Ad@pting Informality: Preculding Informal Sprawl in Risk Prone Areas of Lima's Peripher
LimaÕs primacy in the economy and socio-political sphere of Peru has made it an unstopable magnet that attracts migrants from the countryÕs interior. The formal housing market has been unable to meet this ever-increasing demand, thus leaving the newcomers to settle in the peripheries through the illegal invasion of low-value public land on risk prone areas of the cityÕs edge. This places them outside of institutional structures, zoning laws and land tenure. Their location far away from the formal center lacks proper services and transportation, yielding socioeconomic impediments, such as fewer work opportunities and social isolation. Instead of adopting the common Òtabula rasaÓ approach to dealing with informality, Lima has embraced this inherent process by incrementally ÒurbanizingÓ these areas, providing them with basic infrastructure, assuming that after surviving the critical initial phase, these settlements will go through different stages of consolidation into the formal city. However, available land, e n in the distant nooks and crannies of LimaÕs three cones of expansion, has started to run out, leaving newcomers to settle around older more consolidated informal neighborhoods in harsher topographical inclines that are much more prone to landslides and damage from earthquakes. This precarious location greatly complicates sustainable connections with the formal urban infrastructure. Continuing LimaÕs acceptance of informality, a new hybrid housing model can emerge that views self construction not as a threat to urban space, but as a way to customize it. The combination of a planned formal framework with informal, self-built adaptation can help guide a favorable urban environment that avoids the overcrowding and unhealthy conditions of most informal settlements, while facilitating a more rapid and cost-effective self-construction process, through targeted and efficient infrastructure, located within existing public clearings, the civic space of the ubiqiuitous concrete soccer pitch. The role of the architect is then to assist a self-improvement process with professional logistical support, empowering low-income dwellers to take control of their own economic and social mobility.