Berend Strijland is an architect who works with NLÉ, an architecture, design and urbanism practice focused on developing cities. Since joining in 2011 he has been involved in several of NLÉ’s projects, including the acclaimed Makoko Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria.
Rohan Varma graduated as an architect from KRVIA (University of Mumbai) in 2009. After working for two years at Charles Correa Associates in Mumbai, he was invited to teach for a year at the KRVIA in Mumbai. In 2011, he was awarded the JN Tata and KC Mahindra Scholarships to pursue higher studies abroad, subsequently graduating with honorable mention from the Delft University of technology (TU Delft) in 2013 with a Masters in Architecture. His final year thesis project Integrating Informality under the tutelage of Prof. Dick van Gameren was nominated for the Dutch Archiprix Award. Since graduating he is working as an architect at the Delft based Mecanoo Architecten, while simultaneously writing articles on affordable housing and informality in the Developing World along with professors from the TU Delft.
Jaap is urban designer, architect and partner of Posad-Rosa Estratégias Espaciais, Spatial Strategies. Since 2008 he carried out various projects in Brazil in the formal and informal city. He believes that good spatial strategies render the formal/informal dichotomy irrelevant.
“In the past years I have worked in various Brazilian communities and grass-root projects, but also for formal clients. During the TU Delft informality meeting I would like to focus on how dealing with informality is inescapable when doing projects in Brazil. Questions on how to deal with informal processes in the city always pop-up, also while working formal clients as municipalities. This leads to interesting situations and solutions that attempt to bridge the gap between what is often seen as a dichotomy. I will explain this showing a project we have recently done for the municipality of São Bernardo, which asked us the devise a strategy to improve the quality of their sidewalks.”
Dr. Diego Sepulveda is a designer and a regional planner. He is specialized in regional development with experiences on infrastructural development and socio spatial integration, with particular interest on the conditions for integration of the local levels on the metropolization processes. Lately his work is defined by the integration of the climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in a developing economic context.
Position & organizations:
– teacher and senior researcher, coordinator of the Complex city region Lab, department of Urbanism at Delft University of technology;
– guest professor at amongst others Buenos Aires University, Vienna University, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile;
– active researcher at the Randstad Centre for spatial planning in The Nederland, from where he has participate as consultant for diverse governmental and non governmental projects, In China, India and several cities in Latin-America;
– diverse publication, his work have been part of several studies from academia to multilateral agencies (e.g. the world bank and the inter-American developing bank).
Laura Smits has been working in Haiti since 2012. First working on participatory urban design and mapping in informal neighbourhoods of Port au Prince with Architecture for Humanity; then for UN Habitat documenting informal urbanisation processes and working with government on spatial planning and housing policy, and now for Cordaid on a project about upgrading and activating public space.
In Haiti, the Canaan area north of Port au Prince is a fascinating example of informal urbanisation. In less than five years, the area went from being uninhabited to housing around 150,000 people. Analysing the institutional and social processes at play in the settlement of the area can provide us with valuable insights in informal urbanisation, but also is key in developing appropriate ‘interventions’ for the area.
Vera is an urban planner working as a technical advisor for CRS. In (post-) disaster and –conflict settings she seeks to assist affected communities with community based local solutions that offer safe, adequate and durable shelter within an integrated settlement approach. She has worked in several emergency and long-term urban and rural reconstruction projects in Haiti, Pakistan, Philippines, Central African Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina and Gaza.
Giorgio Talocci is a Teaching Fellow in the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (University College London), where he teaches the modules ‘Critical Urbanism Studio II’ and ‘Urban Design for Development’ and coordinates the DPU summerLab workshop series. In the last years, Giorgio and the MSc BUDD team and students have been working along with urban poor communities, grassroots organisations, networks of professional and academics. Treading on the multiple thresholds between Global North and South, formality and informality, doing and not doing, design as activism and design as research, they endeavour toward a collective, shared and people-driven production of space and knowledge in nowadays’ contested urbanisms.
“Studying at TU Delft I have developed a special interest for social and environmental sustainability as well as creating healthier and balanced communities. Being extremely concerned about our global future I am exploring how I could contribute to a better world in the most varying geographical contexts. That is why I am initiating the ‘Confronting [In]Formality’ Group.” Daniel’s LinkedIN
“Being trained in the field of urbanism at four different universities made me fully aware of the remarkable complexity behind the (re)production of forms and patterns within our cities. Thus, as an urban specialist I am extremely motivated to work on developing new models to shape and design cities based on flexibility, self-organisation and spontaneous growth. That is why I am initiating the ‘Confronting [In]Formality’ Group.” Todor’s LinkedIN
“As an urbanist I see informality as the sum of all non-professional involvement in the city. Studying and including this involvement is vital for the practice of urbanism, as it gives academics, professionals and students an extended insight in the workings of the city. However, to do this we need to discuss and share our experiences with informality. That is why I am initiating the ‘Confronting [In]Formality’ group.” Yos’ LinkedIN
“Throughout the mastertrack (Urbanism, TU Delft) I developed a great interest in the uneven distribution of benefits in the flourishing developing world. This urban divide is often represented by major contrasts which rarely associate with the complex reality of everyday life and realistic future alternatives. As an urban planner I am concerned about the approach of governments towards informality. That is why I am initiating the ‘Confronting [In]Formality’ Group.” Belinda’s LinkedIN