Night School: Crowded Cities and Impromptu Settlements
By Jeff Sandler
July 21, 2016
Screening of Torre de David
For this installment of Night School, Wednesday, July 27th at 6 PM, we will be screening Urban Think Tank’s short documentary, Torre David. The film documents the life of those living in the impromptu settlement that took over an unfinished 1990s high-rise building in Caracas, Venezuela. The building, with no finished electrical, plumbing, or even handrails, housed makeshift services as high as the 22nd floor, with no elevator, and residents as high as the 28th floor. Residents opened barber shops, doctor’s offices, and schools within the “vertically organized favela,” creating a thriving, yet brief, community. The film is part of a larger research endeavor by Urban Think Tank, who presented their work at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.
The informal community of Torre David resulted from a housing shortage in Venezuela’s capital city, paired with a need for more affordable housing options for Caracas residents. From the mid-2000s to July 2014, inhabitants of Torre David were able to improvise solutions for everyday life in the skeleton of an incomplete business tower. The intimate understanding of this settlement, captured in Urban Think Tank’s film, allows us to understand the very basic needs of urban living and the ingenuity of a severely underserved population. This films draws parallels to the current boom and associated housing shortage in the Seattle area. It also demonstrates a need for cities to respond to their populations and plan for adequate and equitable housing solutions for all.
Come join us in our brand new space for a screening of Torre David, light food, drinks, and an evening of conversation. As always, Night School has been left intentionally somewhat ambiguous in the hopes that over the course of time, events will adapt and respond to the topics and guests. For a look at our previous events, please visit our blog. We are excited to continue this series, and look forward to seeing you there.