Critical Neighbourhoods

Critical Neighbourhoods

The Architecture of Contested Communities

Analyses of three informal neighborhoods in Africa, Latin America, and India, translating their spatial and social characteristics into architectural language



Title Information

Edited by Paulo Moreira. Contributions by AbdouMaliq Simone, Paulo Moreira, Elisa Silva, Julia King, Ines Weizman, and Matthew Barac

1st edition

, 2022


176 pages, 26 color and 81 b/w illustrations

17 x 24 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-272-9


At a time when architectural and urban studies are moving towards seeking to accept and understand informal neighborhoods rather than ignoring or eradicating them, the need for experiments on the ground is becoming increasingly urgent. In recent years, a growing number of architects and urban designers have committed themselves to the idea that these settlements are here to stay and require selective intervention in order to achieve better living conditions.

This book contributes to the development of new architectural approaches to informal neighborhoods and to a better understanding of human habitats that relate spatial issues to broader economic and political questions. The authors analyze feasible and effective practical actions located in Africa, Latin America, and India, drawing upon empiric work to contextualize existing neighborhoods. Complementing essays explore the deeply intertwined nature of spatial practice, cultural identity, and social engagement. They uncover new modes of making architecture and map new ways for architects to engage with contested communities. They address geographic differentiations on a local scale, rather than between various continents only, and explore interconnections between particular neighborhoods and their wider contexts.


Paulo Moreira is a Porto-based architect and researcher and a postdoctoral fellow in the research project Africa Habitat, coordinated by the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Architecture.

Authors & Editors