While a substantial amount of study of informal settlements has been undertaken, they remain largely unstudied in terms of urban form. The purpose of this article is to set forth a conceptual framework, which considers the context in which informality takes place, the settlement itself, the houses contained therein, the dwellers of those houses and the process through which a settlement is designed and transformed over time. This framework aims to be sufficiently flexible to be deployed across diverse national settings. Its formulation is important because informal settlements are a permanent fixture of the global urban landscape, and are increasing in scale. Any sustainable strategies to improve informal settlements depend on a better understanding of their urban space, as well as of the producers of this space – the residents themselves. Finally, professional designers may be able to learn from this contemporary urban vernacular grammar – perhaps the only one left in the era of sanitized, contrived and prosaic urban design.
Title: The self-built city: theorizing urban design of informal settlements
Journal: Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research
Author: Dorina Pojani