New approach to building on traditions

“Pro bono architect”, Michiel Smits wants to challenge the very model of modern-day Development Aid which he perceives as top-down and capitalistic. “We’re trying to penetrate this wall of ‘I’m the expert, I know what is right and although you can’t do this yourself, we’ll pay people from outside to do it for you’.” Much better to assess people’s existing knowledge and capacities, and then advise them how to improve, suggests Smits who is currently helping people in remote African communities build and maintain better houses for themselves.

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