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Urban Poor Communities: A Universal Architectural Solution?

Part 1 Dissertation 2023
Timothy Turner
University of Hertfordshire | UK
Although overlooked by many, poverty and its overwhelming grip on worldwide architecture is one of the defining characteristics of the world around us. Despite the many attempts to eradicate slums, the issue continues and evolves, affecting every population internationally. The question must be asked, what can architects do to address the global substandard housing problem? Is there an international solution? This dissertation explores whether it is even acceptable for architects to practice globally, can a foreign architect truly understand local culture and minutiae? Perhaps though, the need is so urgent that this doesn’t matter. Maybe intelligent design can address the plethora of varied constraints and achieve what no generation has ever achieved. A truly egalitarian housing stock, where everyone has the bare minimum: a roof over their head. Is that so much to ask?

This text studies historical and modern impoverished areas, like Kibera and Orangi, examining the methods used to improve the lives of people in low-quality housing. It concludes that there is no one universal building solution, because each person and place is unique, but there are common methodologies, including mapping, infrastructure, self-help and collaboration, which combined, could lead us on a path towards universal recovery.

Timothy Turner

Tutor(s)
Monica Cherry
Beniamino Polimeni
2023
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