Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Junko Yamamoto

Second Advisor

Danniely Staback Rodriguez

Third Advisor

Debbie Chen


Already dense urban areas will inevitably require further densification and sprawl. Given the United Nations projection of 68% of the World’s population living in cities by 2050, there is an urgency to resolve matters of urban expansion. At this time, it is estimated that 25% of the world’s urban population reside within the construct of a self-built settlement. Undoubtedly, these communities face a wide range of challenges including, but not limited to, a lack of urban infrastructure necessary to support their health and wellness, a lack of transportation to the inner city, a lack of access to healthcare and educational facilities, an inability to claim their land, and the absence of mainstream acceptance as an integral part of their city. This thesis wholeheartedly acknowledges the hardships of such communities and does not aim to romanticize them; instead its objective is to learn from their architectural achievements.

This project aims to create a new architectural typology by shifting the role of the architect from one that is prescriptive to one that is a facilitator for the people. By designing an infrastructural shell that considers access to utilities, accessibility, and safety concerns, and acting as a resource to the community, the architect can provide a safe and affordable neighborhood condition that does not constrict the freedom of its occupants to tailor their spaces to their needs as well as grow over time.



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