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Informality

Thesis project based in Jingdezhen in China, this is part of a series of studies within a research unit that explores the possibility of the “informal” – illegal/self-built/un-taxed/unregulated – within urbanism.

Jingdezhen is a city where the informal already exists due to historic growth and is currently dealt with either through gentrification and displacement of the current residents to city edge tower blocks, or a temporary masking of their existence using sign boards and plastic screens. This is not a unique situation, but what if the city could plan/design to include the informal?

Through observations, we can see positive qualities within the informal especially within the shared spaces such as street life, social interdependencies, alternative commerce, inclusion in contrast to what we see amongst the new and planned homogenised blocks where these have little presence.

This is a study into how emergence can be allowed and influenced within urban territories by understanding the underlying rules of decisions and existing spatial constructs.

New spatial types (geno-types) as dwellings or urban spaces like squares or green areas will search for places along existing roads or infrastructure (avoiding various overlapping condition) to become situated (pheno-types) that are allowed to adapt/change to their environments based on fixed variability parameters based on existing situations.

DipArch (RIBA Part 2) final thesis project at the University of Nottingham

August 2010