Reducing disaster vulnerability of informal settlements through urban planning and housing policy.

This dissertation, produced in 2012, assesses settlements against a variety of criteria, including resilience to natural disasters, access to economic centres, and transportation networks. It evaluates the planning policies of developing world offices in assessing such cases and produces a framework for future evaluations. Quito is used as a case-study, which is analysed in conjunction with the municipal planning department. The findings have helped the SRUP team to create an adequate framework for planning assessments. The outputs of the project have also been shared with government institutions and will be use to evaluate Sao Paulo in subsequent research projects.


Adequate locations to house the low income: a case study of Quito, Ecuador.

This dissertation aims to create a framework to identify adequate land for sustainable low-income housing development. It also aims to evaluate the framework by identifying and confirming key attributes of adequate locations for low-income housing development through interviews with planners, developers, NGOs and residents in Quito. The project will identify appropriate locations through a combination of site visits, interviews and potentially GIS mapping, depending on data availability. It will also discuss potential approaches to secure suitable land for low-income housing development.


Residential Property Markets in Latin America: the case of Quito, Ecuador.

The dissertation will focus on analysing both demand and supply side factors which shape the housing market in Quito, from an analysis of historical house prices in Quito. The results of the work are intended to indicate trends regarding the future development of the market, the direction of Quito’s urban expansion, and implications for government policies.


An assessment of social enterprise investment models and their application to low-income communities in Quito, Ecuador.

The dissertation will focus on the implications of public sector government authorities and slum inhabitants in efforts to address the growing problems of illegal slum settlements, land tenure and slum upgrading projects in the context of Quito, Ecuador. The research will investigate and question naive assumptions commonly held about slum upgrading projects and address the underlying cause of urban poverty which go beyond the context of inadequate housing, infrastructure and services. The purpose of this research is to understand and examine the strategies for broadening slum upgrading, to consider key planning policy issues of security of land tenure and to move from current strategies of accepted standard practice to a more efficient process to secure legal land rights. The scope of the project will include an analysis of the current illegal settlements within Quito and a collection of statistical data to obtain current population, size, age, and other general characteristics of the settlement. The data will be used to analyse and rate the severity of the illegal settlements (in terms of water, sanitation and health) in order to prioritise action by governing authorities. The results will feed into the work of the SRUP team to deliver a robust sustainable framework tool for the cities in which the Initiative is working.


Ilegal settlements, land tenure and slum upgrading.

This dissertation focuses on job creation within communities through investment in social enterprises – high risk but high social return investments. Through literature review and data collection, the project will assess the advantages and drawbacks of different social enterprise investment mechanisms, from venture capital models pursued by organizations such as Acumen Fund to online crowd source funding facilitated by websites such as Kiva. Primary and secondary research will determine the social and economic characteristics of social enterprises in Ecuador and contrast them to other developing world environments. This will be used to recommend which investment mechanisms are most appropriate for social enterprises within the context of the communities developed by the EcoHouse Initiative.