4.236J / 11.463J
Structuring Low-Income Housing Projects in Developing Countries

Permission of instructor

Date(s) offered and semester: Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 – 12:30, Spring Semester

Credits: 3-0-9

Type of subject (lecture, seminar, workshop, lab): Lecture, seminar

Instructor(s): Reinhard Goethert

Preq's: None

Course description/overview
This course explores the divergent motivations and resultant dynamics among international funders, national ministries, local authorities and project benefactors in housing projects. Issues of development are tested against actual projects in a comparative format.

The course is intended as an introduction and understanding of current issues in Third World housing policies and projects and targeted toward those interested in a practical understanding of how projects are prepared by development agencies.
The course prepares students to participate in development projects, and stresses hands-on ‘real-life’ issues that challenge professionals. It combines lectures and intensive clsss exercises.

What must planners and architects understand for efficacious design?

Learning objectives and/or Pedagogical objectives (including basic course structure):

  • Focus of the course: developing countries, low-income, housing, the project instrument; development agencies/governments/project implementation/users. This term particularly interested in issues of ‘speed’ and ‘scale’ - how can we change projects to meet these goals?
  • The objective is a basic understanding and background on Third World housing issues, particularly ‘site and services’ low-income housing projects and upgrading projects, and an understanding of the context in which projects are prepared.
  • Awareness of how to prepare project proposals following accepted customary practice, particularly the ‘logical project framework’ approach.
  • Identification of issues and dilemmas among the various actors when implementing projects. Awareness of the varied perspectives and motivations of the lender, government, local agencies, and users.
  • Understanding of tradeoffs and alternatives in project practice.
  • Active discussion format focuses on how to address issues, formulate an argument, and advocate a point of view
  • Interest groups formed in the class will champion one project during the term
  • IProjects are self-selected, but focused on housing
  • IA ‘Project Appraisal’ (World Bank terminology) report or equivalent which will be basis of class exploration. Box of projects will be in Rotch, under ‘Structuring Low Income’ ,
  • Each week will focus on one topic:
    • Day 1: issues (generally Wednesdays),
    • IDay 2 (generally Mondays): how the project dealt with issue
  • Occasional ‘mini project-dilemmas’ and ‘big issues’ exercises will challenge the class and your thinking
  • IEach week summary of issues addressed that week will be presented to the class by the team following an agreed format to allow comparison; focus is on brevity and analysis; PowerPoint format. Reading will be posted on a class DropBox. Scans of relevant resources will be included.
  • IAn email list will be set up:

Completion requirements
Deliverables’ at end of term:

  1. Digital compilation of weekly issue presentations, which will be copied for class
  2. A project proposal of your choosing, following a ‘logical project framework’, an individual effort. Focus is on housing
  3. Final debate: a 12-minute debate among the teams championing their project; an opportunity to review and to reflect on the project your group analyzed; it debates the question: “Which is the best project model?”

Evaluation criteria and grading (basis for a grade)
Grading is based on class participation and weekly team presentation (40%), final individual paper (30%) and final team debate (30%).

Reading assignments or bibliography references: Handouts and web links will be available for each topic each week.

Travel, lab fees and deadlines (if applicable): None