jueves, 17 de febrero de 2011

Informality: Re-Viewing Latin American Cities

University of Cambridge, UK
17-19 february, 2011.

"The continued study of Latin American cities, their urban heterogeneity and
 the size of the territories that they occupy, has led to the development of
 alternative strategies to tackle continuous growth. Such strategies deal not
 only with the physical expansion of metropolitan areas and the provision of
 urban infrastructure (i.e. transport, electricity, water, and sewage), but
 also with issues relating to governance and social inclusion. Interventions
 are often small in scale but ambitious in scope. They consist of schools,
 libraries, nurseries, or transport exchanges which encourage social
 interaction and, thus, become generators of future development. [...]

This conference examines different ways to approach and to study urban
 informality in architectural, urban and anthropological terms. The speakers, both practitioners and academics, will describe some of the above-mentioned programmes. They will also discuss the
 theories and critical methodologies that are currently being used in order 
to study urban informality in Latin America (and in other parts of the
 world). In so doing, speakers will cast a critical eye to reveal aspects
 that require further attention (scholarly as well as in practice)."

Huaycán: A Case Study on Growth of Spontaneous Architecture
Cristina Dreifuss Serrano

The phenomena related to the growth of cities, often linked to massive internal migrations, have a violent impact in many aspects of the established structure. The boundaries of what is urban are blurred and it is frequent that the urban system (transportation, services and housing) does not develop fast enough to give an adequate answer to the needs in the new areas of the city.

Citizens come up with an automatic answer: they become builders of their own city. New environments appear, from architecture without architects, gradually growing from the requirements of its users-inhabitants who also become its constructors. When the economy of the families allows it, the new citizen adds pieces to its house, making it a place for the satisfaction of their desires.

Auto-construction or self made architecture is an informal way of making city, one house and at the time. This fact has been studied from various perspectives (sociological, urban, economic), however there are few studies focusing on architecture as the initial cell of these developments (Burga Bartra 2006, Figari 1987)

Huaycán is an example of such an area. Located in the periphery of Lima, Perú, it was founded in 1984 as a small neighbourhood of houses and public spaces. Whit time, new families have come and old ones have grown. It is possible, thus, to find housing in very early states of development, quarters with well-established constructions although lacking some primary services, and a central area, completely established, with a flourishing commerce activity.

The study, taking place during most of 2010, describes the developing in time of spontaneous architecture, identifying patterns (divided in shapes and systems) and the way they change as the situation of the families allows further construction of their houses.

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