The issue of the doctor thesis `Mutations of urban settlement structures in Recife/Brazil discusses the morphological and typological evolution processes of huge planned housing complexes due to interventions on a smaller scale undertaken by their users. Intending to realize detailed case studies, it examins several housing estates in the peripheric areas of the Metropole of Recife, which were constructed in the 1970s and 1980s within the scope of a national program of social housing. Built in order to aply standardized and uniform typological programs, they experienced great modifications by their inhabitants since then. Research and analysis focus on the four storey blocks within the housing estates, for they show today the most varied transformations among the original buildings. Their transformations have been marked by the correlation between private, semi-public and public spheres as well as individual and collective fields of action. The thesis aims to registrate and classify the existing mutations by relating and comparing them to the different original architectural types. In addition it tries to analyze the context of their rising and, as a consequence, provide a deeper comprehension of the diverse phenomena related to them. Based on the observed experiences, it exposes further perspectives for the planning process of future housing projects. In this way the term type, which is central to the thematic conception of the thesis, forms a connecting point between the comprehension of existing structures and the creation of new ones. The first chapter deals with the morphological evolutions of the built structure. More specifically, it examins the modifications that ocurred to the housing blocks, by categorizing their dimensions and elements of change. It can be observed that especially the new spatial units like garages, stores or common areas, which have been added to the majority of the existing blocks, restructure some of the original building types and the spaces surrounding them. The original facilities of illumination and accessibility have also frequently been alterated. The second chapter takes a closer look at the socio-demographic, the socio-economic and the socio-cultural characteristics of the inhabitants as well as at specific qualities of each localization and its neighbourhoods and the architectural potential of the preexisting built structure. The mutations that were observed in the studied housing estates can be explained by a complex combination of various factors.
According to the analysis, the margin for spatial evolutions appears to be heavily influenced by the attributes of the morphological structure itself. The third and last chapter draws conclusions for practice and theory of planning, interpreting architectural design as a starting point to the following utilization and evolution processes. It shows the possibilities to intervene in those processes, based on the flexibility or stability of a given form. In the end a few examples of building types are deduced from the studies elaborated so far and evaluated in relation to their aptitude for future housing estates. The proposed buildings allow certain adaptions to different uses and needs. Therefore they can be considered as sustainable architecture, open to further evolution.