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New concepts in Slum Architecture
2010 September 01 to 05
MA ISD PROPOSAL BY KAREN ISABEL S. SORIANO
most of all. where many diverse streams of people. for example. living in such confined spaces. and cultures overlap and intersect. ideas. Over the years. efforts were made to address and solve the perennial problem of flooding in the city.2 SLUM WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 1-5. In November 1998. the deforestation of the Marikina and Montalban watersheds. typhoons and floods. streets or on privately-owned lands putting them in constant vulnerable eviction by authorities. and on another occasion. It is no wonder that there is a proliferation of immigrants from the countryside in underdeveloped and even developed countries every year. beside railroad tracks. moreover. bordered by three rivers and subject to torrential rains. commodities. little almost inhabitable THE PHILIPPINES AND According to a recent report by the Metro Manila Inter-Agency Committee (MMIC) to the Philippine Supreme Court. information. 2010 Introduction For over 20 years. with the poorest fifth of the population exposed to regular danger and property loss. The stream that runs alongside the wall used to be clear and flowed freely but now it is no more than a brown creek that overflows when it rains.[ ] One of these countries is the Philippines. the squatter colony of Tatalon was drowned under more than 6 meters of water. producing in close proximity. are examples of how to survive in today’s urban conditions in Metro Manila. burying 500 shacks and killing at least 1000 people. these efforts. Urban life today holds a promise to its inhabitants. which are not suitable for human habitation and natural calamities. dwelling places. however. In July 2000. Shanties no bigger than my bedroom were braced against this wall. images. Manila is a natural flood basin. in the bustling metropolis that is Manila. a typhoon deluge caused the collapse of a notorious “garbage mountain” in Quezon City’s Payatas slum. by the ceaseless encroachment of shanty housing into wetlands. forming crude. Majority of the informal settlers reside in dangerous areas. subsidence due to over extraction of ground water. I resided in a quiet neighbourhood confined within concrete walls.6 million population of the metropolis. What used to be only a handful of people living in squalor became a community of informal settlers with more moving in each day searching for opportunities and a better life in the city. these cities expand to accommodate all the people such that up to half the population of the largest cities of underdeveloped and the developing world are in unplanned and often illegal squatter colonies. in other words has transformed both the character and magnitude of the flood problem. rising vertically. In turn.000 people. MAP 6 METRO MANILA FLOOD MAP (NATIONAL MAPPING AND RESOURCE INFORMATION AUTHORITY) . flooding damaged or destroyed the homes of more than 300. Majority of the settlers are poor migrants settling under bridges. under the American regime. informal settlers in Metro Manila account for 21 percent of the 2. both bitter and sweet. in the form of infrastructure planning and development. The housing crisis. a multitude of often conflicting images of urban reality and real city lives. and. It is in their cities. As aptly observed by Mike Davis a noted author on the subject: Improvements in the system FLOODS over recent years have been counteracted by vast volumes of waste dumped into drains and “esteros” (dredged tidal channels). proved inadequate against the upsurge of squatter colonies in the city. These people. As early as 1898.
it could be called an Open City. Six weeks after the typhoon. not to mention roads and bridges and other infrastructure facilities. people look around for someone to blame. including those from the “Lupang Arenda”. Virtually all the gaps left open by city development are immediately filled with makeshift settlements that beat every record in population density.225 Billion Pesos (about 47 million pounds yearly for the next 10 years for 650.. The price of one square meter near the commercial centres far exceeds the annual income of any jeepney driver or security guard. Social and political ideals will have to be challenged. But to actually go through with this is not as simple as it sounds. Proximity to the city is important to the urban poor. Erhard Berner writes: Metro Manila [is] one of the most densely populated areas in the world. To design an urban city wherein social classes can coexist in harmony is reminiscent of utopian ideals.000 squatter families living at the edge of the lake.2 inches. it is what drove them there in the first place. Yet. and the fingers were pointed at the slum and lakeside dwellers like those living in Lupang Arenda who have the propensity to irresponsibly dump their garbage and waste materials in lakes and rivers.[ ] Two days later. Typhoon Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy) hit the Philippines and dumped enormous amounts of rainfall in one day in Metro Manila causing massive floods that destroyed more than 2 million houses and properties. But relocation would be placing them in a location that is away from their livelihoods and accessible public service. 2009. it is also less time consuming. it is not enough that the urban poor have lost everything.9 inches of rain.” Is it possible then to draw upon this theory and create an open city for the urban poor? . The better alternative is in-city relocation. the “Laguna de Bay”. livelihood and related services. Indeed.. to off-city locations is too expensive for a country that is deeply in debt. which is equivalent to about a month’s worth of rain in the area surpassing the last recorded average rainfall brought by another destructive typhoon 42 years ago at 13.The logical result is wide-spread squatting. the squatter community closest to the lake. another strong and equally devastating typhoon named Parma (locally known as Pepeng) made landfall. was still kneedeep in water. at approximately 3. and the fingers were pointed at the slum and lakeside dwellers” On September 26.SEPTEMBER 1-5. Rivers and lakes surrounding Metro Manila overflowed. but they are also being evacuated to out-city locations. the “Lupang Arenda”. forcing the authorities to open the flood gates to two major dams and to gradually release the water in order to avert another major flooding in the city. because distance from place of work means prohibitive costs in time and money. One lake in particular. people look around for someone to blame. Ketsana dropped 17. the very nature of the incomegenerating possibilities requires one to stay close to where the action is. SLUMS IN PERIL A fter the destruction that Typhoon Ketsana left in the Philippines. which is cheaper in terms of providing housing. Tim Rieniets describes a city as such. And the plan to re-locate all of them. 2010 SLUM WEEKLY 3 “In times of calamity. rose to almost two meters deep flooding the houses of more than 100.000 families). Action has been taken to move these people out of the lake to clear the waterways of garbage and drain the floodwaters. “If there were a city devoid of the obstacles that are impeding the urban livelihood of so many. and resulted in the loss of 246 lives. a city that could provide all of its’ inhabitants access to the concentrated multitude of opportunities they have at their disposal. the government is in no financial position to absorb the cost.[ ] In times of calamity.
our designer came up with four aspects that answers respective questions related to Slum Design SOCIAL: Who are the people living in the slums? How is their importance recognized by society? Current social classification. middle and lower classes. the largest city. it has a very low risk factor for earthquakes. on the east and Makati City. the “Shopping Mall Capital” of the country. But what society fails to notice is that.. San Juan City on the North. In these three social classes. human and political rights. Philippines At the center of Metro Manila. public or private. In terms of geohazards. The lowest point is located inland and mostly affected by flash floods. Mandaluyong City is best described as mostly gentle rolling slopes. NGO’s have increased their effectiveness through networking and coalition building. Over the last two decades. The term is also used to refer to people or squatters awarded lots or housing by the government. drug-pushing and other criminal activities. there are 2 groups of people who live in the slums: the urban poor and the professional squatters. but is greatly affected by flash floods caused by heavy rains and typhoons. The NGO’s are advocates of civil. 2010 A new concept to Inner City Slum Community Development that aims to give the Urban poor permanence in the city Mandaluyong City. There are 4 Aspects were considered in the formulation of this Design Slum Cities are complex as their growth relies on human ingenuity and availability of materials. adopting good practice standards and advancing “sustainable development”. as a demographic proportion of the nation. Private syndicates on the other hand (also referred to as Professional squatting syndicates). stealing. these people are ironically considered the driving force behind the growth of the nation as a whole. and more often than not. To be able to fully develop a design concept that is effective. peddling. there is no planning involved. Significantly. They constitute 63% of the Philippine labour force and they subsist through menial work or occasional paid labour. hence.SLUM CITY 4 SLUM WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 1-5. while each individual in the lower end of society earns (or spends) too little an amount to bear a significant impact on the Philippine economy. two types of organizations have thrown their support for the squatters: these are nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) and private syndicates. they form what is known as the informal sector. and this is reflected in the shanties one sees in the present urban landscape. is Mandaluyong City. and their every movemnet is challenged. Those who are without. campaigning for policy reforms.e. on the South. It is bordered by Manila. but have either leased it to others or used it for other purposes and then go back to where they were before or move to another place still as illegal settlers. or. education. The latter are individuals or families with sufficient funds for legitimate housing but occupy land illegally. i. on the other hand. In defence of their rights. and has six creeks traversing inland. is divided into three (3) groups. the country’s capital on the west. POLITICAL OR PRIVATE : What are the factors that shape the ‘slum’ community? To what extent are government projects contributing to the betterment of the ‘slum’ community? How do they affect society? Most squatters are long-time residents who found a way of coping with their economic problems. the major centre for business and commerce. The land has a granular clay and loam surface lying on a foundation of compact and massive adobe. The efforts of the government in the late 1980s to beautify and modernize Manila led to conflict and forced eviction of squatters and the demolition of their shanties in order to give way to the development of urban properties. It has 2 major rivers running through it: Pasig River and San Juan River. salvaging from garbage dumps. partially flat in the southwest and higher at the northeast. people living in slums do not fit in. are informal and illegal organizations that encourage the proliferation of . cannot find work are resigned to begging. profession or degree of social/ commercial/political power. The former is identified as individuals or families residing in urban and urbanizable areas whose income or combined household income falls below the poverty threshold. according to wealth. the upper. Pasig City and Quezon City.
in the Philippines. most utility companies have to raise their poles to almost 10 meters off the ground. They are forced to live under that situation because of economic factors. steps. unfinished or abandoned buildings. Concept to allow for a better understanding of Slum Communities squatters by occupying and appropriating vacant lands and holding them out to the homeless or squatters for rent or sale and/or engage in various forms of illegal activities. there are a number of organizations or clubs that perform outreach programs to slum communities. Major events in Philippine history occurred here such as. sometimes done by a ‘slum’ lord and sold or rented to a slum community. electricity. the government established land each block. they are an indication that a city has grown in size faster than existing facilities or infrastructure could provide. The site is approximately 100 hectares divided into 45 blocks and houses thousands of urban poor in here. Efforts have been made by the government to ensure national housing for the people. In the private sector. But in 1986. the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA) seeks to provide social housing to the marginalized sector by addressing their access to land and housing. In 2008. 2010 SLUM WEEKLY 5 Mandaluyong is a bustling commercial and business centre with headquarters for the Asian Development Bank and other major banks and corporations. objectives and goals for the development of the whole settlement. This triggers an expansion of the community depending on how much land and space can be occupied. etc. if not coming from a deep well. The law also mandates local government units to provide shelter to qualified beneficiaries and to undertake measures to curtail the activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates.[ ] Water supply and electricity are tapped or bought. livelihood and basic services. The Department for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). are located for use by the DSWD in Mandaluyong for their various programs and projects. the structure is slowly upgraded to a semi-temporary shelter and later to a more permanent dwelling. would be pumped out from the ground by attaching lines from the water mains. central to the city and the Metropolis and has access to all the things that the urban poor have came for. In 1980. churches and reputable schools. It is home to UniLab. Selecting a dwelling is fairly simple. the DSWD pushed for the sale of the land with 20% of the profits to be allocated for the illegal settlers. One such particular set of people that reside here are the legal slum residents of “Wellfareville” in Brgy. there are 3 kinds of slum housing: (1) temporary shelter made of salvaged materials. but with limits to water. An organic process is when the community relies on its own resources like building materials. be it values education or livelihood development. (2) semi-temporary shelter. In this regard. there is never a shortage of people who want to help or sponsor a community. for the expansion and development of the community. shanties began to sprout all over the area. the “Edsa Revolution” in 1986 which was staged along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue. Martinez Avenue which is one of the busiest streets running along “Welfareville”. usually illegally. Most of their public walkways. “Welfareville” is the perfect site for my proposal as it is government owned with practically no threat of eviction. and (3) permanent shelter. Where no threat of eviction exists. housing starts with temporary shelters made out of materials either picked up or salvaged or stolen. An induced process is when an organization outside a community interferes and operates with projects. It is a city that has everything and anything and it is in a location that is attractive to a number of citizens. along with the National Centre for Mental Health and the Women’s Correctional Institute. labour. mainly joblessness and poverty. The first step is the appropriation of a vacant land to settle on. The next step is to build their shanty or anything that will protect them from the elements. For a small group of families. INFRASTRUCTURE: What are the strategies adopted and resorted to by slum dwellers when building their community without any formal interventions? When and how do design and planning come into play? Urban ‘slum’ dwellers are a sign of a serious problem. but this was vetoed by the President of the Philippines. The growth of a community may be through an organic process or an induced process. I chose a triangular block because it best describes the kind of awkward space that is normally occupied by illegal settlers and it best displays their ability to grow and adapt according to what is available to them. Water. Residents have access to good hospitals. To be sure. The area is aptly called “Welfareville” as it is where most of the DSWD’s programs are situated. houses and people. The sites are usually either private or government-owned empty lots. Given the information above. minimal construction assistance for housing especially for resettlement projects. This explains why.SEPTEMBER 1-5. The inside of a slum community is a myriad of alleyways. It has 27 barangays (the smallest government administrative unit). or at times from a hydrant. a prominent pharmaceutical laboratory. I narrowed the location of my site to one triangular block along F. With this in mind. or. etc. Wires are connected to electric poles to tap into electricity and even TV cable and phone lines. Addition Hills. a major highway that stretches across the city. In fact. All government projects are geared towards land tenure. if not commis- .
If the private spaces are insufficient. By first placing a simple 1 sqm. I would start by building them the foundations that are necessary for them to have safe infrastructures in their community. candle. typhoons. the one basic problem they have is the provision of basic utilities. earthquakes. This explains why most expansions of the structures are upwards. sioned by the local Mayor. Local businesses concentrated in their community are “usually located near public streets or avenues and occupy the ground floor of houses. Looking back at the 4 aspects that I have enumerated. These sites are the first victims of floods. the development can be organized. The second floor is usually reserved for private use. A fire can start from a simple cooking accident or from intense heat during summer where temperatures can sometime soar as high as 38 degrees Celsius. 2010 4 Aspects Continuation. or it could be intentional. Also. shelter and water”. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But what concerns them the most is the everpresent threat of fire. fire trucks have no way to manoeuvre inside the snaking alleyways. is unpaved and muddy when wet. the growth of the community would be still within their own methods and processes. Since housing is more expensive to provide and would require a bigger budget from the government.. The regular use of cooking gas. “while humans have a wide range of needs.00 meter off the ground to protect them from floods during the rainy season.. housing issues can be resolved. allowing wider streets and better paths for the movement of people and small vehicles especially emergency vehicles. they must first meet very basic survival needs like food. living area and sleeping area.. The next step is to add 4 structural posts that are imbedded in the ground for additional support. unattractive. and sometimes even leaky pipes. garbage dumps or anything picked off the road. The ability of informal settlers to put these together to form shelter is amazing as they rely on basic hand tools such as a hammer.. Slum fires are also hard to control because oftentimes. The same can be said for ambulances when there are emergencies.. In this way. the development can be organized. The best way to approach the growing ‘slum’ issues in the city is to guide the settlers and not to attack them. either as dining area. so that they immediately have provisions for the necessary utilities. why not start off with providing them access to basic utilities. and housing loans may not be viable for the urban poor because of lack of paying capacity. Most materials used in building are mainly recycled materials from demolitions. Some houses also have roof decks that function as laundry area or function area for gatherings. exposed electrical wirings. . I recommend the elevation of their residences to at least a minimum of 1. make their dwellings virtual firetraps. People have to be carried out of their dwellings to where an ambulance is parked usually more THE PROPOSAL By introducing to them a system that improves their way of life. If they were given foundations to build upon and be treated as . main structural post made of concrete and steel with plugs for the water and electricity line that can be shared by 4 households at the most. For a small house. These spaces are usually shared by a family of 5 or more. and at times extend to relatives and close personal friends who have no place to stay and have just moved in from the province. abandoned structures. landslides etc.6 SLUM WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 1-5.by locating these posts in a manner that does not control but guide the growth of the community. allowing wider streets and better paths for the movement of people and small vehicles especially emergency vehicles. HAZARDS: The geographical definition for a slum settlement is one that is hazardous. health-threatening and protected against rising land values. a room would normally have multiple functions. By locating these posts in a manner that does not control but guide the growth of the community.. these are converted into another living space. saw and nails.
SEPTEMBER 1-5. If there is also a way that live bamboo can function as foundation sub-post.[ ] It is almost an organic process in a way as there are no drawings or plans drafted before they are developed. Tel and water lines Sub-structural post Cut Bamboo (pre-treated) elevated from the ground with metal caps and live bamboo bound together with a triangular block best describes the kind of awkward space that is normally occupied by illegal settlers and it best displays their ability to grow and adapt according to what is available to them What is good about squatter cities is that they improve the appearance of their structures steadily and gradually by themselves. the use of coconut fibre boards and bamboo as primary building materials. I propose. 2010 SLUM WEEKLY 7 LEGEND SITE PLAN Main concrete structural post. And the ability of the settlers to recycle materials makes their place a “green community”. weight bearing with provision for electrical. the ability of the community to expand upwards will not be hindered since bamboo grows rapidly. To contribute to the development of a “green community”. POSSIBLE OUTCOME OF HOUSING LAYOUT . cable.
The government can spend less in housing construction and more on health and livelihood for the urban poor. roads. Permanence is the key for them to be able to improve their stature in society and in life. Though in terms of population. If the government abides by this. this is due to the fact that what they have at present is enough and it is what gives their community that unique adaptive quality. and end out-of-city relocations and forced evictions it may contribute to urban progress. living conditions are less cramped and there is a better free flowing access all around the community. Hopefully it could also trigger a wave of design solutions to other urban problems. 2010 The proposal is a combination of an organic and induced process of forming the slum community. electricity. they are slowly contributing to the preservation of energy and natural resources hopefully causing a chain reaction of bringing the city into a more sustainable environment. they will be overcrowded but the density of a community in a confined area reduces cost in piped water. And to think this is all due to the slum community’s ingenuity and practicality. transport. In this way. In this process. the urban poor will no longer be considered as social outcasts. With the proposal. they will be better equipped in surviving the usual hazards that they face. and elevate their status from informal to formal settlers. both the residents and the government share control in the growth of the community. In terms of Infrastructure. PROJECTED COMMUNITY GROWTH PERSPECTIVE RENDERING OF THE COMMUNITY AND THEIR RESPECTIVE INTERIOR SPACES. With this in mind. the people will have more security in terms that the site is primarily in government lands and they have permission to inhabit the space. Though there is not much intervention in the appearance of their homes. I believe that through this process. maintain a stable life and live peacefully with the rest of the people in the city as just a “community”. And comunalitive spaces are created in between. . garbage collection. except for the recommendation of economical materials. they somehow regain their political rights especially rights to house and home. drains. rather they will be citizens that no longer have to live in fear and hardship every single day and is capable of earning a decent living. Socially.8 SLUM WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 1-5. health care and schools. sewers.
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