e-tat / digital wasteland

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Urban form as an expression of poverty

After the spate of posts about the futures of urban architecture, the development of peri-urban settlements, squatter cities, and changing perspectives on urban density, I am wondering what future high rise buildings have as an architectural and planning response to poverty. Put bluntly, is the architecture of poverty abandoning the high-rise in favour of the gecekondu and shantytowns?

I think a significant part of the argument (pro or con) revolves around issues of density, where some cities find that high-rises work well (Hong Kong somes to mind) and others find that towers are invariably spaces of abjection. With urban squatters increasingly taking matters into their own hands, there is also a question of whether fornal urban renewal schemes can expect to provide more than a fraction of housing needs, whether such schemes will be abandoned in favour of the DIY approach, and what the architectural expression of urban poverty will look like.


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