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Informal Settlements

Fall 2012
street view rendering of an informal settlement

Informal Settlements



One billion people, a sixth of the world’s population, live in informal “squatter” settlements. By 2030, the number will double. Public health, education, food security, employment, and housing are major concerns in these cities, which exist throughout the world. Despite the rapid growth of informal settlements, architects and designers have played only minor roles in the development, design, and improvement of these environments.

This studio, therefore, explores the phenomena of informal settlements and the stereotypes and realities that surround and exist within them. How and why do informal settlements arise? What are the similarities and differences among settlements throughout the world; what is universal and what is particular? What role can and should architectural design play?

Korydon Smith, Professor