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Published on Aug 18, 2011
ELEMENTAL, a Chilean design firm and self described "Do Tank" has raised the bar for public housing in the developing world with its transformative design for Iquique's Quinta Monroy shantytown. Working in close consultation with local residents, ELEMENTAL countered the trend of displacing poor people from urban centers by stacking duplex units at diagonals from one other. Founders Pablo Allard, Andres Iacobelli, and Alejandro Arevena's designs have not only solved the problem of density, but maximized the $7,500-per-unit budget by building "starter" homes that allow people to easily expand and individualize their spaces. As Aravena likes to say, each unit has "the DNA of a middle-class home."