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  • Locations: Lima, Peru
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Lima, Peru
Early Fall 2017
August 21 – September 18, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $3,100
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Brian Gerich, Leann Andrews, David Witte
 Program  Manager Carrie Moore |
 Application    Deadline April 2, 2017 (by 11:59pm)
 Information  Session(s) February 10th, 12:30pm, Gould Hall 100
  General The Informal Communities Initiative is a design activism, service learning and research program that addresses the challenges of slum development at a local level.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

Close to 1 billion people live in urban slums. Lomas de Zapallal (LdZ) is an urban slum with a population of approx. 30,000 in Northern Lima, Peru. Many residents lack access to water and sanitation, inhabit structurally unsound housing and endure overcrowded living conditions and pollution. They face the constant threat of natural disaster and disease.

In response to these challenges, an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students from the University of Washington and professionals from Architects Without Borders - Seattle established The Informal Urban Communities Initiative in Lomas de Zapallal, an informal urban settlement in Lima, Peru. The IUCI is a design activism, service learning and research program that addresses the challenges of slum development at a local level. Building upon and celebrating the bottom-up processes of urban slum growth, working closely with community members and responding to their priorities, the IUCI espouses an ‘emergent/convergent’ approach to design. Small scale, community-driven ‘emergent’ interventions accumulate over time and ‘converge’ with adaptive planning at the scale of the neighborhood. The initiative undertakes serial projects in the same community over the course of many years and monitors and evaluates their impacts. The overarching goal is to effect gradual social, economic and environmental change, substantiate the value of community-based design and expand the capacity of students, designers and other professionals to pursue successful projects in poor urban contexts.

During the 2017 IUCI Exploration Seminar: Lima Peru, students will spend a month in LdZ. During week 1, they will familiarize themselves with the community - touring and meeting with key community leaders. During weeks 2, 3 and 4, students will work with community members from LdZ’s Eliseo Collazos (EC) neighborhood to evaluate previous IUCI projects, assess current community priorities and design and implement a small scale intervention in community infrastructure (most likely a stairway and part of a community center). Weekly readings, lectures and discussions will revolve around the role of design in developing urban contexts, participatory design methods and the relationship between human/ecological health and the built environment. During weekly field trips, students will learn about NGOs working in Lima’s slums and visit project sites in the region.

The student experience will be immersive. We will live within 15 minutes of LdZ. Daily activities will be undertaken in collaboration with Peruvian community partners and projects will be guided by community priorities. Students will gain project-related technical knowledge as well as skills in cross-cultural communication and applied development practice.


Lima, Peru


Central Lima, Santa Maria Triunfo, Canta and Huamantanga


Students will be staying in Hogar Emmanuel, an orphanage located 15 minutes from LdZ. The orphanage was originally selected based upon a tour of the facilities. With ample space for eating, sleeping and working, it has served us well as a home base for research and teaching in Lima for the past 6 years. Accommodations include breakfast. Hogar Emmanuel accepts cash payments and cannot be paid in advance.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

The exploration seminar is open to all undergraduate and graduate students from any major, school, or program. We encourage students from a broad range of disciplines to apply. Previous experience studying, working or living abroad will be viewed in a positive light but is not required. Given the unpredictability of community-based work, we will be looking for applicants with personal qualities including patience, adaptability, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of changing and/or adverse circumstances.

We will be living in very basic accommodations and working in a slum neighborhood every day. Many activities will require significant physical exertion. Students should be prepared to experience discomfort and limited access to many of the amenities they may be accustomed to in the United States.

The course does not have any prerequisites. Spanish is not required, but students will have a much richer experience if they have at least some basic Spanish.

In general terms, students should be able to handle the seminar’s physical requirements. However, accommodations may be possible on an individual basis. Physical requirements include:
• Construction activities undertaken during the seminar require physical exertion.
• Eliseo Collazos is located on a steep slope that student must walk up and down. One field trip involves hiking at high elevation


5 Credits


LARC 495 (5 credits)

This course seeks to substantiate the hypothesis that low cost environmentally intelligent distributed infrastructure, participatory design and capacity building offer a compelling alternative to typical approaches to slum upgrading and will improve ecological resilience and human health of informal urban settlements. Grounded in Eliseo Collazos (EC) Lomas de Zapallal (LdZ), Puente Piedra, Lima, Peru, the seminar will involve design interventions, capacity building programs and the monitoring and evaluation of the built environment, human health and environmental health. It will focus on one or more of the following projects depending on community preferences:

  • Community center
  • Community stairs
  • Monitoring, evaluation and augmentation of the IUCI’s previous fog collection and greenspace projects

During weekly skill building exercises, students will learn practical skills relevant in poor urban communities. During weekly field trips, students will visit NGOs working in Lima. Readings, lectures and discussions will focus on the role of design in developing urban contexts, participatory design methods and the relationship between human/ecological health and the built environment.

Program Directors & Staff

Brian Gerich, Department of Landscape Architecture, Program Director

Leann Andrews, Department of Landscape Architecture, Program Co-Director

David Witte, Department of Architecture, Graduate Assistant

Program Expenses

Cost: $3,100

Estimated Program Fee of $3,100, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $15/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,000* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $3,100 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, three recommendations from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.