This research project investigates the risk topic of affordable housing and how the increasing population of cities drives a bigger gap between the demand for affordable housing and the funding from city councils. The hypothesis is that cities will need new flexible, sustainable, and programmatic solutions for the new housing models they develop. This is where parasitic architecture could act as a viable solution due to its nature of being a flexible and sustainable option. Furthermore, the project offers a computational design tool of which city councils can pick and choose host buildings for their parasites based on a variety of parameters that they can customize for their particular situation.
Using Barcelona as the subject city, and more specifically the district of Sant Marti and 28 blocks within Sant Marti, maps and metrics are shown to develop an “Affordability Index” to study how well the area is doing in terms of its affordability. The index shows that it is a good location for such a project, as the district scores low compared to other districts in Barcelona. In addition, a parasitic future of these 28 blocks is envisioned leveraging the computational design tool, demonstrating key population and economic metrics that would be improved by such a project. Lastly, the research dives into other impact scenarios to develop a sort of network between the parasites and the surrounding buildings. These networks focus on how the citizens can become integrated within the neighborhood, which the research shows is the key ingredient to driving real change with such an affordable housing model.