Floodable Square: alternative spaces for informal entrepeuneurs

University of Southern California - School of Architecture, 2016
Area Planning Culture Urban Development Medium Virtual Reality Immersive Presentation Type Research Design Research

The present design research speculates how a public space intentionally designed to accommodate informality would look. Avoiding the usual solution of popular shopping centers and leasing contracts, temporality is still the solution for low-cost entrepreneurship. Only an open-ended space can allow such appropriations. In order to ensure temporality and avoid privatization, the spaces are subject to variations in sunlight, shade, inundation.
Its design cantilevers over a major road and makes the historical connection between the ocean with the upper city. The initial idea to offer more room in order to unburden the existing informal "Dawn Market" was then expanded to other informal users such as food vendors, fishermen, laundresses, fix-it men, street artists, prostitutes. Its proximity to the ocean was integrated into the temporality aspect of this project through the use of the tides to intentionally flood the public square, restarting a new cycle of users, avoiding privatization of public space.
This is a statement on the importance, permanence and expansion of informal economy. These urban manifestations emerge as a type of bottom-up urban planning. Public policies should not fight informality but enhance it as an attempt to provide social mobilization, giving opportunity to a population which is very unlikely to rise economically.
This file is a demo version without animations and transitions. The transitions were used during the thesis presentation to support visualization switching between high tide and low tide, different users and day and night, reassuring the rhizomatic and diverse set of programmatic possibilities. It is necessary to download the zipped file, unzip it and run the .exe file, for windows only. I can also export to Mac, if requested. Alternative link for download: https://www.wetransfer.com/downloads/891e6c2b19d2c3a36edb4df03988278420160901002526/c82e10110e7233f515977a55534618c520160901002526/ba7bd3



  • Oliveira, Eduardo University of Southern California - School of Architecture

Project Partner

University of Southern California - School of Architecture University of Southern California - World Building Institute Science Without Borders CAPES Funding Agency