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PUCCA 5.0: Graduation Thesis

T-ADS | The University of Tokyo

Graduation Thesis Research


Assisted self-construction has been proclaimed by the UNHabitat as one of the most affordable methods of providing sustainable housing. Self-construction in informal settlements is analogous with incremental development, where design and construction occur in simultaneous waves. However, unassisted self-construction often produces housing of substandard quality owing to a lack of knowledge and resources. This paper hypothesizes that the core factor leading to substandard housing in informal self-construction is an information and communication gap in the existing process. The research develops the framework for a smartphone-based, digital technical aid system, that fills this information and communication gap and provides construction guidance to owner-builders without compromising the nonlinear nature of incremental development.

A link to a published version of this research can be found here.

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The central argument of this research is that while most forms of technical assistance for self-construction adopt a deterministic approach towards eliminating structural failures, this contradicts the principles of incremental construction and reduces the autonomy of the owner-builder in the construction process. Through an analysis of the informal process measured against formal processes, this research identifies that the primary cause of structural or spatial failures in the output is an information and communication gap in the construction process, that when filled can aid an incremental manner of development without compromising the quality of the output.

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