Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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One In Seven

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posted on 2021-11-23, 13:46 authored by Browning, James

Like many cities across South America, Caracas is a city of widespread informal settlements, with over a third of the city’s population living in slums. South America’s urban slums are expected to continue their rapid expansion, with an estimated 113 million people across the continent living in sprawling slums beyond the reach of official planning and regulation. These communities develop for many reasons; lack of affordable housing; large urban migration; or high levels of poverty. As people become frustrated with their situation they begin to build on empty areas in the city, continuously expanding and adding to the urban sprawl. However, South American cities are already highly developed, urban space is at a premium, and there’s limited space for new construction. How can we improve the conditions within these informal communities rather than following the usual approach of force relocations into, often insufficient in number and inadequate in design, social housing? Forced relocations split communities apart and move inhabitants away from work and amenities, and often does nothing to slow the growth of informal settlements due to the limited number of social housing available.  This research proposes to form a self-sustainable architectural framework that integrates into the existing informal settlements without unnecessary harm or relocation of the city’s urban poor, to improve their quality of life. The research argues that new strategies of regeneration that seek to promote a collaborative construction of the physical environment, would boost neighbourhood development and improve existing conditions without undue harm to the people it attempts to help. The regeneration strategy would be a system which works on 3 scales to solve basic problems, such as water, power, and community spaces through sustainable means. This system would be the starting point of a revitalization process, helping to improve the permanence and resilience of these communities.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Chicca, Fabricio