Articles, photographs by partners

Index of articles

Index of Articles
Title Article Description

TRANSFORMATIONS OF A PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECT IN INDIA – Janpura Extension, New Delhi. Architectural Record, 'Third World Housing', August 1985. Solomon Benjamin

The official bureaucratic approach to providing shelter has been proved inadequate time and time again. Without official help, the inhabitants of Janoura Extension have transformed their government-provided block into a dense habitat for a varied community.
(View/Download PDF)

TRANSFORMATIONS OF PUBLIC HOUSING IN CHINA – Davuan Compound, Beijing, 2012
Photographs by Zheng Jia greatjudy01@gmail.com

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Photographic essay of a Danwei. The Beijing No.2 Textile Factory Residential Compound was built in 1950s as a Danwei (work unit)/ Dayuan (essentially a big gated community) following the Soviet model. It is located in the southeast of Beijing. A Dayuan is the dominant urban and social form of China from early 1950s to late 1970s. The incremental transformation is believed to be relatively recent.
(View/Download PDF) © Zheng Jia

EXAMINING USER-INITIATED TRANSFORMATIONS IN GOVERNMENT HOUSING IN MANAUS – HIGH DENSITY INCREMENTAL EXPANSION
(Presented at the Naples WUF)

Caleb Harper
caleb@calebharper.com
Vasco Portugal
vascopt@mit.edu
Layla Shaikley
layla.shaikley@gmail.com

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Study of recently completed project funded by the InterAmerican Development Bank in Manaus, Brazil. Although the original plans to build walkups that would be modified by the users were abandoned, the researchers surveyed the informal changes made by the families in the completed units after occupation since 2007/2009. Findings included extensive additions to storage spaces, living spaces, and a considerable number of home-based enterprises. The paper includes detailed description of modifications and additions, and follows with an incremental walkup model with estimated cost sharing by government and families, and guidelines for future housing.  
(View/Download PDF – Manaus Expansion Notes)
(View/Download PDF – Manaus Housing Survey)

INFORME PROYECTO - SELF HELP HOUSING & INCREMENTAL HOUSING - THE LIKELY DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE HOUSING POLICY. SANTIAGO JUNIO 2011 (SPANISH ORIGINAL) – Prof. Margarita Greene Z;  Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estodios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. mgreenez@uc.cl

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The ultimate objective of this study is to provide policy options for governments, national and local level, to create environments that support incremental housing processes.  Santiago, Chile, is the base for the study.   The study tests two hypotheses. The incremental process, both formal and informal, can be substantially improved in terms of speed of consolidation and construction quality, benefiting both affected families and the city. The second, to support housing programs built incrementally is a proactive approach efficient in terms of costs, administrative and technical inputs, and increases affordabile housing units. Three types of incremental construction were identified: 1) Informal construction. Self-help housing with no, or very little government support, from informal settlements built by the homeless on the outskirts of large cities. 2) Planned Incremental. This type includes the Progressive Housing Program (PVP) and the Housing Solidarity Fund (FSV). Both programs provide a solution initially modest to be extended and completed by the beneficiaries themselves.  And 3) Unplanned Incremental. This type includes incremental activity carried out without government help and usually without external support, having received a small finished house. Both growth and improvement are seen. This type includes the Basic Housing Program which was a massive program for the poor that began in the 80's.  A sample of families in eleven districts were surveyed, reflecting different governmental actions, which correspond to the three types of incremental action.   A total of 210 families were surveyed in early 2011.  (View/Download PDF)

'YOUNG TOWN' GROWING UP: FOUR DECADES LATER: SELF-HELP HOUSING AND UPGRADING LESSONS FROM A SQUATTER NEIGHBORHOOD IN LIMA
- Susana Williams, MIT Thesis, 2005
SRojasWilliams@habitat.org
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This thesis examines self-help housing policies in Peru by revisiting Independencia, one of Lima's young towns (squatter settlements), forty-five years after its founding. The study was designed to better understand how Independencia's low and moderate income families have been able to access and upgrade their housing from a long-term perspective. The thesis has three objectives: 1) to explore the different factors that influenced housing investments by the poor in Independencia; 2) to understand how programs created to support housing, have in fact contributed to or served as resources for families in Independencia; and 3) to understand how this process has worked and whether it is still able to meet the housing needs of families in Independencia. An underlying issue is the nature of incremental housing and progressive self-managed development. The house is perceived as a process and not as a final product. Using the housing trajectory as the unit of analysis, it is possible to see how this model has worked, how investments were made (building process), why investments were made and what provided the opportunities (influential factors). Based on findings from the data collected from thirty-one family interviews and housing surveys, the conclusions consider the role of external factors (public services, public infrastructure investments, land tenure, micro-credit, etc) and internal factors (family income and demographics) in housing investments over the forty-five years of its growth. Findings suggest that multi-generational needs are not being met and new forms of ownership, legal tenure, new credit, financing mechanisms and technical assistance are required.

(View/Download PDF)

CORE HOUSE OPTIONS AND POSSIBLE BUILDOUTS
George Gattoni. Fall 2009.
core house optionsCore house options and possible buildouts. (View Diagrams)
MKALLES HOUSING PROJECT - Beirut Urban Area
Omar Take, Horacio Caminos, Reinhard Goethert.
core house optionsThe Mkalles Housing Project was the first public housing proposal in Beirut. It was commissioned by H.S. the President of Lebanon, Suleiman Bey Frangie by presidential decree, through the Ministry of Housing and Cooperatives. (summer 1973) The preliminary design was prepared by staff and graduate members of the Urban Setlement Design Program in the School of Architecture at MIT during the Fall 1973. Mr. Omar Take presented the design to the Ministry officials and a further presentation was made at the Presidential Palace. The design incorporates a range of building types, offering incremental expandability through interior additions of floors, and a clustered arrangement of dwellings in the interior to support smaller community groupings. The project was cancelled due to the increasingly unstable situation in Beirut . (View more)
TYPOLOGY OF STARTER BASES FOR INCREMENTAL EXPANSION
Urban Settlement Design Program, MIT.
Typology of starter basesTypology of starter bases for incremental expansion. (View More)
164 MORE CORE HOMES BEING BUILT COUNTRYWIDE
Guyana

- Guyana CHRONICLE Online.   Monday, 16 January 2012
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Brief article showing examples of the recent ‘core homes’ built by the government of Guyana, Latin America.  The program targets 400 houses to be built throughout the country.

(View/Download PDF)

SELF-HELP AND INCREMENTAL HOUSING EL SALVADOR: LIKELY DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE POLICY
- George Gattoni and Reinhard Goethert, with Roberto Chavez
george.gattoni@gmail.com, rgoethert@mit.edu, rchavez47@gmail.com

With the Fundación Salvadoreña de Vivienda Minima (FUNDASAL)
And the assistance of students of the Universidad José Simeón Cañas (UCA) and the Universidad de El Salvador (UES).

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The report documents a forty-year longitudinal case study of incremental housing in El Salvador. The purpose is to follow and understand how low-income households have built their houses over time. A survey of 210 households documented the strategies and processes from occupation to the present – most of the cases spanning three decades. Seven settlements were surveyed, representing three predominant types of low-income housing in El Salvador – illegal settlements, ‘sites-and-services’ projects, and ‘turnkey’ housing projects by government and the private sector.

The goal is to understand household strategies, decisions and costs from the perspective of building houses incrementally over time and compare those with households in conventional housing projects. To further capture possible investment influences on households, a timeline of external factors – national policies, economic fluctuations, inflationary effects of construction costs, etc. – were analyzed. The intent is to identify and recommend policy options for governments and international assistance agencies seeking to support more effective models of national low-income housing policy. El Salvador is an important case - some of the earliest (in the 1970s) projects designed to support incrementally built housing became prototypes for sites-and-services programs sponsored by development institutions worldwide. Unfortunately these pioneering efforts were evaluated too soon after occupancy, before the pace of expanding and improvement took off, resulting in misguided criticisms of incremental housing. This study has the advantage and importance of examining household trajectories from the perspective of three decades.

The fieldwork took place in two cities of El Salvador during January – March 2011. This is a research project of the IDB (Interamerican Development Bank) and managed by its RES Department with the support of the FMM Department.

(View/Download PDF)

THE ORIGINS & SPREAD OF CORE HOUSING
- Mark Napier, Programme Director, Urban LandMark
http://www.urbanlandmark.org.za

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Core housing is a major variant of the self-help technique. Introduced into the underdeveloped areas by United Nations missions, it has now become part of the housing vocabulary. It aims to provide an organised, cheap, and practical scheme for the urban and urbanising areas of poorer countries. Since the UN missions, the idea has spread and is on its way to becoming an important building device in the less developed areas. (Abrams, 1964:175)

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EARLY RESULTS FROM SAVDA GHEVRA FIELD WORK, DELHI
– Julia King
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In the Savda Ghevra resettlement colony on the fringes of Delhi, the building typology is characterized by a process that is not planned - where houses are invested in and built over time by individuals, families and social networks, that are the result of social and functional needs, climate and available resources, materials and technology. Ongoing research looks at sharing and building technology for low income housing in regularized settlements - investigating the relationship between incremental growth and community sharing and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of such incremental construction. The research has lead to a decentralized sanitation building project within Savda Ghevra colony. (View/Download PDF)

SEMINAR PROCEEDINGS CORE HOUSING AND SITE AND SERVICES PROJECTS FOR LOW INCOME GROUPS.
- Dr. Reinhard Goethert, MIT; Dr. Zakia Shafie, Cairo University
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The joint Cairo University/MIT research team on housing, under the auspices and with the cooperation of the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Development and New Communities, held a seminar January 1979, in Cairo, Egypt, bringing together all the proposed projects for core housing at that time. The report includes a descriptive summary of each of the projects along with the concepts of their designs. (View/Download PDF)

HOUSING POLICY MATTERS FOR THE POOR LATIN AMERICAN EXPERIENCES WITH URBAN HOUSING.
- Eduardo Rojas, InterAmerican Development Bank
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An overview of the housing situation in Latin America. A presentation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, April 11, 2011. Includes the experience of incremental housing, especially in Chile. (View/Download PDF)

FACILITATING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WITH HOUSING MICROFINANCE – APPRAISING HOUSING SOLUTIONS FOR PAKISTAN AFTER DISASTERS
- F. Tariq, College of Design, North Carolina State University, USA

After the deadly floods and earthquakes, more than two third Pakistanis were in urgent need of assistance. The scope of destruction is so wide that instead of huge international donations and government efforts for relief and reconstruction, the situation is not healing effectively and the gap is enlarging day by day. There is an urgent need for policy change in Pakistan towards innovative housing strategies including financial and technical assistance programs. Incremental housing may be one option to consider. (View/Download PDF)

INCREMENTAL HOUSING ARTICLE, MONDAY MAGAZINE
- Reinhard Goethert, on behalf of the Global University Consortium
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Here is a frightening fact: the urban population in the developing world will double by 2030. The implications are staggering. One is that we have 20 years to build as much urban housing as was built in the past 6,000 years. Clearly we cannot continue as in the past; issues of speed and scale have become even more critical, and disasters only heighten the challenges. A process known as incremental housing can be a key part of the solution. A recently formed Global University Consortium is promoting the approach and makes information available. (View/Download PDF)

Incrementalize It!
- Reinhard Goethert + Chris Malcolm
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Incrementalize It! is a game to highlight the implications of incremental housing. It covers how it works and what are some aspects to keep in mind when making decisions. This includes where to put a starter core, how/where to expand, what materials one should use, etc. This game is not only for the homeowner, but the designer as well. The person expanding their house can benefit just as much as the person deciding on policy and designing projects.

The game intends to promote the familiarly and use of core housing, particularly for developing countries where core housing would be an a vital proactive housing option by governments.

Currently the game is in the first phase of development, and initially it will be available on the web. SIGUS intends to bring this tool to the mobile platform for boarder availability, for both Android and Apple-based APPs.(View/Download PDF)

ARANYA, INDORE, INDIA AranyaAranya, 6 kilometres from Indore, will house a total population of 60,000 in 6500 dwellings on 85 hectares. The master plan prepared by the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation in 1983, is designed around a central spine comprising the business district, with six sectors of 7000-12,000 population each. Ten houses, each with a courtyard form a cluster. Internal streets and squares are paved. Septic tanks are provided for groups of twenty houses, and electricity and water are available throughout. The site plan accommodates a variety of income groups. The poorest are located in the middle of each of the six sectors, while the better off obtain plots along the peripheries and the central spine. Payment schemes, and a series of site and service options, reflect the financial resources of this mixed community. Eighty demonstration houses displayed a wide variety of possibilities, ranging from one room shelters to relatively spacious houses. Available to the poorest, in addition to the plot itself, are a concrete plinth, a service core, and a room. (1-SUMMARY, 2-BUILT FORM, 3-DETAILS, 4-POST-OCCUPANCY )
The Case for Incremental Housing
- Pat Wakely
Pat Wakely articleOver the last two decades, the failure of standardised contractor led housing delivery models to respond to the sheer scale of need of the urban poor raises the question of whether the time has arrived to revisit the "incremental housing" approaches of the 1970s–1980s as a more realistic approach to meeting the housing needs of the urban poor. (View/Download PDF)
The Case for Incremental Housing (Expanded article). Prepared for the Cities Alliance, June 2011.
- Patrick Wakely and Elizabeth Riley
Pat Wakely articleExpanded, full version of the article making the case for incremental housing. A noted by the Introduction by John Turner:   "The study makes an irrefutable six-fold case or realizing the full potential of a most successful way of building.  It describes procedures by which millions of low-income people develop their homes and neighborhoods, often to surprisingly high standards." (View/Download PDF)
CASA ANDREA: TRANSFORMACION DE LOS ASENTAMIENTOS IRREGULARES Y LA AUTOCONSTRUCCION DE VIVIENDA, MORELOS, MEXICO. (Transformation of settlements and self-help housing, Morelos, Mexico)
Prof. Mtra. Arq. Isabel Vargas Mata mvargas_mata@hotmail.com
Arq. Jose Javier Rivera Islas; Arq. Marisol Rodriquez Sotelo
Casa AndreaThe transformation of the house of Andrea in the Ruben Jaramillo Settlement. Detailed data of the expansion since 1973. Poster format; includes process diagram of family size linked to house expansion. (View/Download PDF)
LOW-COST HOUSING PROJECTS IN 6TH OF OCTOBER NEW TOWN, EGYPT – INTERNAL FLEXIBILITY
Cairo University:
Prof. Dr. Nasamat Abd El Kader
Prof. Dr. Sayed Mohammed Ettouney
Prof. Dr. Rowaida Reda Kamel
Ass't. Dr. Reeman Mohammed Rehan
New Town, EgyptThe project of Low-Cost Housing Prototypes in Egypt (1987) is one of the governmental trials to solve the Egyptian housing problem to reach a greater number of lower – income families. The concept offered internal flexibility of the housing unit, permitting the participation of the user in the design decisions that matches his needs and affordability.The partially completed housing prototypes offered seven types of five-story walk-ups apartments providing a variety of flat areas: 45, 60, 75 and 90 square meters. Each flat was conceived as a minimal shelter with a finished bathroom, structure elements, all sanitary connections and electrical installations. Internal partitions as well as walls and floor finishing were left, to be gradually completed by the user according to his needs and affordability.
The concept was welcomed as it combined the external appearance of a complete building and allowed the users to gradually complete and finish the interiors of their dwellings. (View/Download PDF)
A Brief Overview of Incremental Housing Construction In Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
- Biresh Shah
The phenomenon of Incremental Development of housing has an interesting development in Kathmandu valley. In the past (until the 50’s), when construction was limited to brick walls in mud mortar and the building had to be topped with a sloping roof of tiles to prevent monsoon seepage, the preferred house type was the single and double bay three-story construction with a sloping roof of tiles (or sometimes thatch) and CGI sheets. As land was more readily available, extension took place horizontally as complete wings were added to the original house. This was done largely to accommodate expanding extended families. This form also allowed for the creation of a variety of open spaces (forecourts, subcourts, courtyards) around the house in a neighborhood as new wings were added to existing bocks, and used for a variety of activities. (Read More)
Incremental Housing: The Past and Future Dwelling Solution for the Poor
- Roberto Chávez, Housing Expert
This paper briefly examines three case studies of incremental housing programs that took place over three decades in Latin America, Africa and North Africa. Incremental housing begins at its most elemental with the land, usually in the form of surveyed or irregularly occupied plots. Surveyed are the most basic form of sites and services and arguably the least-cost housing solutions that are based on the principles of self-help and mutual aid in settlements that can be easily upgraded. This paper also maintains that the most basic infrastructure networks that can enhance surveyed plots programs is a street addressing system. Addressed surveyed plot programs are therefore the most cost effective tool to harness the energy and creativity of over 1,000,000,000 urban residents that will be added to developing cities in the next two decades, and thus prevent the generation of 600,000 square kilometers of new slums. (Read More)
REFLECTIONS ON THE LA PRESITA SURVEYS San Miquel, El Salvador
A revisit to a legacy ‘Site and Services – Core House’ project developed in the 1970s
During a three-day day survey of La Presita, El Salvador, January 2008, our team found an economically active community that is considered desirable to live in, whose properties have high value, with a strong and successful built environment. It continues to provide affordable and high-quality housing for original families; however, this same affordability does not extend to new buyers. We also found the community struggling with gang activity, a lack of financing to improve or maintain infrastructure, poor service and political governance from the municipal level, and properties left vacant by out-migration. We also found that the social organization of the community, strong at its founding, has eroded over the years. What follows is an overview of our visit and general profile of the community, as well as a description of our impressions related to four topics: construction and materials, urban design and infrastructure, social organization, and household finances. We conclude with what we see as opportunities for interventions in La Presita or to consider in the planning of future such projects. (Read More)
A Case for the Incremental Housing Process in Sites-and-Services Programs And Comments on a New Initiative in Guyana
- George Gattoni July 7, 2009
Worldwide, urbanization is a process in which both cities and low-income residents build incrementally: cites expand and improve infrastructure as populations grow; people construct houses as they can afford, one room at a time, to have a better place to live. Both advance as resources, regulations, bureaucracies, markets and costs allow. City governments look for ways to guide and control the processes, often with mixed results. In countries where government policies and practices don’t take into account the needs, rights and abilities of low-income groups, housing deficits increase. The outcomes are illegal squatter settlements and slums: the only options available to the poor. For half a century developing countries have struggled with the issues of low-income housing - at best trying industrialized, public housing models (expensive and ill-fitting) with little success; at worse, bulldozing informal settlements, thus displacing thousands of residents with few or no alternatives. (Read More)
Survey of Incremental Growth in Cuevas, Former Squatter Community, Lima, Peru.
FAUA-UNI and SIGUS-MIT Taller.
sigus@mit.edu
Survey of three types of incremental expansion: 'Consolidadas', 'Nuevas', and 'No Consolidadas'. Summarized on a chart linking time, expansion, family size, and income. (View/Download PDF)
Survey of Incremental Growth in El Agustino, Former Squatter Community, Lima, Peru.
FAUA-UNI and SIGUS-MIT Taller. sigus@mit.edu
Survey of three types of incremental expansion, summarized on a chart linking time, expansion, family size, and income. (View/Download PDF)
Survey of Incremental Growth in El Ermitano, Former Squatter Community, Lima, Peru.
FAUA-UNI and SIGUS-MIT Taller. sigus@mit.edu
Survey of five examples of incremental expansion, summarized on charts linking time, expansion, family size, and income. (View/Download PDF)
Reaching Low-income Families: The Housing Improvement System in Ecuador
- Daphne Frank, GTZ
Barrio Calderon, EcuadorEcuador’s government initiated a nationwide program called the Housing Incentive System – Sistema de Incentivos para la Vivienda (SIV) in 1998 which ran until 2005. This program consisted of two components, one oriented towards the construction of new housing and another for the improvement of existing self-built houses. The latter component is considered as it was aimed at low-income groups. The Ministry for Urban Development and Housing - Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda (MIDUVI) rewarded savings by means of a single premium awarded to families in need of assistance. Within the new housing component, a voucher known as the 'Bono para Vivienda Urbana Nueva' financed up to 75% of the value of the new construction, with a maximum subsidy of US$1,800. These vouchers were aimed only at middle-income families. (Read More)
SKETCHES FROM INFORMAL FIELD SURVEYS IN THE TONDO REGION OF METROPOLITAN MANILA
- Non Arkaraprasertkul
sample sketchSketches from informal field surveys in the Tondo Region of Metropolitan Manila. Focus on older low income housing projects and recent projects of the Gawad Kalinga NGO (GK). JANUARY 2006 - Source: Reflections from the Manila Workshop. SIGUS-MIT, 2006. City has “memory” and it is this memory that makes each city a place for people. City, as a case study of urban settlement in the Southeast Asian –in this case, Manila-- is vibrant because it has a true sense of authenticity, culturally and socially. The Philippines today is experiencing unprecedented urban transformation through a process of global urbanization. Southeast Asian urban growth is different from its Western counterparts. What was proposed and determined upon considerations manifested back in 1796 must be traced via its historical and theoretical trajectory, with an intensive understanding of the essence of urban culture. (View/Download PDF)
COMPARISON OF CORE HOUSE DESIGNS IN EGYPT NEW TOWNS
- Dr. Zakia Shafie, Cairo University, with Teaching Assistants Ahmed H. Sherif and Tolba Ragab Tolba
Zakia Shafie imageThis paper compares and evaluates the core house design proposals in their context as a proper building type for low income people. A detailed assessment of their characteristics and an analytical review of their potentialities is undertaken. From each of the proposed core houses in Egypt two examples were selected from the forementioned planning, design, or research groups; one small lot situation and one large lot situation. (View/Download PDF)
INCREMENTAL HOUSING IN THE CITY OF ALEPPO - SYRIA
- Architect Majed Al-Bean
AleppoStarting from the 70s, in the last century the city of Aleppo grew dramatically till the population reached 2.5 million. More than 40% of the population is living in informal settlements, about 1 million people. Studies show that there are 22 informal settlements surrounding the city on the south, east and north. The city grew dramatically because of migration from surrounding rural areas and other cities. The housing demand grew more than five times but land availability in the real estate market was limited. Because city planning could not keep up with the rapid rise in population, the solutions came through the following two ways: (1) Illegal vertical expansion of existing buildings in some areas within the city planning zones. (2) The division of agricultural land surrounding the city with illegal construction. As a result during the past thirty years, 22 ‘irregularities’ around the city appeared, often called the ‘Ring of Poverty.’ Studies show that “the informal settlements are currently growing at some 4.0% per year. That represents 48,000 people per year or 8,000 households per year - requiring some 150 new dwellings per week in informal settlements.” (View/Download PDF)