Department of Estates & Works                     1982-1985

Student Architect         :    University of Natal                                          1974-1981  

Selected Experience

Project Director / City Representative: 

Durban International Convention Centre (ICCD) (1991-2010)
Managing Director ICC Construction (Pty) Ltd     (1999-2002) 

ICC Durban Extensions and ICC Arena Developments (2005-2010)              

Priority Zones Urban Management  Pilot Project  (Strategic intervention for Urban Management 2009-2013)
Urban Management Zones Programme  (Zonal Facilities Management Project 2013-2014) 

UIA Durban Congress 2014    (Initiation, Bid Process, Support & Drive 2008-2014)

Warwick Junction Project (1996-2006)

Bulwer Park Pilot Upgrade  (Participative urban space regeneration 2011-2014)

Greyville Park Renewal  (Heritage area open space intervention 2012-2014)

River Town Precinct        (Visualisation, concepts & realisation 2011-2014)

KwaXimba Sports Centre  (Social responsibility programme 2008)

Cato Manor Multi-Purpose Centres for multiple use of amenities

CBD Revival Projects (Leadership & process management) 

Beachfront Revitalisation Concepts 2008

Centrum Development Concepts and Research 1995-2000

Point Marine Park 1999-2004

Natural Science Museum Refurbishment and Redevelopment (2007-2009)

Community Facilities - Numerous Libraries, Clinics, Sports Halls etc 

Durban Vision Plans -  Urban Design with D'Urban Changes Forum and Consultants

Durban Exhibition Centre Refurbishment for International Conventions 1991-1993

Kings Park Soccer Stadium Redevelopment for International Athletics 1993

Kings Park Olympic Pool  Redevelopment to Olympic standard 1992

Chatsworth Soccer Stadium Redevelopment and regeneration 1994

Durban Fresh Produce Market Master Plan & Addition of Bulk Sales Hall 1996

Umlazi Bus Depot Head Office, Workshops & Wash bays 1998

PINK Nodes Local area improvement initiatives 1994

UK Experience : Project Architect for FDKC International:

Corporate Headquarters Offices in Gambia (Shell HQ; Gambia Airlines HQ Offices 1988-1990)
Sheltered Housing in Kent, UK (1988-1991)

RSPCA Accommodation

Gauteng : Jonathan Edkins Architect:

Various Residential Houses -New-builds & Alterations / upgrades
Goldmine Villages    -    Amenities for Anglovaal offices & workforce
Educare Centre        -    Daveyton CSI Project for Cyanamid
Amenities for Government Estates & Works -  Churches, Schools, Airports, Hospitals, Sports Centres, Rehabilitation Centres, Bases.


Project Assessment Matrix               Rationalization tools for prioritization

Pre-Project Planning Strategy          Comprehensive development briefs

Strategic Projects Forum                  Chair of Inter-disciplinary committee

Inner City Revival Strategy               CBD Economic Development 1995

Warwick Junction Regeneration        Pioneering urban intervention

Centrum Development Strategy        Public planning for development

Olympics 2004 (facilities & plan)        Olympic Bid facilities strategy 1998

Business Plans for City Architects    Municipal Development Strategies

Bare Bones Architecture                   Cost effective Municipal Architecture

Open Plan Municipal Office Strategy     Accommodation rationalisation

City Buildings Asset Management    Lifecycle maintenance planning

City Architects Guides                      Ten Guides for Durban Architecture

Sustainable Public Spaces               Quality Living Environment Plans

Multiple Use of Community Facilities     Quality Living Environments Strategy 

Sustainable Urban Design  Strategy      Quality Living Environments

Sustainable Architecture Strategy     Promotes energy & climate efficiency

Quality Gateways                              Peer review procedures for improved City Architecture

Priority Zones Pilot Project               Transformation of City Management

Housing Typologies Study                R&D -  SAIA Award of Merit 2011

VukuZakhe Programme                    Community-Based Construction process. (Afrisam Award 2014)


"From Happynomics to Happitecture" -Earthworks Magazine issue 30 February/March 2016

Urban Futures Centre @ DUT : Blue Skies Programme - "Happitecture, Zen & Otherwhere Final Report" November 2015

"Happitecture, Zen and Otherwhere" - Biennale Spazzio Pubblico, Rome 2015

"Architecture Day & UIA Congress" - Mercury OPED September 2013

“Priority Zones” - Property Journal 2011

Guest Speaker – UKZN City Architecture Conference - 2010

Initiation Report : Urban Management Models – Priority Zones - 2008

“Sustainable Architecture” - KZNIA Journal 2006
Guest Editor - KZNIA Journal 1994
Keynote Speaker : North versus South Procurement Conference (UN) 1997

Chair of Council’s Task Team for Procurement Reform 1997
Member of Durban 2004 Olympic Bid Committee
Member : Durban Changes Forum 1993-2003
SAPOA Innovative Development Award (ICC Durban) 1996
KZNIA & SAIA Awards of Excellence - various projects
Chair of eThekwini Strategic Projects Forum 2003-2005

Study Tour Sydney 2004
Study tour to Barcelona and Bilbao 2005
Study Tour Southern France 2005
Study Tour Italy, Switzerland, France, UK 2007
UIA Conference and Exhibition – successful bid for 2014, Torino 2007

Sustainability Tour - Switzerland 2013

Study Tour - Sydney, Australia 2013

Study Tour - Aukland, New Zealand 2014

World Cities Conference -Hyderabad, India 2014

Study Tour - Dubai 2015

Study Tour - Rome, Milan, Amsterdam 2015

Bremen executive exchange programme, Durban 2011
Sao Paulo Executive Exchange Programme 2011
Sao Paulo & City Architects Exhibition for COP 17 – Durban 2011
Brazil Study Tour and Workshops on Urbanism in Sao Paulo 2011
Metropolis Cities Conference, Porto Alegre, Brazil 2011
Rio De Janeiro Study Visit – Interim Services and Favela Tour 2011
Singapore Study Tour and World Architectural Forum Delegate 2012
Sudan Study Tour & Conference Keynote for the Governor of Khartoum 2013
Union of International Architects – Co-Ordinating Council, Durban 2013/14
UIA Durban 2014 Congress - Speaker, August 2014.

KZN INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE : Scroll of Honour, September 2014.