(lively rock music) - The world today is changing pretty dramatically, shifting towards more and more people living in cities. Cities accelerated relatively slowly, from pre-Greek, pre-Roman times. It took centuries to reach those numbers, which might be something like a million. By the 20th century, 10% of the population of the world was living in cities. Only two years ago, it was 50%. And if we continue at the pace we are, which we will, it will be something like 75% in 40 years' time. (lively rock music) The pace now is putting enormous amounts of pressure and strain on any system which has limited resources. (car engines and honking) 33%, roughly, of new urban dwellers today live in slums. That's a third of the world's population. Without the most basic amenities as well, without sewers, without water, without sanitation. Today, Mumbai has the same number of people as the whole of London, living in slum conditions. And Mumbai is set to become the biggest city in the world in 2050, therefore, bigger than Tokyo. That means that the slum population, if it were to be the same or roughly like it, would be New York and London put together. - What you have in the city is a situation where the real estate developers, on the one hand, and the slum dwellers, on the other, are actually carving out the design of the city. The poor people are doing it because the plan has no space for them. The construction industry produced a huge housing boom for the top 10%, and then increasing crisis for everybody else. - The big downside of informal settlements, which need to be urgently resolved, is the question of health and hygiene, how you bring sanitation and how you bring water supply, et cetera. That is, I think, what makes it inhuman, unlivable, and I think a complete reflection of the failure of the society to create a human habitat. - The city says that if there is one toilet for 50 people, that is, 10 families have one toilet seat, it means they have adequate sanitation. But in 1989, the ratio of people to a toilet seat was 900 people to a toilet seat. Today, it's come down to 600. Our local politicians say, "Oh, we don't want "to build toilets in slums. "It will encourage people to come." You have a situation in which an informal settlement gets ignored for a very long time. And because there's no space for growth, it gets denser and denser and denser. - The issue is that you've got all this growth happening over the next 20, 30 years, so basically a doubling of the urban population. At the same time, you haven't really dealt with the people that are already there. You know, it's very easy to get incredibly (laughs) pessimistic and dark about just the prospects looking forward, because if you just look at the numbers and the trend lines, it is profoundly depressing. I mean, it's like you just want to slit your wrists, basically. But, so there's not a healthy area of research and engagement, but that's it. At the same time, what we know from history is that you really need a small group of innovators, a small group of people that can demonstrate how to do things differently, and once that gets mainstreamed, change happens really quickly. (upbeat rock music) (drumming) - If we do not take care of how the process of migration towards cities is going to happen, the process of urbanization, it's going to happen in the form of slums. So we're in an urgency to generate the conditions so that flow of people into cities happens in a good way. (dog barking) (children yelling) With the Lo Barnechea project, the main priority was location. Behind me, you will see the group of families in the situation before, meaning, they live in a slum. What we're trying to do is that, knowing that the location is so important, because schools, transportation, and jobs are in this part of the city, which is actually the richest part of the city, what we're looking for, it was to be able to find a design able to pay for very expensive land, but keep all those networks. So much more important than an extra square meter of house was a better-located square meter of land, which tends to be expensive. With the subsidy, that is about $10,000 that is given to a poor family that will become an owner of a house, we had to buy the land, provide the infrastructure, and build the houses. Instead of producing tiny units, we asked ourselves, "Why don't we think it's half of a good house?" And we thought it was efficient to make the half that a family will never be able to achieve on its own, and then allow families to do the other half on their own, with their own timing, according to their own needs. We call it participatory design. To have a participatory design means to have families sitting on the table to help us to decide, what are we going to deliver from day one, and what can be, then, left so that families themselves take care of that? (speaking in foreign language) - We asked families, "What is more important, "a water heater, or a bathtub?" There was not enough money for both. Decision makers or politicians or professionals, they normally tend to answer, "The water heater," and in 100% of the cases, when we ask the families, they prefer the bathtub over the water heater. You have to understand that they're coming from no water, no sewage. A shower meant to have a can with water in the courtyard. So they're going to have privacy. More important than that, when they move in, they do not have money to pay the gas bill to heat the water. So knowing that in their priorities, bathtub is much higher than water heater, let's do the bathtub, and allow them, over time, to buy the water heater. (children playing) (Alejandro laughs) (child speaking in foreign language) (Alejandro speaking in foreign language) (speaking in foreign language) (lively rock music) - Think about the final stage, and how design can facilitate a family's life to achieve that middle-income standard in the future. That's how quality should be measured, and that was definitely not the way social housing was being measured, and not the way it was being designed. (lively rock music)
Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren't created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact on improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.
lynda.com is proud to offer this film to our members, along with over one hour of bonus content. Make sure to check out the Extras chapter for these online-exclusive movies.