Habitat 5.0 - Towards affordable and sustainable housing in the developing world: A pattern- and block chain-based approach

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Abstract Summary
Informal settlements are a problem, as they are unecological, unsafe and lack adequate social and technical infrastructure. Through the absence of planning and architectural expertise, land is densely built-up with no public spaces and proper streets. As a result of continuous urbanization, this problem will keep growing. The UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha stated in her 2018 report to the General Assembly: “Currently nearly one-quarter of the world’s urban population lives in informal settlements or encampments, most in developing countries but increasingly also in the most affluent countries. Living conditions are shocking and intolerable. In many cities in Africa, more than half of the population lives in informal settlements. In Asia, there are 520 million residents of informal settlements.” Following the initiative of UN Habitat, states have committed under Goal 11 of the Agenda for Sustainable Development to upgrade all informal settlements and ensure adequate housing for everyone by 2030. The Agenda aims to build upon the inherent capacities of informal settlement communities, and recommends supporting and enabling residents to participate in the upgrading processes. Some positive efforts have been made, but they always rely on individual initiatives by NGOs or socially responsible architects and planners. Selected examples are the work of Alejandro Aravena/Elemental in South America, who created intelligent design solutions for building new and better houses in situ, and the work of Balkrishna Doshi, India’s architect for the poor. The UN Habitat Agenda recommendations serve as a foundation for our strategy entitled “Habitat 5.0,” a social project comprising the appropriate urban development, design, planning and construction processes. The major goals: affordable living for everyone; using existing strengths, infrastructures and buildings; inclusion of current technologies; regard for worldwide expertise; consideration of ecological aspects (CO2 emissions and energy self-sufficiency); flexibility to enable future adaptations by the users. The guiding principles to achieve these goals are (*) the recognition of the right to remain in situ, so that residents retain their social connections; (*) access to serviced land and economical building materials for the self-construction of homes to inspire residents to get actively involved in upgrading their neighborhoods and dwellings; and (*) the participation of residents at all stages by integrating their skills and labor capital into upgrading programs. “Habitat 5.0” foresees a close integration of the digital and real worlds. The latter refers to spaces for housing, resources, and involved communities. The former refers to the employment of digitalization concepts to disseminate and reuse existing architectural expertise to be collected and structured in so-called “design patterns.” Patterns are a recognized approach that promotes learning from proven solutions. For example, each successful, well-used public space or building has specific, inherent qualities which shall be identified and generalized in the form of parameterizable patterns, leading to a global, open knowledge base of architectural expertise, including new materials. The basis is a “Pattern Language” with examples and rules for different applications. A new block chain-based infrastructure called “Brick-Chain,” which allows the participative, self-organized collection of patterns and their distribution in a fair and decentralized manner, is proposed to realize this. The digitalization of patterns facilitates further and flexible development, combinations, sharing, community building, and licensing models via the Brick-Chain. The advantage of this suggested approach is to reach beneficiaries on a large scale and therefore make a bigger impact than previous, isolated initiatives by applying “disruptive innovations.” The motto is “quality good enough” to encourage the self-building of houses with appropriate ecological materials – safer, cheaper, faster and sustainable, supporting the greater vision of “Glocalization.”
Abstract ID :
ISO479
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Full paper :
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co-principal
,
Architects Tillner & Willinger
Professor
,
Vienna University of Technology

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