The Squatted New Town: Modern Movement meets Self-organisation in Venezuela

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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A critical discourse on the influence of the Modern Movement in urban design and planning has been taking place since the mid-20th century, accompanied by an ongoing search for opportunities to bring the human dimension, scale and self-organisation into this process. However, still a large number of new towns have been built across Asia and Africa, generally following modernistic urban concepts. This research contributes to the afore-mentioned discussion, exploring the context of urbanisation in Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s, in many ways similar to the context of current new town developments in Asia and Africa. To address the meeting point of the ideas of the Modern Movement and self-organisation, the study examines two case-studies in Venezuela, a country which urbanized rapidly after the discovery of oil in the 1920s. The oil revenues made it possible to build new towns, on a large scale, with modernist ideals.

The analysis of the planning and implementation of the two new towns built in Venezuela in the 1950s and 1960s provides important lessons that can be shared to improve the current practice of new town planning. The main lessons emphasize the importance of integrating the needs and wishes of the residents, and to get the commitment of the authorities. More importantly, the results show the opportunities of the aided self-help housing policy, an effective alternative beyond the habitual use of modernistic ideas and concepts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Meijer, V.J., Supervisor
  • Rooij, R.M., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date6 Jan 2021
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-186-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • New Towns
  • Modern Movement
  • Aided Self Help
  • Latin America


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