In emerging economies all over the world, massive urbanization leads to an acute need of affordable housing. The exhibition ‘Global Housing - Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities’ focuses on architectural and urban planning models implemented to face this challenge worldwide. It explores the tension between the required mass production and solutions tailored to local circumstances. The emphasis is both on the design of the individual dwelling and the city as a whole. What makes a good, compact dwelling? How can new megacities do justice to the existing social and economic structures, to local production methods and the individual wishes of residents?

This exhibition focuses on the issue of affordable housing design as an architectural challenge. It traces the global search for models for large-scale and affordable housing. The plan documentations give an apparently kaleidoscopic and fragmented picture of this development, but on closer inspection there are a number of continuous lines to be discerned in the ways the issue is dealt with. The projects span 150 years and five continents and show the strong international dimension that the issue, characterized by confrontations between concepts developed elsewhere and specific local conditions, has had for decades. The results of these exchanges have been highly diverse, ranging from minimal sites-and-services approaches to grand and detailed megastructures. The success of projects has also varied widely. The Victorian Peabody Estates built to replace the London slums remain virtually unchanged 100 years later; other projects disintegrated mere years after their completion, some stand vacant and some are to be demolished. The results of models based on growth and change over time are also as diverse as they are unpredictable.

This exhibition is part of a large, long-term research and educational project of the faculty in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, in which analyses of models and realized projects from the past and the present are connected to an exploration of the possibilities of the future.

On 15 November, the exhibition was opened by Peter Russell (Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft) and Wendwosen Demrew (Association of Ethiopian Architects), with a lecture by Dick van Gameren (Chair of Architecture and Dwelling, TU Delft). The exhibition will be on show at the Ethiopian National Theatre Gallery until 28 November.