Since the early 1980s upgrading and tenure regularization have been widely accepted policies to assist owner self-help housing construction in informal settlements that have come to make up between 20-60 percent of the built-up area of Latin American cities. Today many of these first suburbs are fully integrated into what is now the intermediate ring of the city. However, few researchers and even fewer policy makers have these consolidated settlements on their agenda. Fully serviced, after thirty years or more of intensive use these areas are facing deterioration of the physical fabric, utilities, and community. Since 2007 the Latin American Housing Network (LAHN http://www.lahn.utexas.org) has been studying these areas through independent research groups working with a common methodology in nine Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay).This meeting is part of a series of regional policy roll outs devoted to a new generation of housing policy that will focus upon housing and community rehabilitation of existing housing stock. This pathbreaking study is expected to inform multilateral agencies, NGOS, central and local governments, and other housing and community development researchers leading up to the UNHABITAT III Conference in 2016. At the May 30 Wilson Center session, LAHN researchers will present findings from their comparative studies, emphasizing principal policy lines for debate and discussion.
- Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology, C. B. Smith Centennial Chair in US-Mexico Relations, University of Texas at Austin