Making affordable housing livable: lessons in participatory planning and desig

April 19, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Moore Hall, Room: 258 and online

Brisk urbanization and inadequate planning are exacerbating inequality and vulnerability in Asian cities. Being deprived of decent shelter and adequate services marginalizes millions, yet affordable and culturally apt housing for the poor in developing countries continues to be scant and disappearing fast. Surabaya, Indonesia, has been a global pioneer of participatory and incremental pro-poor shelter efforts. Also required to overcome the shelter challenge are mass housing, and decentralization for more localized housing planning and development. Instead, decentralization challenges have made housing volume the overriding priority in the Global South, while housing that lets cultures and livelihoods flourish remains elusive. By discussing Surabaya’s shelter approaches of the last fifty years, I call for resuscitating a vital ingredient of good housing—design. Shelter policy has drifted afar from John F. C. Turner’s (an influential advocate of self-help) vision of housing as a verb—whereby people’s involvement in designing makes their habitats meaningful and stimulating. Despite decentralization, local potential, and precedence, the designing of rusunawa (vertical rental housing) in Surabaya today is neither local nor participatory, thereby diminishing their spatial, sociocultural, and economic relevance for the occupants. For Surabaya, and other developing cities, I recommend rekindling participatory design with multiple stakeholders for catalyzing a local ecosystem of designers and facilitators toward enhancing the livability of affordable housing.

Event Sponsor
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Mānoa Campus

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