Elective Course



Sustainable housing typologies for the community


Francesco Rossini

Summer Course in collaboration with the University of Santo Tomas, Manila.

This course offers the opportunity to explore the area of the Baseco Compound, one of the densestinformal settlements in Manila. In the last ten years, the district has suffered from natural disastersand high levels of crime and poverty. Due to its proximity to Manila Bay, it is particularly vulnerable toriver flooding and storm surges (Perez et al., 2015).

The need for housing and the extremely high population density have put incredible pressure onthe basic infrastructure and community services, leading to overcrowded and environmentallyunsustainable urban areas. The spontaneous growth that characterises the development of informalsettlements must be systematised with innovative methodologies to establish a long-term planningstrategy.

The course offers a learning experience by using the informal city as a living laboratory for tryingnew ideas of upgrading and design solutions for low-income districts. Students will design housingprototypes for the community of BaSECo by using a limited budget and local materials. The typicalplot size of a housing unit is 4×5 meters, and the students have to develop a series of constructiondrawings to allow the community to build the house by themselves.

In this summer elective, students will learn about the different characteristics and issues thatdistinguish the urban structure of the informal settlements. The knowledge of the urban environmentthrough the upgrading approach represents a key aspect in which students could come to understandjust how significant minor improvements could be for the local community.

The outcome, based on the students’ analysis and virtual community engagement, will be the study ofhousing units that potentially can be realized by the community with the aim to offer alternativeand sustainable solutions to improve the condition of low-income neighborhoods.

Sustainable Housing for Reyes Family

Group members


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