An analysis of informal housing : the case of Los Platanitos, Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic
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Many Latin American countries have transitioned from agricultural to service-oriented societies since the 1950s and have consequently seen a vast migration of people from rural to urban areas in search of new jobs created in cities. The vast majority of migrants have not been able to afford or obtain formal or government- built housing. They have, consequentially, turned to the informal sector, settled land that was owned by another and built their houses there despite in many cases not having services. The Dominican Republic has seen a similar sequence of events and has also seen a large increase in urban populations and informal housing in its cities. This paper examines the housing in one of these informal settlements, the community of Los Platanitos, located in the municipality of Santo Domingo Norte and among the poorer settlements in Santo Domingo. Specifically, this study examines the process in which the community was settled and consolidated as well as residents’ ability to improve their situation through acquisition of this property. It also looks at the current state of housing in Los Platanitos in terms of spatial distribution and existing and needed support systems.