Between formal and informal: Bairro Prenda
Although when observing the city of Luanda one usually distinguishes its formal and urbanized areas from its musseques (informal settlements), it is necessary to see beyond this simplistic dichotomy in order to truly understand its urban process. Without any previous formal city plan, the capital of Angola has always been growing in a spontaneous way, mostly due to micro-scale social and economic dynamics. The attempts to “formalize” some areas usually resulted in social and economic segregation, as the poor people living near the centre are expropriated and pushed towards the periphery. The present text focuses on Bairro Prenda, particularly on the subject housing, as a closer approach to the city’s urban process. From farmland to musseque, from musseque to modern new neighborhood and then to now: the houses, streets and infrastructures that survived forty years of war, a melting pot of formal and informal urban and architectural processes.
Joana Venâncio: Integrated Master Student, Faculty of Architecture of Oporto University