Document Type

Thesis Prep




Fall 2018


Medellin, waste collector, architecture, urban environment, social construction, recycle






Waste Collectors: Urban Rangers proposes that looking at Medellin through the scope of an informal waste collector allows for the visualization of the relationship between the user and distribution of repurposed values in the city. The analysis focuses on the existing infrastructure and legislation that frames this practice; it provides a critique of current working elements that could be designed to function as a network to assert a new spatial agency with user specificity. This thesis uses the scope of the waste collector, an urban phenomenon, to reexamine the city of Medellin and its legislative practices regarding this issue. Addressing problems in current proposals to reframe and rationalize the informal and freelance (determined by the user) practice of waste collection through master planning techniques is supported by tracing the user. Top-down planning disregards user specificity and imposes interventions without taking consideration for optimization at the scale of the user. Tracing the subject allows this research to show the relationship between the formal and informal in relation to the collection, the interference of the government’s process of formalizing this practice, and optimized and desired collection findings and exchanges. What if there were a mode of physical intervention that was made to aid this practice as opposed to legislative intervention? Medellin has rewritten its city narrative through an architectural mode, and waste collection should not be excluded from this account. Waste Collectors: Urban Rangers will explore how physical operations at the scope of the waste collector can enhance and magnify the waste collector’s urban environment through tangible resources to magnify the notion of informal collection. Waste Collectors: Urban Rangers proposes that interventions regarding networks of waste collection structures have the potential to benefit the user and speak to the ongoing changes within the context. This proposal is a critique of the current conditions regarding waste collection in Medellin. By understanding the user and their capacity to circulate the city, structural framework for workspaces can form a network; this network will ultimately inform the existing social construction of the waste collection practice and use the urban experience to inform design decisions.

Additional Information

Thesis Prep Advisor:

Jiong Wu


Local Input

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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Architecture Commons