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Mapping the visibility of informal settlements

Kamalipour, Hesam ORCID: and Dovey, Kim 2019. Mapping the visibility of informal settlements. Habitat International 85 , pp. 63-75. 10.1016/j.habitatint.2019.01.002

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Informal settlements in cities of the global South are generally identified by a dense, small-grain and irregular urban morphology. Such neighbourhoods are rarely entered by those from the formal city and their visibility within the urban landscape can have a significant impact on decisions over whether and how they might be upgraded or demolished. This paper explores this issue from the perspective of the role of topography and urban morphology in mediating the gaze from the formal to the informal city. A simple typology of spatial visibility is developed according to whether the formal gaze is an overview or streetview, and whether it is private or public. This framework is then used to map the visibility of three case studies at district scale in the cities of Bangkok (Thailand), Pune (India) and Medellin (Colombia). These cases are then used to illustrate how different types and degrees of visibility are introduced or erased through different forms of urban design, transport infrastructure, high-rise development and public policy. We conclude by discussing different approaches to the transformation of place identity: concealing or revealing informal settlements on the one hand, and blurring or accentuating informal/formal distinctions on the other.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: Released with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC BY-NC-ND)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0197-3975
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 5 January 2019
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 04:20

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