Next Project

The Shantytowns of Kingston: A critical review of the informal built environment of the city.

Part 2 Dissertation 2005
Sheldon Morris
University of Technology Kingston Jamaica, West Indies
The work explores the architectural and social merit of informally built environments within the contemporary urban fabric. It re-examines the unfamiliar world of the shantytown and investigates how the informal built environment acts as a container of architectural values and expresses culture through forms and intrinsic associated relationships. The principal interest of the investigations is an attempt to understand and record informal built environments that utilize discarded, 'found', materials and which honour place, time and culture. The main challenge is summarized in a question which forms the basis of the study: 'When the shantytown is analysed through a philosophical mode of reference using formal architectural and urban design theory, what lesson can be learned and then reapplied to modify contemporary urban design?'
For the purpose of this document the shantytown is defined as a community within, or on the periphery of a city inhabited by poor people living in shack-like structures. The research takes the form of case study based analyses of two informal settlements in Kingston, Jamaica: Burger in Eastern Kingston and Rae Town in Central Kingston. To better understand these communities a brief study of the history of their development and the socio-economic conditions which contributed is also included. The paper discusses the shantytowns contributions to the city through its architectural organization, its use of materials, space, colour and spatial sequencing.

Sheldon Morris


Sheldon Morris' Dissertation was nominated for the Dissertation Medal on two grounds.First, in terms of the significance of the topic chosen. Informal housing is a ubiquitos aspect of the builtscape of Kingston, Jamaica, and is connected with serious economic, political and social contexts. The student made an effort to grapple with applying formal architectural theory to informal structures, and seeking lessons which could be applied to formal urban design. Second, in terms of overall quality of work and final grade his dissertation was one of the best submitted by the graduating class of 2005.

2005
• Page Hits: 1680         • Entry Date: 01 July 2005         • Last Update: 01 July 2005