Hybrid systems : relationships between formal and informal communities in Caracas
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During the decade of 1950s, the intensive rural to urban migration, in search for new job opportunities, created a high housing demand that was partially solved by the dictatorial government of Marcos Perez Jimenez. However, in the absence of effective public policy and failed housing projects, the population started to create solutions of their own to satisfy their housing needs, settling themselves in an improvised way around the urbanized areas and constituting what we know today as informal settlements or barrios. By 1957, around 35% of the population of Caracas lived in barrios. During the past decade, Venezuela has experienced a series of changes that have modified the economic, political and social model that governed the country. During Chavez's government, there have been many policy changes regarding property, land, economic and social organization, in search for solutions to the housing problem that integrate the marginalized sector of the population. However, a different pattern of informal settlements has emerged. Some organized communities have started to invade not only vacant land in the city peripheries; they are now invading buildings that are inserted in the center of the city, contrasting to the formal systems already existing in the city. There is now a new interpretation of what is legal and what is not. We are experiencing the changes and understanding the consequences of their implementation. The purpose of this research is to understand the current processes of housing production and acquisition in formal and informal communities in Caracas through a review of existing literature and qualitative studies of the relationships between stakeholders. I analyze the new policies and the current housing production organization system and contrast it to what is actually happening in practice. I also investigated how incremental changes in existing practices can contribute to the development of safe and legible housing production processes. My recommendations are the result of hybrid systems that consider different actors and perspectives of the same reality in order to find a healthier and more sustainable building culture in Caracas.