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Message - Re: Low Cost Housing

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Posted by  Gary R on February 18, 2003 at 14:09:26:

In Reply to:  Re: Low Cost Housing posted by Peter Camilleri on February 16, 2003 at 20:24:34:

A small house??! By western standards it would be considered a garage! The AIA's graphic standards for the MINIMUM interior dimensions of a two-car garage is 20' x 20'. Of course I understand the wrteched conditions people in the third world are living in, but to build structures of this size for them just continues their plight, as they will live in these buildings in overcrowded conditions. It is simply inhumane to design a tiny box and expect a family of 15 to live in it. What kind of improvement is that? Sure, it's better than having no shelter at all, but if we are serious about helping these people, we need to design to fit their needs, not their poverty. The reality is that, in the Third World, families are large. This is one of the prime reasons they live in poverty. When we design little boxes for them to crowd into, I think the only people who are made to feel good about it are the architects and people who funded it. It's just another way to make themselves feel good that they are really doing something about poverty. This approach has been tried time and again in the ghettos of the United States, and has failed abysmally every time. Instead of gratitude, the residents display resentment and vandalize the property until it is a useless shell. I can't say I have a better idea; I wish I did. But, I can say that this simply doesn't work. Cheaply built structures deteriorate rapidly, especially since the people living in them have no means of maintaining them. They have no pride in their new homes, either, and are not inclined to keep them up.

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