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The following proposal defends the concept Open Source Infrastructure as an appropriate alternative for city building in the developing world. In regions where piracy is prevalent and urban growth is defined as both informal and organic, a more punctuated and restrained form of public infrastructure is fundamental. If community participation is requisite in the installation of public works and are encouraged to expand upon and re-interpret designs unrestrained by copyright, an idiosyncratic urbanism ensues which is reflective of the community, advocates agency among the population, and strengthens local regard so often lost through large-scale government projects. This Open Source Infrastructure will exploit the propensity toward bootlegging and bricolage in the informal world, not just as a strategy for the dissemination of design, but as a device to guide smart growth through incremental change rather than wholesale redevelopment.

A series of urban design initiatives and interventions are proposed at nested scales of both complexity and completion. At the level of the neighborhood, open spaces within the dense environment of informal settlements will be re-appropriated, streetscapes redefined but left incomplete, and locations for public amenity re-established. The hand of the designer is “light” in this case. The re-direction of urban slum growth is then guided by small homeopathic interventions in key city nodes, paths, and edges. Connections are made between and within these innovative, publically sponsored projects. The designs are transparent and encourage re-adaptation and re-invention by the community they serve. Through this series of sporadic but guided designs that are easy to replicate, readapt, and redistribute; sustainable urbanism is catalyzed and disseminated through the mechanism of open exchange.

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