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Interventive Infrastructure: Ecologically Pioneering Extra-legal Settlements

Extra-legal settlement communities have long existed and will continue to exist and grow exponentially as part of the world's inhabited landscape. By definition, these settlements are realized into places without plan and without legality of land ownership. Unfortunately, marginalization of these communities continues to widen, not due to a lack of desire or ability to improve connectivity, partnership and healthy co-existence, but rather from an infrastructural framework that does not support the fundamental nature and behaviors of the extra-legal. In order for any defined infrastructure to work with an extra-legal settlement, it has to tap into the inherent resiliency of that settlement. Government leaders and design professionals must institute a new approach and new solutions that recognize, honor and engage the inherent resiliency of the extra-legal settlement. Understanding habitual patterns and social instances will help create a structure that is not driven by first world dilemmas but one that applies solutions connected to the value systems that already exist in the community. Incremental instances of solutions may, in fact, require a phase-to-phase implementation, one that will build out of the inherent resiliency of the extra-legal community. Any viable solution will be required to integrate “new” ideas with the lived experiences of the people and establish parameters for shared use of resources, creating new social opportunities that do not diminish the significance of old ones. This study will focus on those things within the extralegal community patterns of behavior that must be celebrated, salvaged, and utilized optimally in order to make any plan for incorporation viable and appropriate. This discussion will consider the history of the extra-legal settlements and through that as its basis, introduce interventive architectural and infrastructure practices that can encourage spaces that support existing lifestyle’s of extra-legal while also improving,elevating, and sustaining it.







Anusha Varudandi

Anusha is currently a student of and recent graduate from Lawrence Tech, completing her B.S.Arch in the spring of 2021 and her M.Arch in the summer of 2022. During her time at LTU she has held leadership positions in the local NOMAS chapter as President. She has a keen interest in ecological and sustainable architecture strategies/design and looks forward to implementing those aspects into future work. Anusha is currently working full-time at an architecture firm that specializes in large scale commercial/ housing buildings across Michigan.

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