Type, Urban Form, Policy-Making and Housing Standards in Santiago de Chile

Alvaro Arancibia


 View of Proposal Model

Model View 3

This dissertation challenges the current state of Santiago de Chile’s social housing and its extreme dependence on the privatized housing market. The close relationship between policy-making, minimum standards, and urban form, has limited social housing to a simplified and isolated type-solution based on a reinterpretation of the traditional row-housing model.

Cité Street

Cité StreetThis has allowed for large-scale social housing projects, which effectively resolved the historical lack of housing provision. However, the apparent success of the housing policy is questioned when the underlying social housing sub-standard is made explicit, which fails at several scales and spheres of domestic and urban life.

Current Housing Development at the Urban Periphery

Current Periphery

The main failure is the policies’ inability to procure adequate location for the low-income housing. In fact, recent social housing has only been able to afford plots in rural peripheries. This has therefore dictated a lifestyle of exclusion due to the lack of access to both basic infrastructures and the urban centre, the largest source of employment, services, and opportunities. 

Current Urban Exclusion
Current Urban Exclusion
Typical Suburban ‘Infrastructure’
Suburban Infrastructure

In order to address the problem of urban exclusion of social housing, this research project investigates a new scenario that conceives a domestic-economic centre. Thus, a radical reorganization of the current social housing logic is proposed, calling for a completely different model based on four key transformations. 

View of Proposal Model

Model View 5First, a non-profit (municipal-driven) procurement system with the aim of creating a circular system of incentives, and attempting to increase the social housing budget through the incorporation of private and public funds. 

Proposed Housing Procurement

Proposed Housing ProcurementThe second transformation is a shift in territorial management, capable of creating larger administrative entities and a clearer organization of infrastructure in relation to the urban core and labour sources. 

Towards a System of Centralities

Towards a System of CentralitiesThe third is a typological transformation of a housing solution typical for Santiago’s early-twentieth century, called the Cité. Through a reinterpretation of this street-based type, a new relationship between type and urban form is conceived, with the aim of establishing a clear use and definition of open spaces – a constant and controversial issue found in other housing types such as the modernist slab block – and to incorporate more flexible relationships with other typologies. Thus, a larger range of typological arrangements is explored in this project.

Cité Dwelling Unit Typologies
Cité Dwelling Unit Typologies
Cité Type

Cité Type

Cité Urban Typologies Cité Urban Typologies
 Current Typological Stigmatization  (Elemental Proposals)
Current Typological Stigmatization
 Cité 2D Organizational Amplification Matrix
Cité 2D Organizational Amplification MatrixCité 3D Organizational Amplification Matrix
Cité 3D Organizational Amplification Matrix
Proposed Types

New TypesThe fourth and last transformation is the re-thinking of the idea of standards. The project proposes the decompression of the dwelling unit through the distribution of diverse and associated economic programmes in the city. However, this does not mean a singular scalar shift from the unit to the city, but rather a progressive and multi-scalar system of urban relationships that establish different spheres of collectivity and intimacy. Hence, the new social housing standard defines the possibility of both achieving a domestic autonomy from the existing urban centre and the simultaneity of urban episodes, which are manifested in the proposed social housing centre.

Housing Standards



The Social Housing Centre: Axonometric of Proposed Masterplan

Project Axo

View of Model

Model View 4

View of Model
Model View 6
Perspective of ProposalProject Drawing
Project Fragment C:UsersalvaroDocumentsArquitecturaProjective CitiesTerm 5

Rendering of Residential Block Project Residential ViewRead the whole dissertation here.

Comments are closed.