A Nexus of Social Justice, Tradition, and Disaster Risk Reduction in Balakot, Pakistan: Fostering Independence or Dependence? [Field Report] Mohammad Ashraf Khan and Lian Loke
Settling between Legitimacy and the Law: At the Edge of Ulaanbaatar’s Legal Landscape
Ulaanbaatar is expanding rapidly at its edges through the construction of informal settlements by influxes of former nomads. In an unfolding narrative paralleling the population shifts, laws intended to govern urban settlement have themselves been unsettled. As migrants seek urban advantages — education, cultural cosmopolitinization, and economies of employment and consumption — they must negotiate the legal regime, embracing it when advantageous but selectively skirting its restrictions. Concerned for losing legitimacy, either from breaking laws too recklessly or adhering to laws too strictly, settlers have developed a discourse that tracks with shifts in legal codes. This article studies families navigating the edges of the legal landscape — veering out of and back into legitimacy — and concludes that constructing vernacular housing is crucial to their strategies of urban participation.
Unrepressing Class to Reinterpret the Tradition of Midcentury Modern Architecture and Its Preservation in Tucson, Arizona
Architect A. Quincy Jones designed one of the first modern post-World War II subdivisions for the builder Del Webb in 1948. At the time, his design for the houses and blocks in the development, which was known as Pueblo Gardens, gave form to then-popular ideas of modern living and a new vision of neighborhood physical heterogeneity. Preservation advocates have since evaluated Pueblo Gardens as historically significant but an unlikely candidate for conservation. The assessment reflects material changes to its built fabric, but it also raises important questions about the interpretation of Modern architecture and the preservation of modern subdivisions after they have become home to more working-class, racially diverse populations. The research presented here highlights the role of “white” middle-class aesthetics in postwar Modern architecture to reinterpret the place of Midcentury Modern tract homes in preservation discourse. Specifically, it questions assumptions about the tradition of preservation in diverse neighborhoods where racial and class distinctions are connected to aesthetic values.
A Future Vision for the Multiuse House in Kuwait: Between Acceptance and Rejection
Sura Saud Al-Sabah
Prior to the urban development of Kuwait, local residents performed many nonresidential and commercial activities within their houses, a condition that directly benefitted the house owners as well as the neighborhoods in which they lived. Although the diversity that such practices provided was subsequently lost for decades as a result of modern planning, this article argues that a revival of the multiuse house is currently underway. The article traces the causes for the loss of the multiuse house in the post-oil era, and illustrates some of the forces driving its resurgence, including the qualities that individuals are seeking through its revival. Interviews with Kuwaitis currently involved in multiuse house activities further reveal its social, economic and urban benefits. Finally, the article identifies measures needed to determine the overall acceptance/rejection of the multiuse house by the general public, and it reports on the outcome of a pilot survey revealing wide acceptance of the concept among Kuwaitis.
I Dwell in [Im]possibility: Legitimating the Informal Economy around the Bus Terminal in Kampung Melayu, Jakarta
Triatno Yudo Harjoko
This article challenges the dominant paradigm of legitimation as conceived through formal social structures. It argues that society is never mono-dimensional, and that in developing countries, especially, it is more typically characterized by duality. It has been widely observed by sociologists that each society has its own structure (as defined by Anthony Giddens), in which systems are organized according to sets of practices. Legitimation, as a process of making activities acceptable and normative, thus also can only be conceived as applying within each particular society. In this context, the possibility, or impossibility, of the informal economy to dwell in public urban space must be seen as subject to processes of informal legitimation according to communicative action. The article examines these issues with regard to the activities of ambulant traders around the bus terminal in Kampung Melayu, Jakarta.
A Nexus of Social Justice, Tradition, and Disaster Risk Reduction in Balakot, Pakistan: Fostering Independence or Dependence? [Field Report]
Mohammad Ashraf Khan and Lian Loke
A major cause for the massive destruction brought by the 2005 earthquake in Balakot, Pakistan, was structural collapse. Yet it has been revealed by a local NGO that some local people are still using the same post-and-lintel construction methods that failed in the earthquake. Why do these people continue to use an unsafe technology? What is preventing them from employing traditional practices of timber-based earthquake-resistant construction? Alternatively, why don’t they adopt other safe construction practices? Does this represent a simple gap in awareness or affordability, or is it the culmination of a more complex socio-political dynamic? This report investigates the uptake of alternative low-cost technological systems in the wake of efforts by the government and international aid agencies to implement more high-cost solutions in the area. Of particular interest is the case of the award-winning Cal-Earth model. The viability of this building system was demonstrated through the construction of approximately 500 small emergency shelters in 2006, but it has since been unable to capture the interest of local people. A key finding is that the lack of uptake is due to a gap between this model’s actual and perceived benefits. The report concludes this gap may be reduced by encouraging meaningful participation by local people in construction-technology decisions. However, a bigger issue in this and similar situations is the social-justice aspect of introducing alternative technologies in disadvantaged communities when such interventions foster dependence instead of independence.
A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature, and Technoscience, by Jiat-Hwee Chang
Reviewed by Cole Roskam
Homeland: Zionism as Housing Regime, 1860–2011, by Yael Allweil
Reviewed by Irit Katz
Building a World Heritage City: Sanaa, Yemen, by Michele Lamprakos
Reviewed by Montira Horyangura Unakul
Constructing the Colonized Land: Entwined Perspectives of East Asia Around WWII, edited by Izumi Kuroishi
Reviewed by Cecilia L. Chu
Architecture, Islam, and Identity in West Africa, Lessons From Larabanga, by Michelle Apotsos
Reviewed by Nnamdi Elleh