Recovery of the Housing Purpose of the Historical Centre of San Salvador; sustainable and equitable city

                                                              

Recovery of the Housing Purpose of the Historical Centre of San Salvador; sustainable and equitable city

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Solution proposed by: 
Salvadoran Foundation of Development and Social Housing (FUNDASAL
In a Nutshell: 
Considering the critical situation in regards of habitat, degradation and abandon of the old city, FUNDASAL implemented this experience following these principles: social organization, political incidence, land management and housing cooperatives projects. The strategy consists in opening wide and inclusive participatory spaces, consisting of inhabitants and multiple stakeholders.
Where and When: 
Implemented on the Historical Centre of San Salvador City (CHSS). It started on 2003, when FUNDASAL researched about the living conditions of inhabitants of precarious settlements. To this date, the program keeps working restlessly alongside housing cooperatives and urban gardens.
Challenges: 
The proposal was based on the daily reality of the dynamics within the Historical Centre, that was degraded and abandoned by the institutions, turned into open markets, with a local government lacking technical and financial resources, public policies and a weak legal framework. There was no coordination between local stakeholders; population’s poverty and social exclusion were ignored, along with their severe habitability problems, conflictive social relations within settlements, limited accessibility and price speculation on land, seismic condition, buildings in degradation and restrictions by the legal framework. All these conditions only increase the price of housing projects.
Innovation: 
The proposal is innovative for its comprehensive, participative and inclusive intervention; also, it’s complemented by a strong emphasis on social organization through Housing Cooperatives by Self-Help, that work on public policies at local and national levels besides their direct participation, management, construction and monitoring on housing projects. Another key aspect of the proposal is the conformation of plural spaces, with public and private stakeholders participation, while encouraging analysis and intervention proposals for the CHSS. The intervention designs have been defined by the beneficiary population, capturing their fights, hopes and dreams on them.
Concept: 
The solution mainly raises from the Social Production of Habitat, seen as generating processes of habitable spaces, urban components and houses, that are developed under self-producers control alongside other social stakeholders that work with no profit aim. This implies a high organization level of the participants, and in a lot of cases, complex production and management processes for other habitat components. Also, the solution is based on the four characteristic principals of the Housing Cooperatives by Self-Help model, which are: Collective Property, Self-Help, Technical Assistance and Self-Management. Housing Cooperatives has become in an affordable alternative for low income families, wherein their limelight is the main enhancer of social changes within communities. Another base concept is the mindful, active and propositional participation of citizenship, pushing transformation from local levels while influencing national public policies.
Description: 
The solution raises from a context marked by the lack of recognition of the Historic Centre and its problems, within a history of marginalization and social exclusion, low educational level, influence of illegal groups and violence on settlements, without financial help from the government for housing project, social polarization due to political differences between Central and Local Governments and the Legislative Assembly, lack of competent authorities mainly due to lack of resources and an appropriate legal framework to attend the need of different social stakeholders and lacking coordination Thus, the participative solutions that rose were to boost the Housing Cooperatives by Self-Help as a way to increase awareness, leading and self-managed participation, articulating an inhabitant’s movement under the leadership of organizational structures capable of negotiating, management and incidence, with four principals: Collective Property, Self-Help, Technical Assistance and Self-Management. Housing Cooperatives in formation, managed to establish strategic alliances with organizations such as “Los sin techo” (Those with no roof), for the mobilization of the official delivery act of the Land Accessibility and Financing Law and the modifications for the Cooperative Associations General Law. In the three built housing projects (San Esteban, ACOVIVAMSE and Renacer), the cooperatives lead the work execution, developing managing activities, supervision, supply, and self-help. A technical assessment team from FUNDASAL (EAT), supported the training, supervision and technical assistance in four areas: legal, administrative, organizational and construction. The EAT supports the 13 existent cooperatives to date from their legalization processes, project formulation and management, work execution and organized cohabitation within their new settlements. The capacity and renowned suitability of the members of the Permanent Forum for Integral Development of San Salvador’s Historical Centre enable successful arrangements for institutional incidence that aim to coordinate the CHSS administration with adequate regulatory frameworks.
Impacts: 
The “Histocal Centre” qualifying, given to the project, has entered the collective worldview, the institutional agenda and mass media. The Permanent Forum for Integral Development of San Salvador’s Historical Centre was formed. The Legislative Assembly approved the Historical Centre of San Salvador Declaratory Decree. The very serious situation of its inhabitants has been revealed, causing modification to public policies. FUNDASAL formed land banks, enabling the inhabitants’ safety. Also, three housing projects have been built, transforming the lives of 61 families that used to live in precarious settlements. Organized families working on adequate habitat improvement.

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