In order to counter contemporary threats to the security of contemporary societies radical experimentation into new ways of living is needed. Taking inspiration from the global phenomenon of informal cities and their unique relationship with waste materials and spaces, this thesis proposes alternative ways of approaching community development in Affluent World cities. It envisions a development paradigm that incorporates user control in the design and construction of housing and other community infrastructure, encouraging the scavenging of materials and the re-appropriation of underused land. In line with the successful development practices now being carried out in informal settlements around the world, this bottom-up approach to development has surprising and encouraging implications for the practice of architecture and the quality of the built environment. Far from a dystopian view of society, this thesis presents an approach to building resilience into cities in a manner that does not shy away from the most pressing problems of today.