Published in DASH#12-13 – Global Housing
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Editorial Dash #12-13

Last year, during a DASH seminar held in Delft in the summer of 2014, Charles Correa held an ardent plea for an architecture of affordable housing that starts  from space and openness, rather than bulk and density.

In his mind, models for large-scale and affordable housing were all too often based on the maximization of numbers, while the need to make space for an everyday life in which living and working can be combined, and growth and development remains possible, was  forgotten. The opposites he articulated highlight the dilemma of affordable housing: despite the often massive economic and spatial pressure in the cities, how can city dwellers that have no or a limited income be protected from having to live in a minimal provision in which there is no room for the creation of businesses and social networks?

Cities in the Global South are expanding fast due to rapid population growth and unprecedented immigration from rural areas. At the same time, the demand for affordable housing is also increasingly difficult to meet in the developed West. The major cities in this part of the world are so successful and attractive that housing is likely to become unaffordable. The current influx of immigrants and refugees make the shortage of affordable housing even more pressing.

This edition of DASH focuses on the issue of affordable housing design as an architectural challenge. DASH traces the global search for models for large-scale and affordable housing. Articles and plan documentations give an apparently kaleidoscopic and fragmented picture of this development, but on closer inspection there
are a number of continuous lines to be discerned in the ways the issue is dealt with. The essays and projects span 150 years and five continents and show the  trong international dimension that the issue, characterized by confrontations between concepts developed elsewhere and specific local conditions, has had for  decades.

The results of these exchanges have been highly diverse, ranging from minimal sites-and-services approaches to grand and detailed megastructures. The success of projects has also varied widely. The Victorian Peabody Estates built to replace the London slums remain virtually unchanged 100 years later; other  projects disintegrated mere years after their completion, some stand vacant and some are to be demolished. The results of models based on growth and
change over time are also as diverse as they are unpredictable.

This issue, a concise DASH world atlas of affordable housing, is the beginning of a large, long-term research and educational project at the department of  Architecture of the Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment at Delft University of Technology in which analyses of models and realized projects from the past and the present are connected to an exploration of the possibilities of the future. While working on this publication, we received the sad news that Charles Correa died on 16 June 2015. His manifesto for the city and a conversation with him held shortly before his death form the heart of this DASH. We dedicate this edition to Correa and to his enduring significance as a source of inspiration and advocate for what is still the world’s biggest spatial design challenge: the creation of cities that are accessible to everybody and in which there is place for everyone to live and work.