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Housing Development Draws Inspiration From Shanytowns

Housing Development Draws Inspiration From Shanytowns
Design
Jeff Squires
  • 6 january 2009

After watching how new, American style, cookie-cutter housing developments in Mexico quickly became retrofitted by tenants to accommodate their informal businesses, Teddy Cruz, an architect and professor at the University of California, San Diego is attempting to integrate the same social and architectural models that he observed in Mexican shantytowns to modern housing developments in low-income communities back in the States.

Cruz noticed that many of the shantytowns he visited in Mexico operated very communally with an abundance of shared space.  This “sophisticated social collaboration,” according to Cruz, enables residents to share resources and look out for each other in way that modern suburban developments preclude.

He states:

Architecture has been so distant from the politics and economics of developments…We need to rethink the way we’ve been developing, and what we mean when we talk about housing, density, community, and neighborhood.

In addition to including spaces where residents can operate their businesses, the new developments would also offer sweat equity, allowing people who help with construction to gain rent credits for their work.

[via GOOD & NYT]

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