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This book describes and analyzes the phenomenon of spontaneous transformation in self-built houses in the context of developing countries. After describing briefly the history of self-built houses and the phenomenon of transformation around the world, it focuses on its context, the city of Dhaka. Firstly it describes the physical patterns of spontaneous transformation. Then it explains the explicit reasons behind those transformations. Finally, it carefully unveils the implicit values that are hidden behind those explicit reasons. The entire book is an ethnographic journey, which not only expresses unique stories of living with transformation, but also captivates the reader throughout with its compelling way of qualitative judgment.



Chapter 1. Self-Built Houses (SBH) in Dhaka City

Self-built houses are defined in this study as those which are developed by the owners by using their own leisure time. They are in abundance especially in the developing countries where the public sectors are not resourceful enough to cater for the lower income group. In the particular context of Dhaka City, these self-built houses are found to be located in confused sprawls, a particular type of urban development evolving at urban fringes when agro lands are converted to urban residential quarters. This chapter describes the different morphological and non-morphological issues related to the self-built houses in confused sprawls in Dhaka City in order to familiarize the reader to the particular context.
Tareef Hayat Khan

Chapter 2. Spontaneous Transformation as an Integral Phenomenon of Inhabitation

This chapter is a literature review on the phenomenon of Spontaneous Transformation, which is defined as any alteration, addition, extensions, or modification of a house. Spontaneous Transformation has been identified as an integral part of inhabitation. However, in large scale housing, users, even if they are owners, do not have much authority to transform. In the context of self-built houses, especially in the developing countries, studies show that there is abundance of transformation incidents. With the owners being the actors behind them, this chapter tried to relate this phenomenon of spontaneous transformation with human behavior.
Tareef Hayat Khan

Chapter 3. Categories of Spontaneous Transformation

Urban setup in confused sprawl in Dhaka city is dense. Obviously, there are plenty of building regulations and bylaws to control their growth. Yet, a high level of versatility in the combination of different architectural elements can be noticed that is a resultant of site forces, bylaws, availability of local materials or technics, and different incidents of spontaneous transformation. Together they give the impression of an unconscious, yet powerful vocabulary of a particular urban residential form, especially common in the context of the rapidly growing cities in developing countries. This chapter searched for a prototype of building form in the self-built houses in confused sprawls in Dhaka city, and consequently tried to identify the existence of any categories of spontaneous transformation in those houses. The write-up started with empirical observation, and then was gradually consolidated by field studies stretched over many years of inhabitation in these neighborhoods by the author.
Tareef Hayat Khan

Chapter 4. Explicit Behavioral Patterns of Spontaneous Transformation

After generating the categories of transformations under the category of Building Level (BL) and Partition Level (PL) transformations, this chapter tried to identify the behavioral patterns of such transformations, which were stated as themes. To have a better understanding, several themes were grouped into domains. There were major, minor, and meta domains. The major domains reflected those themes which were more frequent. The minor ones reflected those themes which were not that frequent. The meta domain reflected those themes which were related to the whole history of transformations of the houses. These themes also showed association with particular categories of transformation either at BL or PL.
Tareef Hayat Khan


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