Text and photos by Sytse DE MAAT, Architect PhD candidate at EPFL (Switzerland)
What role in the design of mass housing is there for Western architects, locked up in a world governed by industrialists, in which the user is almost absent? Being inspired by informal settlements to design low-cost housing means inversing the participatory processes and putting the occupants back into the centre of any approach. Apart from benefiting them, the profession could find a valid role here.
Informal settlements are hot. With over a billion inhabitants, spontaneous dwellings, squatter areas and unplanned cities are drawing the attention of architects, urbanists and urban developers. This increasing interest may have its origin in the resemblance of informal settlements with today’s creative freedom on the Internet, and its typical low degree of formality. Probably the personal initiative and creativity that radiate from the not-designed world of informal construction make it a welcome refuge for creative people from highly formalized Western countries.
To continue reading this article, click here.
AA 390 – TRIBUNE section