Iwan Baan: Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places

Urban documentarian, Iwan Baan, explores how people from around the world adapt to their circumstances by organically building and shaping their communities to match the environments around them. Baan offers a view of a poverty that we do not often see, showing people that are proud of their homes, their businesses, and their accomplishments that the developed world often glosses over.

While it’s clear much of the imagery presents huge challenges to the global community and shows signs of sheer desperation and need, there are also signs of life. Baan remarks that above all else, through his worked he’s learned there really is no “normal” life.

An underground home in China - Photo credit: Wikimedia

An underground home in China - Photo credit: Wikimedia

I think it’s important to note that we risk viewing these images as some sort of “disaster porn”, similar to how imagery from urban Detroit is exploited for middle and upper class curiosity. Please view his talk as an exploration of how are living around the world, rather than perhaps how they should, or perhaps even wish, to live.