Capacity Building in Urban Design: Participatory Processes with the Urban Poor

By Clarisa Diaz.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents research on creating design frameworks which allow local communities at risk of eviction to improve and maintain their own living environments. Work with urban poor communities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will be presented as case studies to visualize methodology in practice.

The topic of how to resolve slum upgrading in urban communities is a global problem crucial to the development of Cambodia. Particularly in Phnom Penh hundreds of communities have been displaced. Most of these communities have been relocated to peripheral rice fields with no services, work or basic facilities. The need for capacity building in upgrading existing urban spaces is desired in order to divert the ramifications of relocation to empty peripheral land.

The purpose of this paper is to describe ways of working with architecture, urban planning and community development. This includes a toolkit of ways to approach a community at risk of eviction, recognizing community initiatives and working with them to use tools such as maps, alternative design plans and self-improvement methods for slum upgrading. The toolkit methods for capacity building will be used as examples from the field, providing an invaluable resource for researchers and practitioners alike.

Keywords: Community Development, Capacity Building, Social Innovation, Architecture, Urban Planning, Design

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp.257-270. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.980MB).

Clarisa Diaz

Senior Researcher, Community Architect and Designer, Alternative Housing and Urban Planning, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The professional background of Clarisa Diaz is concentrated in the crux of research investigating relationships between architecture, urbanism and social studies. Diaz has previously completed research and design work with Palestinian refugees under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Chilean social housing residents under the US Fulbright Scholar Program, and Chinese villagers under the DESIS Network. Diaz has recently published essays about social design and the displaced in two award winning books and co-authored academic papers for various design journals and conferences. These publications recently include an essay for the New York Times acclaimed book Learning from Hangzhou, Parsons Journal of Design Strategies, Asia Design Journal, and Mind Design: Our Glocal Future. Diaz is at a moment in her career of collectively sharing her experiences from the field, including work in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and the United States. Diaz has also exhibited her work and curated presentations about the urban poor and design with the North American and Chilean Institute of Culture, US Embassy, Shanghai Biennale, and various international universities.


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