Publications / 2017 Proceedings of the 34rd ISARC, Taipei, Taiwan

Collaborative Advanced Building Methodology toward Industrialization of Informal Settlements in Cairo

Camilla Follini, Rongbo Hu, Wen Pan, Thomas Linner and Thomas Bock
Pages 737-743 (2017 Proceedings of the 34rd ISARC, Taipei, Taiwan, ISBN 978-80-263-1371-7, ISSN 2413-5844)

Today’s population has reached a growth rate never seen before, and, globally, there are examples of traditional cities that have failed to adapt to this sudden change. Therefore, in some areas of the world, the overall quality of life has become unbearable. A proactive response is needed in order to solve the problems of problematic economy, poor living standards, and the deplorable state of the environment due to population explosion. Egypt makes no exception in this trend, registering a steady increasing amount of population. In the biggest centers such as Cairo, this trend caused a considerable expansion of the phenomenon of informal settlements, areas spontaneously built by the inhabitants, often lacking regulation, planning, and basic needs. By investigating the Cairene context, in particular the area of Sakiat Mekki, the paper explores the possibility of improving the quality of life in informal settlements with sustainable decentralized processing units (DPUs), tailored to an affordable and adaptable building system (A²BS). The goal of the DPUs will be to enhance three main aspects of life (energy, mobility and work), by gradually implementing advanced construction in the hosting environment. First, a method based on Requirements Engineering (RE) was developed in order to ensure that the system would more easily be accepted and the design proactively be influenced by the existing community’s feedback. Secondly, a sustainable system based on a decentralized industrial village was developed in order to simultaneously increase job opportunities and collaboratively manufacture the proposed building elements. Finally, the construction elements were designed based on stakeholders’ needs. Rather than a main central system, DPUs resulted as subsystems of small dimension to serve a limited amount of living spaces, thus providing a more flexible solution to evolve in time. Thanks to a simplified construction process and joining system, not only this solution can be easily assembled by unskilled labor, but it could also be used as a step toward automation of the building process in substandard environments. This research was partly financed by a project grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project: AL²MOBILIUS; Grant Number: GERF-IB-033 Almobilius_01DH14003).

Keywords: Collaborative design and construction, Industrialization of informal settlements, Decentralized Processing Unit, Affordable and Adaptable Building System