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Exploring Self-Generated Block Consolidation to Accommodate Amenity-Based Functional Interventions

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Abstract

Self-generated informal settlements are the product of incremental, individual decisions to build upon land which leads to a gradual aggregation of buildings that form urban blocks (Sioufi, 1981). The resulting block shapes and sizes may be suitable for meeting an individual’s needs for housing, but may not meet the community’s needs for amenities that have a larger footprint or required area. Based on measures tested and developed in the work of Colaninno et al in Barcelona (Colaninno et al., 2011) and Song and Knaap in Portland (Song and Knaap, 2007); this study firstly analyses self-generated urban blocks in terms of their shape and size, and then explores how self-generated blocks can be further consolidated to improve their resilience and allow for a wider range of community amenities such as schools, hospitals, etc. This type of informed intervention will improve community living standards and allow the settlement to develop into a holistic functional neighbourhood that can easily be incorporated into the wider urban fabric. The methodology of this study uses two urban morphology measures; square compactness (Maceachren, 1985; Steadman et al., 2000), which measures the block’s deviation from a square, and elongation (Angel et al., 2010; Schumm, 1956), which uses the longest axis of the shape to measure its deviation from a circle. The area and perimeter of the block will also be considered according to the proposed intervention. The case studies selected are settlements that are self-generated, rather than appropriated settlements or settlements that were originally formal.It is expected that blocks can be consolidated to accept functions which require a large area, but since the existing blocks often contain housing, a holistic intervention plan (Levy, 1999) will be presented that consolidates blocks, proposes new functions, moves housing to a suitable nearby area and reroutes streets to allow access without disrupting existing functions.