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TRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW

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Volume 3.2

DISAPPEARING DICHOTOMIES:
FIRST WORLD-THIRD WORLD, TRADITIONAL-MODERN

Janet Abu-Lughod
In recent years facile, popular dichotomies such as that dividing First World and Third World, traditional and modern, have been strained to the breaking point.  An important trend in today’s increasingly interconnected world is the decreased congruence between spatial location and social formation.  Parts of the economies of so-called Third World countries are now closely connected to an international, First World circuit of trade, technology and finance at the same time that they are tied through intricate subcontracting to local, “traditional” circuits.  Such patterns have also emerged in the First World, and will no doubt appear in the former Second World.  The purpose of this paper is to reconceptualize terms related to the old dichotomies, paying special attention to the notion of the “traditional.”  This is seen as a quality more related to process than product.

REBIRTH OF A RAJPUT VILLAGE
Paul Oliver
Housing the homeless after disasters frequently demonstrates external and state architectural intervention in a vernacular tradition.  Often, as in Gediz, Turkey, this results in culturally inappropriate house design and may incur settlement relocation.  Indigenous capacities to recover and rebuild are frequently overlooked.  The self-regeneration of Jubbo, a Rajput village in the Pakistan Punjab, demonstrates this ability to recover and rebuild.  This article compares the results of a postdisaster study of Jubbo with a study made shortly before the village was destroyed in a flood.  It concludes by indicating where external assistance rather than intervention could be most beneficial.

AESTHETIC POLITICS: SHANTYTOWN OR NEW VERNACULAR?
Lisa R. Peattie
The world we see is for us always both form and significance.  Our aesthetic experience reflects both.  Thus, there is a political aspect to aesthetics and an aesthetic aspect to political judgment and political struggle.  This article reviews the aesthetic politics around Third World popular settlements.  I review first the way settlements are “seen” in the literature of academic analysis.  Then I show how it was possible for me to see the fragile beauty in a squatter dwelling and why this perception was impossible for others.  Finally, I suggest how designers could help legitimize the claim of poor people to the city by aesthetic politics.

ON CULTURAL LANDSCAPES
Amos Rapoport
In this largely conceptual paper it is argued that cultural landscapes are the subject matter in the study of environment-behavior relations generally, and in the study of traditional dwellings and settlements specifically.  The concept of cultural landscape is clarified by discussing its two components — “landscape” and “cultural.”  A number of important consequences of making cultural landscapes the subject are then discussed.  These include insights about the components of cultural landscapes that produce their character and ambience; how perception of cultural landscapes relates to modes of travel and, hence, to changes in technology and other aspects of culture; insights into the nature of design as a process; discussion of the role of ordering systems and, hence, a clarification of how cross-cultural studies should be done; and, finally, advocacy of the study of high style and vernacular, and the relations between them, together.  This last strategy, it is argued, is essential if either is to be understood.

FROM EXPLOITATION OF THE FOREST TO URBAN DEPENDENCE
IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Christian Coiffier
For centuries European intrusion has profoundly modified the socioeconomic structures of the peoples of the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.  One effect has been that many villagers now immigrate to new urban areas.  Until the 1970s the construction techniques of the Sepik peoples were solely based on the exploitation of their physical environment (forest, swamps, river).  At the present time, however, those who live in urban zones have become dependent on the town for their food and housing.  Meanwhile, those who remain in the villages import more and more manufactured products from the city.