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Living Spaces

case studies location (to date)
SLS Case Studies Map-01.jpg

World population is increasing and cities are exponentially growing.

 The world has to face new dynamics of urbanization

The research investigates the relationship of living culture between public and private spaces in different socio-economic-cultural environments.

Up to now the integrated typo-morphological analysis and research was carried out in three changing urban environmentsSao Paulo, Hong Kong, Pemba and includes also a photo-reportage on costume developed in Maputo. 

Self-construction determines a large part of the urban landscape of cities in developing countries. 

The self built houses born from need, from haste and from limited economical resources, with formal or informal methods, and are often thought as temporary at the time they were built, since decades have been constituent parts of the urban fabric. Loosing the character of temporariness, it becomes natural and necessary to consider them as an integral part of the city.

Therefore, they need to be recognized and studied, both for their analysis and documentation, as a stage of development of the city, and to identify and analyse what are the characteristics of contemporary living in contexts that have not been designed by professionals



Pemba, Mozambique

Pemba is a coastal city of Mozambique. Here 4 neighborhoods were surveyed in their dwellings and settlements characteristics. The 4 are considered formal but they lack of adequate sanitation and structural resistance therefore are considerable slums (according to UN Habitat definition). The survey comprises pictures, videos, interviews to the inhabitants, sketches and schemes. Then an analysis lead to possible interventions for the valorization of the local traditional culture of living.

Jardim Filhos da Terra


Sao Paulo, Brazil

The first case study surveyed a block in the favela Guapira II of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The survey focussed on the morphology and the typology of the informal settlement. The involvement of the community was crucial for the survey operation. The research used videos, pictures, sketches, interviews to survey the interior of the houses. The area was born in the 80s and nowadays still lacks of the main infrastructures.

Pok Fu Lam


Hong Kong, China

Pok Fu Lam is an historical neighborhood of Hong Kong. Here the houses are mainly self built and they are in between one and two levels. The neighborhood is considered informal because of land ownership. The area lacks of the main sanitation systems.



Maputo, Mozambique

Mozambique is a country that is undergoing an important transition from a rural to an urban country, a land still very rich in cultural expressions and traditional knowledge deeply connected to the environment and nature. The rurality of the country is reflected in everything: from the conception of time, to nutrition, to costume.


Regarding the costume, there is a particularly important object: the Capulana. Also present in some other African states, it consists in a stole of about 1mx2m used as skirt, baby carrier for children, bag, cloth to cover and shelter, curtain, tablecloth and many other uses: it is an object that every time is reinvented and that, as tradition dictates, every woman must always have in her bag. 


The Capulanais wore with pride and gives great self-esteem and elegance to the Mozambican women who wear and use it.


It is an object mainly linked to women but not for their exclusive use and it is symbolic of the local culture, with traditional geometries and designs encompassing a variety of colors and shades.


The photographic project represents ladies met in Maputo that consented to an interview and to pose for a portrait wearing their Capulana, to show the local cultural identity and for its valorization. From the oldest to the youngest, different ways of wearing it, different reasons to do it, from formal modesty, to comfort and elegance. These fifteen ladies, subjects of the portraits, were met in their daily routine, interviewed on the street and photographed in their context. All of them talked of their Capulana with true love and affection.


The photographic research project recognizes the Capulana’scultural value in Mozambique and documents it, to enhance and protect it as local cultural heritage.


Photographs were taken in November 2019 in the popular residential districts of Maputo.

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