Syllabus academic year 2010/2011
(Created 2010-07-25.)
Credits: 6. Grading scale: UG. Cycle: A (Second Cycle). Main field: Architecture. Language of instruction: The course will be given in English on demand. Optional for: A4. Course coordinator: Johnny Åstrand,, Housing Development and Management. Prerequisites: Bachelor degree or three years of approved fulltime studies at university level in architecture, landscape architecture, design, urban planning, or the equivalent. The course might be cancelled if the number of applicants is less than 10. The number of participants is limited to 20 Assessment: For a passing grade the student must attend at least 80% of the lectures, seminars, reviews and examinations. Approved presentation, active participation in seminars and approved short paper. Further information: This course requires parallel participation in the elective course Architecture in Extreme Environments - Urban Shelter, 18 hp. Home page:

The aim of the course is to give deeper understanding of urban shelter design in an international perspective with focus on the urban poor. The course aims to develop and synthesize knowledge from previous courses by linking concepts and theories in architecture and planning to the current discourse on development and urban shelter. The focus of the course is on theory and literature studies.

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

in writing, and with reference to relevant literature:

* describe the development of urban shelter design during recent decades

* identify the most important factors shaping urban shelter design internationally

* assess the role of the architect in complex international situations and processes

* propose criteria for the design of shelter and neighbourhoods that promote sustainable development

Skills and abilities
For a passing grade the student must

in writing, and with reference to course literature:

* describe and analyze urban shelter design from a problem-oriented perspective

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must

* discuss actively the role of the architect in an international perspective

* dare to test new work areas, and even to work internationally

The course deals with urban shelter design in an international perspective with focus on the conditions of the urban poor.

A city is a living environment that is used in different ways over both time and space. Half of the world’s population now lives in cities; a billion of them are poor. The global urban population grows by 180,000 persons per day, a city the size of Uppsala every day. In Africa there are more people living in cities than in the USA and Canada together. 4,000 cities have a population over 100,000. All 4,000 are led by politicians with more or less vision. There is an increase in natural disasters. During 2005 there were so many typhoons in the Philippines that they had to start again at the beginning of the alphabet to name them.

Often there is no housing shortage; almost everyone has somewhere to live. Urban shelter design is a question of quality. A billion houses are illegal, informal, small, crowded, unhealthy, unsafe and without services. The solution is not always new housing but gradual improvement. Shelter is a path to social integration, economic development, security, education and health.

How should architects work with urban shelter design now and in the future?

The course presents the historical development of urban housing design and discusses the formal and informal sectors, planned new construction, site and services, self-help housing, spontaneous settlements and improvement of slum areas.

The course aims to give deeper understanding of the processes of urban shelter design in countries with different cultures, climates, socio-economic conditions, architecture and built environments. The influence of international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, regional and national development organizations is considered. The course deals with a multiplicity of factors in urban shelter related to social, environmental, economic and legal conditions.

Through the main theme of urban shelter design, the course intends to deepen previous theoretical knowledge and concepts related to design of housing and human settlements. Some of the sub-themes include use of public space, issues of safety and security, gender and physical planning, urban segregation, energy use and passive climatization of buildings and urban space, slum-upgrading, finance for low-income housing, organized self-help housing and the role of the architect in an international perspective. Examples are given from, among other places, Algeria, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Kenya, Philippines, Morocco, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sweden, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia.

The course aims to deepen knowledge and understanding of the theme and developments during recent decades through literature, lectures and seminars.

Davis, M: Planet of Slums. Verso London, New York 2006. ISBN: 1-84467-022-9.
Tannerfeldt, G & Ljung, P: More Urban Less Poor, an introduction to urban development and management. Earthscan 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1-84407-381-8.
Jenkins, P (et al.): Planning and Housing in the Rapidly Urbanising World. Routledge, New York 2007. ISBN10: 0-415-35797-7
Wakely, P (et al.): Implementing the Habitat Agenda: In Search of Urban Sustainability. DPU/University College London 2001. ISBN: 874502-00-5
Åstrand, J (et al.): 11 Lyckade bostadsprojekt: En inventering av genomförda bostadsförbättringar i tredje världen. SADEL 1988. ISBN: 91-86596-10-1
Åstrand, J (et al.): Construction in Developing Countries. Swedish Mission Council 1996. ISBN 91-85424-44-7
Acioly, C & Davidson, F: Density in Urban Development, Building Issues, Vol 8, No 3. 1996.
Sida Policy: Fighting Poverty in an Urban World, support to urban development. Department for Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation, Division for Urban Development. 2006.
United Nations Human Settlements Programme:
United Nations Millenium Development Goals:
United Nations World Urban Forum:
Building issues: