SIGUS: Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement

The Venezuela workshop revisited the El Gallo low-income community, 25+ years after it was initially settled and surveyed by a MIT team. Ciudad Guayana - and the El Gallo settlement - was planned in the mid-60s by the MIT and Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies, and was seen as a model for urban planning and development. Students from MIT and the Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, formed the workshop team, and focused on the community in a 2-week January workshop.

Two questions challenged the workshop:

1 - Does the experience from the El Gallo settlement support the hypothesis of progressive development that has provided the basis for low-income housing policy in developing countries since the late 1960s? and

2 - How can the architect and professional contribute to progressively developed settlements? The workshop builds on surveys carried out in 1967-68 and documented in the book "Urban Dwelling Environments" by MIT faculty Horacio Caminos, John F.C. Turner and John Steffian, MIT Press, 1969. The workshop is one in a planned series revisiting 16 low-income communities throughout Latin America and Boston. Participants from the Department of Architecture were Eleanor Fawcett, Timothy M. Morshead, Michael Spinello, and William Doss Suter. Participants from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning were Christina Erickson, Marisa Gaither, Roxanne de Lourdes Figueroa, and Michael Mendez. Meg Hiesinger in the PhD program also participated. Gustavo Riodriquez was the SIGUS assistant.

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