martes, 19 de febrero de 2013

Housing and Domestic Life

“Cultures of domestic life explicitly concern three attributes. First, the artefacts and techniques of human groups (housing units, infrastructure and services). This can be considered as the material culture of domestic life that may express and communicate cultural and social/group identities. The second attribute is the social organization of human groups according to norms about marriage, kinship, household composition and social relations. The residential environment not only expresses social conventions but also social differentiation by differences in architectural style, the size of housing units and the site location. The third attribute is the meanings attributed to the physical and non-material components of himan habitats and how these are expressed by language: for example, a housing unit, a dwelling, a domicile, or home […].

Although the internal organisation and use of housing units can be described according to orientation, climate and the availability of construction materials, this description does not include the shared meanings and values attributed to domestic space unless cultural dimensions are considered. These cultural dimensions are reflected in the preparation and consumption of food, the nomenclature of domestic space and household activities, customs about receiving family, friends and neighbours, and rituals and religious practices for special occasions, including birth, marriage and death […].

A housing unit and all its content is a medium for non-verbal communication between household members, family, friends and strangers. […] domestic space and household possessions not only have monetary and use values. In addition, they become objects with psychological dimensions that express the self, because they convey information about the personal identity, group identity and values of the resident."

Lawrence, R., 2012. People-Environment Studies. In: D. F. Clapham, W. A. V. Clarck & K. Gibb, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Housing Studies. London: Sage Publications, pp. 230-243.

sábado, 16 de febrero de 2013


“Our choice of informal, therefore, was very careful studied. But it, too, requires definition and contextualization to ensure that our meaning and use are clear. Consider, first, its emergence from related terms:

FORM – shape and structure; outward appearance; essence. Note the apparent contradiction in the definition – appearance vs. essence – which becomes more distinct in the verb to inform, meaning both to give form and shape to something (exterior) and to pervade, animate and inspire (interior).

FORMAL – pertaining to customary form or conventionality; rigorously observant of forms; lacking in ease or freedom of outline or arrangement. Consider such uses as the formal dinner, formal manners, formal attire. As certain forms become norms, they are codified and become standard, accepted rules. Vitruvius gave us The Ten Books on Architecture. Grammarians give us the rules for a language. The underlying presumption in every case is that there is a right and a wrong way of doing things. Hence the need for:

INFORMAL – not done or made according to a recognized or prescribed form; not according to order; unofficial, disorderly. In choosing to call the subject of our study the ‘informal city’, we are both embracing and rejecting the standard definition. The barrios of Caracas on which we focused are, indeed, not made according to any standard prescription, and they are certainly unofficial. But are they, in fact, ‘disorderly’? Do they lack form?

If one looks at the barrios at a distance – in person or in an aerial photograph – one sees sprawling, rhizome-like shapes; one searches in vain for an ordering principle, a clear beginning and end, for ways to separate the whole into comprehensible elements. But close up, patterns begin to emerge and a certain logic – unlike that taught by conventional architecture or planning – can be discerned. Like the scientists who study chaos theory, we rejected the notion of infinite randomness and assumed that there is a discoverable, as yet unidentified, logic.

Informal does not mean ‘lacking form’. It implies, for us, something that arises from within itself and its makers, whose form has not yet been recognized, or is unfinished, but which is subject to rules and procedures potentially as specific and necessary as those that have governed official, formal city-making. Our work sets out to identify and describe that particular logic, to locate the orders within the apparent disorder, so as to open up a productive dialogue about the relevance and the role of the informal city in the world.”

Brillenbourg, A., Feireiss, K. & Klumpner, H., 2005. Informal city. Caracas Case. München: Prestel. p 18.

viernes, 8 de febrero de 2013

The Spontaneous City (La ciudad espontánea)

Ir a The Spontaneous City

"The Spontaneous City es tratada por sus habitantes en un proceso interminable de transformación y adaptación para acomodar la cultura contemporánea que demanda cambios en el tiempo, preocupaciones colectivas e individuales, un amplio entendimiento de la sostenibilidad y ¡sorpresa!

Individuos y grupos, incluidos los residentes y empresarios, re-usan o re-organizan espacios en bloques de departamentos, lugares de trabajo, parques y calles. El potencial de los habitantes (dwellers) de la ciudad ha sido ignorado por demasiado tiempo.

Co-diseño, co-producción, co-propiedad y co-responsabilidad ya no son sólo términos de moda, sino formas aceptadas de diseño en términos de desarrollo urbano sostenible, que deben ser implementadas cada vez más en un ámbito más amplio y en colaboración con las grandes empresas y la autoridad local."

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