052-0629-23L  CAAD Practice: Favela is City

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersV. Gomes Natividade
Periodicityevery semester recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


052-0629-23 GCAAD Practice: Favela is City
No course 23.10 (seminar week) and in the last two semester weeks (final critiques).
2 hrs
Mon15:45-17:30HPK D 24.2 »
V. Gomes Natividade

Catalogue data

AbstractFavelas – the Brazilian version of informal cities – are no longer exceptions but the massive mode of urban production in the XXI Century. They are informal by nature - if you call it ‘informality’, the ambiguity between instant stability and constant change.
Objective1. To gain insight into informal urbanism and the prominent urban phenomenon of favelas, their inherent informality, dynamic nature, and the interplay between stability and change.
2. To develop the ability to decode the intricate fabric of favelas, to read the interrelationships between various elements, resources, and the nuanced rhythms of signals, noises, and uncertainties that define their urban landscapes.
3. To gain familiarity with AI algorithms as tools for exploring and interpreting favelas, employ images and textual analysis to uncover urban themes and issues these informal settlements embody.
4. To develop critical thinking skills, encouraging a deeper exploration of the underlying social, economic, and cultural factors at play.
5. To gain broader insights and generalisations from the study of favelas, to identify overarching principles that can contribute to the discourse on urbanism and informal settlements.
6. To enhance design fluency, effectively communicating complex ideas and interpretations through images and words, refining the ability to conceptualise and share favela ideas.
7. To develop the ethical dimensions of studying and representing informal urban environments.
ContentStudents will learn and engage with various modes of engagement with favelas using visual and written forms, becoming familiar with AI techniques and strategies to tackle both. By the end of the semester, students should have broadened their understanding of impoverished urban areas of the South and a clearer perspective on urban trends and opportunities in those areas. Using texts and images will develop competencies to be more effective visual communicators, understanding how to generate and manipulate images and text to express their ideas confidently, clearly, and precisely. Throughout the semester, students will write around 1000 to 2000 words and create self-organising maps using internet-sourced images guided by provided algorithms. Self-organising maps (SOMs) are an artificial neural network that helps visualise and group complex data by finding patterns and similarities, making it easier to understand and analyse large sets of information. Thus, a significant portion is dedicated to the data’s curation, editing, and publishing of the final assignment: a speculative exhibition that includes a poster and catalogue with a curator’s readings of favelas.
Lecture notesLink
Prerequisites / NoticeNo previous knowledge is required for joining this course.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesfostered
Media and Digital Technologiesassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingfostered
Self-awareness and Self-reflection fostered

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits2 credits
ExaminersV. Gomes Natividade
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

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Offered in

Architecture BachelorTechnology in ArchitectureWInformation