Torre David, one of Venezuelan capital Caracas’ tallest skyscrapers, is now mostly known for being the world’s most well-known epitome of a typical vertical slum. Originally intended for use as an office tower, the unexpected death of the edifice’s developer has since left an unprecedented, and painful, mark on the fate of this huge building: it subsequently ran out of funds, and many of the city’s poorest inhabitants now hinge on this building as homes, factories, shops, and even places to gather with other fellow inhabitants.
What are the similarities of:
1. A skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, that is unexpectedly used as ‘safe haven’ for a city’s poorest rank-and-file
2. An abandoned ‘dream city’ in Chandigarh, India (a Utopian project by Le Corbusier), that for the city’s most impoverished, is a ‘brand-new huge office space’ to find new dreams upon?
3. A slum city (Makoko) on the suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria, that is entirely built above water and houses up to 150,000 people, and even supports a lively and vibrant economy despite decrepit infrastructure?
4. A densely-stacked town (Zabbaleen) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, that wholly depends on mounts of waste and garbage, and that for its inhabitants, are the primary sources of income?
5. And lastly, houses built underground that are scattered throughout China, for the reason that ‘governments are overlooking their housing needs’, when in fact more and more ghost cities are built in perpetuity across the whole country?
For Iwan Baan, a globe-trotting photographer, the answer is plain simple: ingenious.
And this is the similarly ingenious, and truly original, TED talk by which he presents the illustrations of real human ingenuity.