Learning from informal settlements: provision and incremental construction of housing for the urban poor in Davao City, Philippines

  • YEAR
    Malaque III, Isidoro
    Bartsch, Katharine
    Scriver, Peter
    2015 Conference Papers
    Architecture and Social Research
    Conference Papers


The incremental construction of housing for the urban poor is the main agent of progressive development in developing countries. Low income households in Davao City, Philippines, were classified into five different types from informal to formal housing. The aim of this paper is to explore the incremental construction of different housing types in the course of their development. Fieldwork revealed that the degree of security of tenure was directly related to the stages of incremental construction. For example, a simple dwelling in an informal settlement was upgraded with permanent building materials and standard methods of construction when the inhabitants’ degree of security improved. Over time, the physical condition of the house deteriorated when the inhabitants focused on payment for the land. Eventually, the completion of the house (defined here as a formal structure) coincided with legal ownership of the land. This typical incremental building pattern in informal environments, built by the urban poor, requires detailed understanding in order to provide effective housing interventions, and concomitant policy decisions, which are both appropriate and sustainable in developing countries.


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