"Mile end": The architecture of [hope]lessness
Weaver, Leslie M
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Statement of issue/problem . Squatters have long been a part of every society and culture since the beginning of property ownership/urbanization. There is often resistance to these people from mainstream society and the result is squatters being forced to give up their homes, communities and lives. Often squatters are found in places where there is a housing shortage or rents are outrageous for the average minimum wage worker. They are drawn to areas that the rest of society has determined are unlivable, contaminated dirty and undesirable. This thesis will look at the two types of "squatters," those who claim abandoned structures and those who set up separate "villages" with their own constructions. Statement of significance of issue . By looking at squatter's lives and communities we can make it apparent that they transform architecture and the urban context. In turn, the research will force us to look at "home," abandoned buildings, affordable housing and portable shelters in a different way. The results will inform an architecture of and for squatters. Method of inquiry . This thesis will examine and compare communities such as Toronto's Tent City and Hamilton's Boathouse community, with shelters built by the inhabitants versus Milan's Leoncavallo and Venice's Centro Sociale Rivolta, which utilize seized abandoned buildings such as former factories, churches and schools. Expected outcome . The thesis will result in a book that documents the literature reviews, examination of precedents, and a conceptual project dealing with squatter's spaces.