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Vertical Limits | Brazilian Alternative Public Housing


Topic: Verticalization of the Shantytowns: Where?

Theme: Federal My House, My Life Program

Source: GGN

Sabetai Calderoni is an urban planner, economist and member of the Superior Council on the Environment at Fiesp. José Pedro Santiago is an agriculturalist and member of the same council.

Both have demonstrated greater social sensitivity than the Ibre-FGV researchers cited in the previous post. Both have demonstrated greater social sensitivity than the Ibre-FGV researchers cited in the previous post. Calderoni and Santiago published the following article (Valor, Feb/02/15), evaluating the Minha Casa Minha Vida (MCMV) federal housing program.

GGN reproduces the arguments of the Valor article.

“Our cities, and above all our metropolitan areas, are turning into battle zones as police confront residents involved in frequent squatting of buildings and even public parks. Conflicts with the “roofless” movement will be repeated until Brazilian cities become a battleground unless the problem of homelessness is urgently solved.

The major difficulties of eliminating the housing shortage, which stands at 5.8 million residence, are the scarcity and elevated infrastructure costs of land, especially in the big cities.

The choice of single-story, separate popular housing units, only aggravates the situation. Why underuse such rare and expensapartamentsive land, increasing the cost of infrastructure even further?

A promising alternative to solving the problem is to constructive multistory buildings in the shantytowns themselves.

The process is to promote a swap of residences situated in level areas of these communities for apartments to be constructed at the same location, say, for example, in blocs of ten or a dozen floors.

But is there sufficient space in these territories to support the number of buildings needed to overcome the housing shortage? According to the IBGE census of 2010, the number of Brazilians living in shantytowns is daunting.

There were 11.4 million persons living in 3.2 million households (3.56 inhabitants per domicile on average) in 323 townships and 6,329 subnormal agglomerations, led by São Paulo, with 2.715.067 inhabitants, and Rio, with 2,023,744.

It is surprising that 52.5% of these residences are located on even ground, and that the total number of dwellings — 2,081,977 — have only one floor, eloquent testimony to the underuse of the lands they occupy.

It is possible to eliminate the entire housing deficit, the entire stock of 5.8 million housing units, using a mere 15% of the area occupied by shantytown dwellings, or 30% of the flat portions of this area, assuming we are building apartment buildings as high as 12 floors.

The remaining space, 85% of the total, could receive important improvements, such as new transport systems, public illumination, social infrastructure (daycare, schools, medical clinics, and so on) as well as low-cost sanitation projects such as miniaturized sewer treatment stations.apartaments

The environmental and public safety gains would be immense, offering new residences to people living on hillsides, fountainheads, riverside pastures and other areas of environmental protection. The residents receive title totheir land, a vital step toward citizenship and self-esteem.

Many very large shantytowns are located in regions with sufficent transport and near regions labor da mão de obra e para o poder aquisitivo dos moradores.offering services and employment. In this way, verticalization reduces infrastructure costs and increases the insertion of the person into the productive and social chains.

Verticalization aside, in order to reduce costs and improve the quality of lands and infrastructure, the cost of building materials must also be considered, according to the earning power and the market value of manual labor.

The recycling of garbage has arisen as an important alternative, reducing costs and raising the income of the families. Rubbish can be used to produce premolded artifacts, bricks, tiles, posts, and gutters. They are the elements of a technology already dominated by the industrialization of civil construction which simplifies, acclerates and economizes.

Garbage recycling is an activity that increases the employment opportunitieś and the income of resident families, who will be able to take part in the construction of the new buildings. All these factors contribute to reducing the cost of housing.

These costs can be much lower than they are. In buildings constructed by the MTST in Taboão da Serra, with the same cost as the 39 square meters of the MCWV program, apartments measuring 83 meters squared, with three bedrooms, were completed. That is a savings of 50! Using this system, instead of 3.4 million residences, 5.7 million could be built — in other words, 2.3 million more, which represents 40% of the housing deficit.

Part of the success is owned to a donation of land by the city government. This reinforces the idea of swapping shantiesfor new apartments, offering as an additional inducement the title to their property.

The program Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House, My Life, or MCMV), in five years (starting in 2009), made it possible to build 3.4 million residents spending R$ 216.69 billion. If that is true, the housing deficit should be able to be eliminated investing the same amount of resources if the residences can be built at a 40% discount, which is possible only by eliminating the costs of obtaining land. With the other savings discussed here, the reduction of costs will necessarily be greater.

Under a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) companies can transfer technology and ensure the proper training to develop this model, guaranteeing the participation of all parties in the decisions and the fruits of collective labor.

The remuneration of private partners for the investments they made will come from the commercial use of establishments or spaces to be built on the ground floor of the new buildings, from street maintenance and the operation of the Rubbish Recycling Center. It is only fair  that the private partner undertake the maintenance of common areas of the buildings as well.

Social movements and other entities working in the area of housing may play an important role as protagonists of this paradigm shift.

And so it is possible to offer dignified housing to the population, within their financial grasp, and mitigating the suffering to which they find themselves submitted.

In sum, there are sustainable solutions to overcoming the housing deficits in a reasonable amount of time, with social and environmental gains. Peace is possible.”

FNC: We should also take into account that this general scenario, in which 52.5% of these residences are built on level ground and 64.6% of the total — 2,081,977 residences — are single-story homes, are not typical of the metro regions of the Southeast, but rather in other regions.

And so, yes, it is impossible to “eliminate the entire housing deficit of 5.8 million residences using only the 15% of the area occupied by shantytown shanties, or the 30% of the level ground, supposing we build apartment blocs of 12 stories,” without moving the shantytown dwellers from their current homes in the hillside peripheries of the major metro centers.

The social cost of these logistical considerations must be carefully considered. Is there a risk of creating a social apartheid.?