Urban Ecologies of Affordable Housing

Related Staff : Juan Du

Instructor: Juan Du
Students:Cheng Siu Tai Sam, Cheung Lai Ying Janet, Fung Wing Chi Cherry, Lau Mang Kei Anthony, Lau Yick Chung Nickii, Li Tsz In Reyan, Ma Chiu Yu Hugo, Wong Ka Ling Joan, Wong Hung Chuen Nicky, Wong Kar Hang, Wong Yee Chun Ivy

The Urban Ecologies Studio aims to confront conventional architectural design and city planning practices by looking to the informal city for clues for designing alternative models of socially affordable housing and sustainable urban development.

Project Description PROJECT PHASE I: DESIGN RESEARCH OF FORMAL/INFORMAL HOUSING Mumbai; Caracas; Sao Paulo; Hong Kong; Singapore; Beijing PROJECT PHASE II:DESIGN OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN SHENZHENUrban Planning; Housing Policy; Educational Programming; Infrastructure Occupation; Community Reconstruction; Building Renovation; Façade Intervention

The economic development of contemporary cities in developing Asia, Africa, and Latin America, depends on vast numbers of low-cost/low-income floating populations of workers. The painful lessons learned from past precedent however have not deterred recent developing countries to build massive public housing projects. Conventional planning methods have proven to be inadequate to meet the needs of an unprecedented urban population growth in developing cities around the world. In most cases, public housing construction has not met the massive population of workers.

The works presented here by the studio examines the role of design for affordable housing in dense urban environments. Rather than basing the design of affordable housing on existing commercial housing typologies and reducing unit sizes and other attributes, the studio establishes a design methodology based on the relationships between the spatial design along with policy, planning, social networks, informal economies etc. The research work examines the complexities of affordable housing by understanding the city as a synthetic ecosystem comprised of the Natural (resources and services) the Social (people and communities), the Economic (costs and affects) and the Constructed (buildings and infrastructure). Housing projects in selected cities, both formal and informal, are analyzed to establish parameters of comparison and evaluation. Lessons learned from this research will be applied towards generating new models of affordable housing in contemporary developing cities. Shenzhen is a unique site of experimentation in designing new typologies of affordable housing. The studio concludes with a series of design projects engaging in various scales and operations of interventions that address the potential roles of design in the topic of the affordability of housing and living in the city.

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