“a renewed interest in urban ecology and the provision of public and social amenities has brought forward the beginnings of what could argue towards a Post-Informal Landscape Urbanism”
While it is hard to find Landscape Urbanism case studies in general, it is even more difficult to reference landscape projects inside informal settlements. In many Third World countries, informal areas are ignored and sometimes don’t even appear in official maps or planning documents. Any data about these neighborhoods is difficult to find, and even then can be out-of date or incomplete. Adding to the difficulty in finding landscape case studies is the dominant view of housing projects as the main solution for these areas. Landscape and public space improvements are relegated to a secondary importance. Yet a renewed interest in urban ecology and the provision of public and social amenities has brought forward several projects that come closest to the beginnings of what could become a set of case studies to argue towards a Post-Informal Landscape Urbanism.
Colombia and Brazil are presently at the forefront of implementing landscape strategies throughout informal settlements that are both pre-emptive and retroactive in their impacts. Pre-emptive design anticipates future informal growth by providing public space around which new development grows, while a retroactive approach offers interventions in already consolidated informal settlements so as to promote formal aspects. Several Latin American cities have synthesized the need for public space and infrastructure in such a way that they not only connect informal settlements to the formal systems of the city in which they are located, but also tap into the rich social capital that exists in such neighborhoods. Continue reading →
“There are an estimated 200,000 informal settlements around the world. Moreover, one of every three urban dwellers currently lives in informal settlements, otherwise (and wrongly) known as ‘slums.’ What is the future of the city after the influx of informal settlements?”
There are an estimated 200,000 informal settlements around the world similar–and sometimes much worse–than La Moran, in Caracas Venezuela (pictured above).
“Post-Industrial” is widely regarded as the primary condition that appears throughout much of Landscape Urbanism literature in its attempt to reformulate contemporary city-making following the industrial booms of the past centuries. While it is important to recycle, re-use and reconsider sites of this nature, it is also important to consider other ”post” conditions and projects.
Landscape Urbanism has to move on from defining what it is to what it can do; from theory to praxis, from book to built. Instead of being limited to the endless task of defining and arguing for the relevance of its initial conceptualizations, it is the job of designers to find new areas onto which this new approximation can have a successful implementation. Through this thinking, we can find other “post-” conditions, one of which has an immense sense of urgency and potential in today’s world: “Post-Informal”.
Population Growth and City Projections
Four years ago, the world reached a significant milestone: 3.3 billion human beings live in cities, making this planet’s human population predominantly urban. Yet, the importance of this milestone is not just that an ever-growing population lives in cities, but how they live in cities. One of every three urban dwellers currently lives in informal settlements, otherwise (and wrongly) known as “slums”. Informal settlements are usually characterized as poor areas that come about outside the margins of any legal urban planning, usually constructed by means of self-help housing that tap into the existing services and infrastructures of the city. This urban phenomenon should be regarded as one of the most important characteristics of modern urban development because of the impact it has on landscape, environment, social components, existing cities and infrastructure. Continue reading →