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Nice Work If You Can Get ItLife and Labor in Precarious Times$
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Andrew Ross

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814776292

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814776292.001.0001

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Learning from San Ysidro

Learning from San Ysidro

(p.131) 5 Learning from San Ysidro
Nice Work If You Can Get It

Andrew Ross

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the residential needs of highly mobile workers. The migration of people in search of a subsistence livelihood is an abiding feature of world history. Once people are in motion internally, they often keep moving, en route to the affluent regions of the world that export the capital. As a result, the mega-cities of the global South are likely to continue swelling for decades to come, and it is their version of slum life—where one billion are already living in substandard housing—that will define the urban future for the majority of the planet's population. The chapter then argues that green design, currently executed on a trickle-down principle, might better be advanced from the bottom-up, employing sustainable self-build practices that immigrants often carry with them. In centers of sprawl like the United States, this would be an especially useful form of “knowledge transfer” from the global South.

Keywords:   residential needs, mobile workers, slum life, substandard housing, urban future, green design

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