Spontaneous Living Spaces – Dwellings and Settlements in Pemba (Mozambique) : A typo-morphological analysis in changing urban environments

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Self-construction determines large parts of the urban landscape of cities in developing countries. Self-built houses born from need, haste and limited economical resources, with formal or informal methods, are often conceived as temporary when built but then become constituent parts of the urban fabric. Loosing the character of temporariness, it becomes necessary to consider them as an integral part of the city. This research is aimed at mapping the “spontaneous living spaces” of changing urban environments, in terms of dimensions, inhabitants, used technologies, etc. identifying a stage of development and analysing the characteristics of contemporary living in contexts not designed by professionals. The results produced by this research experience can be useful for the development of policies and projects respectful of local, contemporary ways of living. Up to 2019, the research has analysed three case studies: the favela Guapira II in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012); Pok Fu Lam neighbourhood, Hong Kong (2013) and four selected neighbourhoods in Pemba, Mozambique (2016-2018). Focusing on the evolution of architectural and urban elements that characterize self-built urbanization in Pemba (Mozambique), this paper illustrates the main evolution lines that define the relationship among the house, the city and the main settlement trends, addressing how traditional selfbuilt architecture is evolving and creating new forms of living within the city. Architectural and urban categories, as conceived in the western tradition, such as formal/informal or planned/unplanned are not applicable in developing contexts. Thanks to a typo-morphological on-site survey on, and analysis of, 50 houses in four selected neighbourhoods, this research gives its contribution to a critical understanding of their role, creating a more conscious background on living systems in Pemba. The analysis was integrated with schemes, architectural drawings, photographs, videos and interviews to the inhabitants.
Development, Self-built architecture, Typo-morphological survey, Pemba (Mozambique), Sub-Saharan Africa, Living Spaces