Architecture's Poverty

Architecture's Poverty

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Can architecture play a positive role in the war against poverty? This question lies that the heart of Architecture's Poverty in which Nezar AlSayyad argues that too often architects working with the poor pursue the traditional professional/client approach. As a result, they design for, rather than with the poor, and apply practices ill-suited to the needs of poor communities. Further, some development aid agencies working with architects take a 'one size fits all' approach to providing for the poor, assuming that speed of delivery is all important. He traces the changing role and education of architects over time and in different geographical contexts. He describes how in the early twentieth century architecture focused on generating practical built solutions for complicated social and political problems, but later forgot its social mission, focusing instead on image and spectacle. He goes on to show how today both pedagogic and professional interventions, too often view poverty almost exclusively through the landscape of the slum - a situation exacerbated in some cases by international media coverage. Finally, he argues that for architecture to contribute to poverty action, practice must extend beyond the traditional definitions to include approaches to pedagogy and practice that challenge the hierarchical and superficial approaches that benefit architects more than the communities they claim to more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138848573
  • 9781138848573

About Nezar Alsayyad

Nezar AlSayyad is an architect, planner, urban designer, and urban historian. He is a Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Urban History at the University of California at Berkeley, where he currently serves as Chair of the University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and Director of the International and Area Studies Graduate Program. In 1988, AlSayyad co-founded the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE). Today, he still serves as the association's President and Editor of its highly acclaimed peer-reviewed journal Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review. AlSayyad is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of many books, including Streets of Islamic Cairo (1981); The Design and Planning of Housing (1984); Dwellings, Settlements and Tradition (1989); Cities and Caliphs (1991); Forms and Dominance (1992); Al Mudun Fi Sadr Al-Islam (In Arabic) (1996); Consuming Tradition, Manufacturing Heritage (2001); Hybrid Urbanism (2001); Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam (translated to Arabic, Spanish, and Turkish) (2002); The End of Tradition (2004); Making Cairo Medieval (2005); Cinematic Urbanism (2006); The Fundamentalist City? Religiosity and the Remaking of Urban Space (2010); Cairo: Histories of a City (2011); and Traditons: The 'Real' the Hyper and the Virtual in the Built Environment (2014). Additionally, he has written, co-produced, and co-directed two NEA-funded public television programs, "Virtual Cairo" and "At Home with Mother Earth."show more

Table of contents

Prologue: Architecture's Poverty, 1. An Argument for Architecture and Poverty, 2. Seeing the Poor Historically, 3. Imagining Poverty in the Era of Modernity, 4. The Disappearance of a Social Mission, 5. The Slum as Interface between Architecture and Poverty, 6. Architecture's Potential: Spectacles of Poverty and Models of Practiceshow more