Architectural Design Workshop — Starter Communities: Rural to Urban Housing, Cavite Province, Philippines

Permission of instructor
Preference Given to: 
MArch, SMArchS, MCP

Cavite province, a largely agricultural province, is rapidly urbanizing due to affordable housing pressures and the wide availability of land for extensive suburban development. However, much of this growth happens haphazardly, threatening local environmental resources and exacerbating the impacts of climate change. In this context, a proposed new town in Silang municipality provides an opportunity to explore a new type of rural-urbanism: one that is ecologically and environmentally responsible, which provides efficient mobility opportunities for residents, and which provides new models of open spaces alongside urban amenities.

Housing, the biggest driver of development in the region, also provides an insight into the context of a changing country. Many poor, rural men and women are finding jobs in the global economy, whether they be in Manila or overseas, and have access to home ownership for the first time. Rising incomes, more savings, and expendable cash result in questions about who to provide for, what to buy, and where to live.  However, existing housing models provide limited options for first-time home buyers, and do not sufficiently address the context of transitioning from a provincial, communal lifestyle with family, into the suburban, middle class lifestyle. In such cases, communal living rarely leaves the four walls of the home.

Starter Communities is a four week, MIT SA+P IAP workshop in collaboration with Philippines Transmarine Corporation, Inc. and the Manilla Observatory. The workshop will be held for four weeks (January 10 – February 1) and includes a 10 day trip to Manilla and its rural environs. The workshop will operate between two scales: first, it will provide an extensive regional analysis of Cavite to address land use, equitable resilience, transportation & access, disaster risk mitigation, climate change adaptation and sustainable growth; secondly, it will result in an urban design proposal at the community scale for the new town of Silang.


  • Jan. 10 – 11: Meeting and preliminary work at MIT (studio)
  • Jan. 14 – 25: Travel to the Philippines, including site visits and tours to PTC headquarters, Cavite, rural areas.
  • Jan. 28 – Feb. 1: Follow up work at MIT
  • Feb 8 (tentative): Review at MIT (studio)

To Apply:

Motivated, curious and qualified MArch, SMArchS, MCP students are encouraged to apply by Nov. 8, 2018 by submitting a one page CV,  short portfolio of work and a short statement of interest (up to 250 words) to klmain@mit.edu and rsegal@mit.edu.

Students chosen will be notified by Nov. 11.