212.9 Diversity and homogeneity: Reflecting on the production of housing

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 10:12 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Regina BIENENSTEIN , Escola de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil
Glauco BIENENSTEIN , Escola de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil
Monique ANTUNES , Architecture, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil
Popular settlements are heterogeneous environments where a pre-modern way of life has lived alongside advanced technology. Such settlements have encompassed a wide range of families from different social profiles which, in turn, have developed different roles in the community. The needs and interests of these families can also be opposed to the interests of rest of the community. However, examining the public housing stock for low income people has not pointed out the same diversity that we find inside the community. This paper argues that as housing project solutions have been repeatedly standardized, they have not solved the needs required by the social diversity of the communities for which they were designed. The study focuses on examples of regional municipalities in projects to remove families located in areas threatened by any kind of environmental risk. The two cases here studied suggest that in order to reduce costs, the houses offered for these low-income families tend to be homogenized, not responding to their needs, and often do not maintain any correspondence with their previous living space. The main characteristics of residents and the built environment of popular settlements will be examined in comparison with the proposals for new homes offered to eliminate the risk situations. This paper tries to provide inputs for the treatment of working class housing, deepening the knowledge about the self-produced and informal spaces of this social group, and also a critical view of current housing production for low income populations in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The data here presented is part of the findings of a research projects developed by the Núcleo de Estudos e Projetos Habitacionais e Urbanos da Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which has had as its main role the provision of technical assistance to social urban movements.