Recent Posts by Thomas
The Quinta Monroy housing project. Photo Credit Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile/Flickr
Thinking “Incrementally”: Addressing the Global Housing Deficit by Engaging the Poor
Surprising many in the architectural community, this year’s prestigious Pritzker Prize went to Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. Though the award—often regarded as the Nobel Prize of architecture—prompts images of iconic skyscrapers or cultural centers, Aravena initially achieved fame for his firm’s ...
The story Lima’s Villa El Salvador shows how communities and local governments can work together to make sure that informal development occurs in a structured and ordered way. Photo by Alex Proimos/Flickr.
Lima’s Villa El Salvador: A Story of Structured Informal Development
Although Lima’s Villa El Salvador neighborhood was just a dusty plain called the Tablada de Lurín in 1971, it would soon become home to some of the city’s poorest residents. At the time, there were no electricity lines, no wells, ...
A spiritual gathering of millions of people in India, the Kumbh Mela can be considered a temporary urban environment and offers many fascinating insights for urbanists. Photo by AlGraChe/Flickr.
Friday Fun: Lessons and Innovations from India’s Temporary City, the Kumbh Mela
In January, 2013, a city emerged on the banks of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in Allahabad, India. Temporary bamboo and fabric structures appeared on a floodplain that had been underwater just weeks before. Metal plates were laid down for ...
São Paulo has historically struggled to expand fast enough to match rapid population growth, resulting in many informal favelas housing residents in the city's periphery. Photo by Gabriel Cabral/Flickr.
Why planning for expansion helps build sustainable, equitable cities
Consensus is building around the many benefits of compact cities. Overall, compact cities use fewer resources, produce fewer carbon emissions, and provide better quality of life for their inhabitants than their sprawled counterparts. In rapidly urbanizing countries in the global ...
Governments can improve the livelihoods of female street vendors by creating safe public spaces and supporting member-based groups of informal workers. Photo by Jeff DeMaria/Flickr.
Recognizing the role of gender in the informal urban economy
The informal economy is often referred to as the “shadow economy,” a glaring indicator of its absence from the eyes of policymakers. As discussed on TheCityFix, street vendors are frequently ignored in surveys of jobs and economic productivity, despite their ...
Caption: Cities can dramatically improve street vendors’ livelihoods by providing sufficient space and infrastructure for vending. Photo by Prasanth Chandran/Flickr.
Making space for street vendors: Towards equitable urban development
As previously discussed on TheCityFix, informal street vendors in cities around the world experience daily challenges to their economic livelihoods. For example, street vendors are perceived to be detrimental to city life, unhygienic, noisy, and to obstruct smooth flow of ...
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