Building in Puma
It is proven that sustainable development only occurs when ideas and resources are locally adapted; however, many conventional development approaches ignore local voices and treat them merely as passive consumers. Today, communication networks and technologies are decentralizing information. Citizens are empowered with unprecedented access to ideas, resources, and tools with which they may execute initiatives on their own terms. It is imperative that designers interested in working with the Global South face the implications of this contemporary terrain of interconnectivity: with new platforms for empowered community-led production, we must re-imagine our role as collaborative partners in development. The thesis focuses on a previously isolated and underdeveloped village in central Tanzania called Puma. Newfound connectivity has provided them with valuable access to development resources, but also has overwhelmed them with its scope and capacity, placing them in sudden proximity to varied and unfamiliar communities. In this terrain where tradition must confront the foreign, the thesis proposes an intervention that will foster communication across lines of difference and stimulate a process of reciprocal learning to generate development initiatives specific to Puma’s needs. This thesis identifies how an outsider architect can insert herself into Puma and forge a relationship that can effectively make use of the local-global collaborative potential. The thesis proposes an architectural intervention to help foster a dialogue on this subject. Using a building form and the building process, architecture will act as a dialogic tool for the navigation and confrontation of the unfamiliar and the cultivation of an enduring local-global partnership.