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Affordable Housing as Development Aid

It was not by coincidence that the UN Economical and Social Council decided in 1948, only a few years after the actual foundation of the United Nations as an organization, to start a division on Housing and Town and Country Planning.1 This division was a central component in the larger so-called technical assistance programme that […]

Mediating Informality

In 1949, Lima’s modernist apotheosis appeared imminent: the Plan Piloto, the city’s first master plan, had applied the techniques of scientific planning to analyse the city at its various scales – from the historical core to the agricultural areas supplying it with food – and to establish a logical course for ‘channeling its urban development’.1 […]

To be Continued . . .

Self-help housing is a timeless social practice to satisfy people’s need for shelter. In broad terms, it can be defined as an activity where citizens, individually or collectively, develop a great deal of self-determination in housing production. It does not mean, however, that it implies complete autonomy or autarky. In effect, self-help housing is far […]

An Urban Manifesto

I believe in the cities of India: Like the wheat fields of Punjab, and the coalfields of Bihar, they are a crucial part of our national wealth. They generate the skills we need for development: Doctors, nurses, lawyers, administrators, engineers – not just from the great metropolises, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, but from a […]

Affordable Cities

As a pioneer of low-cost housing and a former chairman of the National Commission on Urbanisation, Charles Correa has throughout his long career stressed the crucial relationship between affordable housing, public transport and job location. In the early 1960s, Correa, along with two other colleagues, actively championed this idea and proposed a radical restructuring of […]

Poblado Dirigido de Entrevías

MadridFrancisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, Manuel Sierra Nava & Jaime de Alvear Criado

Towards the end of the 1950s, Spain, which was still recuperating from two wars – the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War – was faced with the reconstruction process as well as the planning and implementation of new urban developments. General Franco’s autocratic regime was forced to combine  emergency measures to eradicate shantytowns […]

Fria New Town

FriaMichel Écochard; Guy Lagneau, Michel Weill & jean Dimitrijvic; Michel kalt, Daniel Pouradier-Duteil & Piere Vignal

Fria, in Guinea, is a prime example of French late-colonial industrial New Town planning. It was designed and built from scratch between 1956 and 1964 to house both the senior staff and workers of a new bauxite extraction and aluminium production plant owned by the French company Péchiney. The planning and construction of a factory […]

Tema Manhean

TemaMaxwell Fry & Jane Drew

In 1952, a year after Kwame Nkrumah became the first Prime Minister of what was then the British colony of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), the decision was made to build a brandnew harbour as part of the ambitious Volta River Project.1 For the relocation of Tema, a small fishing village that stood in the […]


TemaConstantinos Doxiadis

In 1957, Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana independent. While Ghana was still a British colony, the decision was made to build Tema Harbour, as part of the Volta River Project.1 Along the way, it was decided that an entire new city in this area was needed. An English planning team began this process in […]

Urbanización Caja de Agua

LimaJunto Nacional de la Vivienda

The Caja de Agua development was initially proposed by the Peruvian state housing agency in 1961, as part of its programme to create a new kind of housing  project: the Urbanización Popular de Interés Social (UPIS, or Low-Income Social Housing Subdivision). The UPIS offered organized urban development to a  minimum standard, substantially below previous government-sponsored […]


TehranGruzen & Partners

During the 1960s and 1970s, the close economic ties between the USA and Iran encouraged many American firms to develop various mega-projects in Iran. In  1966, the Iranian Ministry of Housing asked Victor Gruen to prepare a comprehensive master plan for Tehran in collaboration with his Iranian partner Abdolaziz Farmanfarmaian. Gruen’s urban theory, entitled The […]

Shushtar New Town

ShushtarKamran Diba

Shushtar New Town is one of the most well-known housing projects in contemporary Iranian architecture. Located close to the ancient city of Shushtar in the southwest of Iran, Shushtar New Town follows the traditional urban pattern of Iranian cities with an interwoven urban fabric and (mud)brick as construction material. The project was designed by Kamran […]