• Monday 17 Oct 2016
  • The Reality of Informal Settlements in Latin America: Experiences from Communities for the Social Production of Habitat

    Side Events
    Venue: R7
    Lead Organization:
    • Techo International.
    Partner Organizations:
    • Chief Operating Officer,
    • Executive Director Of Social Programs,
    • Juan Pablo Duhalde,
    • Luis Bonilla.

    According to figures from the 2016 World Cities Report, more than 100 million people live in informal settlements in Latin America. 1 in 4 people in cities now inhabit a territory where the violation of rights and inequality directly affect those living in settlements, who cannot access basic services such as potable water, electricity, and education among others. In short, an absence of the rights and benefits of living in a city. Urbanization has made these settlements largely invisible in official figures, as well as within the discussion and generation of programs and policies. Favelas, shantytowns, slums, or settlements known locally by other names are manifest in each of the countries in Latin America. One of the big issues is that there is only a limited, deficient understanding of where settlements are, what features they have, and how local residents relate to one another. This information is key to the development of solutions from the perspective of those living in these territories, so that policies and national and local programs meet real diagnoses for effective and coherent designs. When projecting the new global urban agenda, it is essential to identify progress and experiences that have evolved from selfmanagement, mobilization and grassroots organization of those territories where public policies are absent, those spaces which remain unknown by society in general. From informal settlements there are experiences, knowledge, voices, challenges and opportunities that should translate into Habitat III agreements. Faced with this reality, social production of habitat, such as construction and transformation of spaces by citizens, is a reality that determines concrete actions in settlements in the region. Community leaders, from their experience, work and opinions, are those who can describe and reflect from their own paths, which have transformed territories and lives.