Casa Legal, a slum inhabitant centered method for all inclusive slum upgrading

                                                              

Casa Legal, a slum inhabitant centered method for all inclusive slum upgrading

International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP)
Solution proposed by: 
Studio ROSA (NL), Urban Sustainability Rwanda (RW), … (BR)
In a Nutshell: 
We help slum inhabitants understand the possibilities and power they have to initiate the improvement of their own situation. Ways of working with formal institutions are mediated in all relevant aspects: spatial, legal, financial and social. We continuously support paving the way through the complex process of implementing formalization.
Where and When: 
We set up field offices, using local partners: one in Paraisopolis, Sao Paulo (since 2014), the other in Kigali, Rwanda (since 2015). We are preparing to expand to Mexico in June 2016, and to Indonesia by November 2016. In the desk office in the Netherlands we digest historic examples and ongoing research and develop and experiment with tools.
Challenges: 
Everyday a billion people remain to live in an informal settlement of some sort. Many efforts to help them, but a lot of research does not fully reach the inhabitants at the bottom. At the same time people are screaming from the bottom, but their cries get lost at the institutes at the top. We believe the scale and complexity are beyond management and governance. What we need is engagement and empowerment. Our goals is to engage and empower slum inhabitants to: understand their situation through mapping, generate integrated solutions, make partnerships, implement their plans and realize them.
Innovation: 
We are developing two essential tools to engage and empower slum inhabitants: an innovative digital app and a physical urban (re)development game. We believe there are still steps to take to mobilize all the existing research so it can actually become a guiding map. Not just the generation of randomly categorized data. Our goal is to geographically and procedurally map existing and planned developments, so that peers can actually use them to find their own way. To reach a dialogue the complex processes with non-professionals, we believe we need to develop the tools to facilitate this.
Concept: 
The world is divided. We see a big gap between the formal in informal parts of the world. And for every country, city, community and citizen the shape of the gap is different. So we need a very personal approach, one-on-one. From the point of view of the inhabitants we mediate the dialogue they may be having with each relevant formal institute on the other side of the gap. We believe that we can close the gap from both sides by ABC: Atunement (adjust to the situation and perceptions), Buoyancy (persistence and endurance) and Clarity (evidence and understanding. Our user centered approach requires that we take responsibility for the whole development process, without ignoring demand that might be ‘not our focus’. While the estimate worldwide slum populations is around one billion people
Description: 
Luckily the world is changing. Increasing possibilities to digest information into big data, we: mobilize existing knowledge and implement that in existing situations, responding to precise and actual demand. We capitalize on the power of the prevalent smartphone, on the one hand structuring input, while giving immediate feedback and imagining specific future scenarios. So we will conduct these one-on-one conversations, mapping each individual situation. Using an optimized intake process (read: innovative digital app), we link personal interviews and real life workshops directly to an automized database of precedents. Outcoming solutions are hands-on and specific through (mass) customization, linking historic experiences and examples from other geographical locations to the challenges at hand. Incoming results are continuously fed, digested and tagged in an organically growing databank, benefiting peers looking for similar solutions and challenging professionals to improve existing solutions. Once these mostly uncharted processes are well developed, mapped and shared, they can function like bridges, supported by bridgeheads on both informal and formal sides. The physical urban (re)development game is a necessary tool that supports bridging the gap. The game levels the playing field between experienced professionals and the actual experts of the city (the inhabitants) while having complex and multidisciplinary discussions and explorations. We have tested the prototype of the games several times on both non-professionals as professionals, young and old, and have tweaked the balance between all relevant aspects (spatial, financial, legal and social).
Impacts: 
We will speed up the process of creating sustainable and inclusive cities. Our approach aims to empower the inhabitants themselves to negotiate better plans with formal institutions. In this way their wishes are optimally represented, while at the same time lowering the stress on local mandated government agencies. The resulting projects are fitting an actual demand by definition, so the expected ‘fitness’ in the future is much greater than ‘one size fits all’ generalized solutions.

Photo Gallery

Tuca Vieira (with permission); Kria Djoyoadhiningrat
Tuca Vieira (with permission); Kria Djoyoadhiningrat
Tuca Vieira (with permission); Kria Djoyoadhiningrat
Tuca Vieira (with permission); Kria Djoyoadhiningrat
 Tuca Vieira (with permission); Kria Djoyoadhiningrat
Tuca Vieira (with permission); Kria Djoyoadhiningrat