Originally published in Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture
Even though Kibera has a serious problem with water and sanitation, its residents have developed self-help strategies to survive and transform what may seem like a horrible place to live, into a passionate way of living. Kibera is composed of routes and paths that face small commercial spaces; behind the common public space are houses located in another layer of privacy. Whatever it is, you can find it in Kibera: from NGO's workplaces, informal housing, upgraded housing, bathroom facilities and daycare centers, to art galleries, recycling factories, street vendors and children.
The shortage of housing in Cape Verde is not a problem that can be easily or quickly resolved. The families living in tin houses will continue to live in sub-standard conditions for an indefinite period of time, even if the resolution of the housing problem is made to be a governmental priority. The main objective of the Casalata project is to raise awareness of the problem and propose a strategy for improvement of the living conditions of less fortunate families through urban planning.
Designers care about image, and the green movement, like it or not, has a reputation for being all substance and no style. In 2010, design critic Alice Rawsthorn sized up the Leaf, Nissan's celebrated electric car: "It is as dull in style as most gasguzzling clunkers." Many believe sustainability deals exclusively with energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and material chemistry—issues that belong in a technical manual, not on a napkin sketch.
Medellin was once ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Today, things are different. Medellin has opted for a different strategy to use the architecture and urbanism as a tool for social development. The results are visible in physical, functional and social changes. And most of all, the change in attitude of the inhabitants and their pride in their new urban spaces. This is made possible through integral collaborations between planners, designers and politicians to highlight areas of the city that have been ignored.
In 1964 the construction of Akosombo Dam was finished in West-African Ghana, and some 8,482 km2 of land was inundated. Up until today, Lake Volta is according to surface area the largest man-made lake in the world. The spatial trajectory of the settlements around the lake shows that historically, villages were already had intimately relation with water. However, the environment has changed significantly, and establishing a relation with the lake required a re-invention of the former pattern.
This project assesses the possibility of creating within this complex relationship a spatial, sustainable and integrated solution by means of a strategy that is rooted in the landscape.
In the last few decennia human kind is experiencing with increasing concern the effects that 'our' way of living has on the natural environment. We experience the pollution caused by our manufacturing processes, the depletion of a finite stock of fossil fuels, the limitless use of raw materials for making our products, the enormous waste issues we are facing as a result of our consumption society, and the whole debate regarding our melting ice caps and climate change.
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