Housing and the City: case studies of integrated urban design
This case study report assembles a series of housing initiatives from different cities that are developed to promote inclusive, sustainable and integrated designs. The schemes range in scale and geographic location, but in each case represent a clear commitment to achieve positive social and environmental outcomes through innovative yet people and planet-focused design.
Housing is the backbone of a well-functioning and equitable city. The way in which housing is procured, financed, designed and allocated has significant implications for the lives of all urban residents. However, governments are failing to provide the human right of housing for all. The Council on Urban Initiatives has argued that mission-oriented approaches are needed to galvanise the whole of government engagement, while sectoral investment and cross-disciplinary collaboration are needed to realise the right to housing and prioritise the common good.
Housing has a profound spatial impact on cities. Apartment blocks, condominium towers, detached and terraced houses, self-built shacks and informal slums occupy by far the largest portion of urban land in cities around the world. Decisions about the physical distribution and design of housing will shape the social, economic and environmental dynamics for millions of urban residents for decades to come – particularly in Asia and Africa where urban populations are projected to balloon. Irresponsible development, poor community engagement, and overly permissive regulations and standards have encouraged architectural and urban design practices that foster inequality, exclusion and negative environmental impacts.
The report is divided into three sections: inclusive design, sustainable design and integrated design. Each section highlights examples of housing initiatives with short descriptive texts authored by individual Council members and their teams. From small-scale retrofits in Bogotá’s informal areas to Singapore’s massive state-driven investments, the case studies highlight that governing and designing housing for the common good is critical to the creation of just, green and healthy cities.