Developing Worlds: Planning and Design in the Middle East and Latin America After WWII

The course examines the impact of different models of social and economic development on architectural and urban design. It focuses on Latin America and the Middle East after WWII. The models range from financial and technical assistance to sustainability and micro-credit. The case studies cover reconstruction and preservation, new towns, housing and institutions.Premises: Even before the 1947 Marshall Plan for European reconstruction, the United States had already been involved in aid and in development experiments in the Middle East and in Latin America. The Truman Doctrine ratified the process of assistance for the developing world and set the stage for international agencies like the UNDP, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation and other organizations to develop aid packages that would help in the social and economic advancement of allied nation states. Invariably, these aid packages tied the promises of modernization to the application of specific democratic political processes and free market economic models. They also came with particular conceptions (often authored by international planners and architects) of how modern cities, houses and institutions should be designed. From post-war reconstruction programs, to technical assistances, to sites and services, to sustainability, and micro credit, these models have had a significant impact on design throughout the developing world. Even when the development projects were locally self-generated, they were often planned and designed along the international development models.The course aims to highlight this link between the procedures of development and design in the recent history of developing countries. It uses the comparative approach in order to understand at once the particularities of the locations and the general impact of the development models.This course follows the Practices in Democracy (1 and 2) sequence in investigating the ways in which design confronts the challenges of social change. While PD1 focuses on the United States and PD2 primarily on Europe, this course draws its examples from Latin America and the Middle East.Content:The course first covers the different concepts of development, their historical origins and their evolution from the Truman Doctrine to the present. It then focuses on their consequences on buildings and design in four main domains: reconstruction, new towns, housing, and institutions. Reconstruction and preservation cases include Turkey and Greece after WWII, Beirut after 1990, and Caracas after the recent floods. New Towns will include Brasilia, Islamabad, and Sert\’s projects for Latin America and Ciudad Guayana. Housing includes John Turner in Peru, John Habraken through SAR, Christopher Alexander in Mexico, and Balkrishna Doshi in India. Institutions include Richard Neutra in Puerto Rico, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier in Baghdad, and the Ford Foundation schools.