The luxury hotel, as an architectural typology, is distinctive. In effect, it’s a self-contained community, a building that immerses the well-off visitor into their local context. Self-contained communities they might be, but these hotels are also vessels of the wider socioeconomic character of a place, where luxury living is often next door to informal settlements in the most extreme examples of social inequality.
Informal Settlements: The Latest Architecture and News
It’s an essential architectural element, one we tend to immediately take note of when we look at buildings new to us – the roof. The roofs that shelter the buildings we see in our cities today are diverse in their typology. Flat roofs are a common sight in the city centers of urban metropolises, hip roofs are a popular choice for dwellings around the world, and the gable roof is arguably the most common of all, a roof type popular in stylized depictions of what a standard house looks like.
Almost seven kilometers from the green of Uhuru Park in central Nairobi, lies the informal settlement of Kibera. It is an area whose urban character consists of corrugated iron roofs, mud walls, and a complicated network of utility poles. Kibera, at this point in time, is a well-known place. Much has been written and researched on this “city within a city,” from its infrastructural issues to its navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within the Latin American and Caribbean region, it has been recorded that at least 25% of the population lives in informal settlements. Given that their expansion is one of the major problems afflicting these cities, a project is presented, supported by the IDB, which proposes how new technologies are capable of contributing to the identification and detection of these areas in order to intervene in them and help reduce urban informality.
Cities are growing, and they are growing upwards. This is far from just being a contemporary phenomenon of course – for more than a century, high-rises have been an integral part of urban settlements worldwide. This growing of cities encompasses a complex web of processes – advancements in transport links, urbanisation, and migration to mention a few. This growth of cities, however, is all too often linked with governmental failure to adequately support all facets of the urban population. Informal settlements are then born – people carving out spaces for themselves to live amidst a lack of state support.
Ecological Design: Strategies to Protect Latin America and the Caribbean's Vulnerable Cities in the Face of Climate Change
Throughout the world's cities, in the midst of current and projected crises-- environmental, health, economic, and otherwise--one question looms: How can we prepare our urban centers' most vulnerable sectors?
Current data paints a bleak picture of cities and the impact of climate change. With urban populations skyrocketing as people around the globe seek opportunities for a better life in the world's urban centers, cities have become gluttons for energy and other resources while simultaneously producing more emissions than ever before. On top of this, 3 out of 5 cities are at high risk for natural disasters.
A Space Transportation Hub in Japan and a Humanitarian Response in Egypt: 10 Unbuilt Projects Submitted by our Readers
This week’s curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture encompasses conceptual proposals submitted by our readers. It features diverse functions and tackles different scales, from a spiraling bridge in China to a transportation hub dedicated primarily to space travel in Japan.
Comprising uncommon design approaches, this article introduces a humanitarian architectural response to the needs of the residents in an informal Egyptian settlement. In the master plan category, a Green city proposal highlights how we should develop our cities and neighborhoods in the future, and the first net-zero energy airport in Mexico reinterprets holistic design approaches. Moreover, the roundup presents different cultural interventions, from a museum in Botswana, an installation at the Burning Man festival by AI Studio, and an observatory in Vietnam.
Torre de David (the Tower of David) - the world's tallest slum and the subject of Urban-Think Tank, Justin McGuirk, and Iwan Baan's Golden Lion-winning Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012 - is once again making headlines. Venezuelan newspaper TalCual reports that the Venezuelan government is in negotiations with Chinese banks interested in purchasing the building.
Tower of David is an unfinished financial skyscraper in downtown Caracas. Construction began on the tower in 1990, but the death of the principal investor in 1993 and the subsequent banking crisis that hit the country in 1994 froze construction; by the end of the year, the tower was in the hands of the state. Nevertheless, in 2007 two thousand homeless citizens took over and inhabited the skyscraper, making it the tallest vertical slum in the world.