Medellin, Colombia Workshop: Mapping, Forecasting & Acting Informal Settlements

International collaboration between MIT School of Architecture + Planning, the Architecture Department and the Department of Planning at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin and the planning council of the Comuna 8 in order to envision, plan, and design prototypical criteria and design alternatives as relevant proposals for decision makers, the community, institutions and other stakeholders around issues of alternatives for the growth of informal settlements in the city of Medellin Comuna 8 (District 8). This course is open to all SA + P students, with interest in Planning and Design areas. We will examine the challenges of growth management of cities in the global south, its goal is twofold on one side is interested in the creation of predictive models of city growth, as tools to inform design and planning decision making process and secondary but maybe more import is interested in generate urban development strategies that use the inherent qualities of the informal development in the cities in the south as a way to direct growth in ways that is sustainable an equitable.  Concentrates on developing the knowledge and skills to make one capable of analyzing and planning in circumstances in which to intervene in the spaces of urban informality.  Develops tools to understand the evolution of this ever changing urban forms and introduce the students to new typologies of interventions on such contexts. 

Project Goals

The proposed workshop will examine challenges of growth and development in the contexts of urban informality in the city of Medellin. The course intends to:

  • Map and understand ways in which informal settlements have historical growth

  • Envision trajectories based on ongoing development patterns and proposed projects.

  • Understand the context in which state intervention happens in contexts of urban informality.

  • Explore alternative interventions and urban and policy strategies to those set up in current plans for the study area based on the concepts developed by the community.

  • Develop client issues and proposals into action strategies.

  • Benefit from inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural debate/work, in order to effectively address the challenges related to intervening in a unique context.

  • Develop criteria and design strategies and communication skills that make the proposals relevant for decision makers, the community, institutions, and other stakeholders. 

Class size is limited 10 students. Students will spend 9 days in Colombia (required) in January 2014 on an initial workshop, visit sites of urban projects in Informal settlements and meet with community partners in the city: Peers at the Universidad Nacional of Colombia in Medellin and Community planning group for the Comuna 8. Work will continue during the spring 2014 semester both in Medellin, Colombia and in Cambridge, MA. A final presentation of the results (booklet) will happen in MIT at the end of the spring semester with the participation of faculty and students from Medellin. 

  • Selection by application
  • Selected students should also register for 11.S955 for 6 units during IAP