Eduardo Rojas

Notes of a talk by Eduardo Rojas given to MIT Humphrey SPURS Fellows and Harvard Loeb Fellows at Stella Conference Room 7-338 MIT, 11th April 2011.

Housing in Latin America

1900
25% urban

1985
4.7 family size

2000
75% urban
4.1 family size

2015
80% urban
3.5 family size

Informal sector
1990s 60% new jobs
48% in informal sector
24% self employed

Higher, more persistent and increasing inequalities in Latin America than in the rest of the world.

Types of housing inadequacy
Neighbourhood
Lack of infrastructure: piped water and sanitary disposal

Shelter
Wall, roof, floor

Tenure
Secure or unsecured

Of these, in LA, order is infrastructure then materials then tenure.

But these shortages are diminishing ie things are getting better.

Yet great need for new housing (growing pop and smaller housing sizes)

Approximately 3 million new houses needed annually
Build 9 million to avoid doubling up, improve 40million, build 3 million new.

General relationship between infrastructure/materials and GDP but not with tenure since tenure closely related to policy.

building and/or financing housing
Move to promote financial markets and take states out of housing production.
“Don’t allow bias against provision of infrastructure”.

ABC credit system to enable low income households to access housing finance.

A Savings (household)
B Subsidies (public)
C Loans (private)

But not so successful.

Programmes supporting both the supply (building and upgrading) and demand (vouchers and financing) for housing.

Comparing Argentina, Chile and Colombia
Arg doing less well in comparison – supplying housing.
Chile on line.
Colombia, doing well – targeted at lower incomes, document on financing.
Conclusions – if you want to be successful, you can’t just provide housing, you need to go to wider urban issues.

Sites and services
Relatively simple, low cost burden but located at edge so inaccessible.

ELEMENTAL providing 1Ha lots, pooling funds for greater efficiency.

Neighbourhood upgrading programmes.

Three genations of informal settlements
First, anomalous problem, treated as temporary.
Second, acceptance and provision of housing.
Third, realisation that provision needs to be of economy as well as housing.

Medellin
Focus on infrastructure to provide accessibility.

Conclusion
Access to housing for all.
Treat housing as a merit good not as an entitlement.
Go beyond the house and focus on the city.

Questions
Safety
Safer areas have more stable economies.
Repression does not solve the problem.

Renting v owning
Focus may have been on ownership but renting happening informally. Rent control killed rental market.

Jim Stockard – benefit of renting is to control neighbour problems eg a drug dealer next door would be a rental agreement violation.
Residential rental market relatively immature cf commercial market.

TS Questions
Where are the places to visit other than Medellin?
Unfortunately v few.

What are the differences at the centre and edge?

Infrastructure related to GDP but not tenure – aren’t both policy driven?

Isn’t there a risk in passing housing provision to markets since infrastructure needed and markets don’t provide infrastructure?

Relation between lack of tenure and housing Market-led dev

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