19.2 C
New York
Saturday, June 3, 2023

Buy now


Argentina’s slum policy a rare domestic bright spot

A tourists stroll On Arroyo street in Retiro, one of Buenos Aires’ most posh neighborhoods, you can buy a bag of beans for $22 and order a kale at trendy restaurants Kale Pesto Salad. But a few streets away is the city’s oldest slum, known as Villa 31, which covers 72 hectares (178 acres) and is home to more than 40,000 people. A three-bedroom apartment in Arroyo rents for about $3,000 a month; a family living in Villa 31 might pay $150-$250 for housing. Instead of fancy coffee, street vendors there sell sneakers and bags of cereal.

Hear this story.
Enjoy more audio and podcasts iOS or android.

Your browser does not support

However, as glamorous as it may be, Villa 31 is catching up. Since 2016, the municipality has used funds from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (Inter-American Development Bank), more than $300 million has been spent on laying roads, granting land titles, and laying sewer pipes and cables. The slum used to have only one asphalt road. Today, all streets are paved. There were no public schools in 2016. The community now owns three. Since 2019, the bus goes to Villa 31, where a bank is opened.

Favela integration is a rare point of coherence in Argentina’s fragmented politics. In 2009, Mauricio Macri, then the liberal mayor of Buenos Aires, introduced a law aimed at improving Villa 31’s infrastructure. Progress stalled until 2016, when Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, also a liberal, succeeded him as mayor. In 2017, during Macri’s presidency, a national registry was created to identify slums, and upgrading shanty towns became a national priority. This continues under a government led by the left-wing populist movement Peronists. On October 27, the Senate approved a law banning slum evictions for a decade and added 1,100 settlements to the registry, bringing it to 5,600.

Four out of five Latin Americans live in cities. But nearly every major city is surrounded by slums, home to 120 million people, or 20 percent of the region’s population. They have different names: villa (shortage Misery Villaor miserable village) in Argentina, slums in Brazil and barrio bajo in Mexico. The government has long tried to improve them. Chile pioneered a market-oriented approach in the 1970s by granting tax breaks to construction companies that build social housing. Between 1980 and 2000, approximately 2 million new housing units were built for the poor, accounting for 43 percent of the housing stock. While the effort is considered a success, some families have poor-quality homes in areas far from their jobs.

One of the largest projects was carried out in Rio de Janeiro between 1995 and 2008 at a cost of US$ 600 million. This tries to integrate 158 slums, Home to 250,000 people.But subsequent reports from the agency Inter-American Development Bank Indicating that the communities involved in the project ended up with worse garbage collection and sewerage. Local gangs often try to regain control by vandalizing new streetlights and pavement. Inaccessibility to steeper, hilly areas meant much of the new infrastructure could not be maintained. And the program can’t keep up with population growth. Rio’s population grew by 3.4% between 2000 and 2010, but nearly 30% in Asia slums.

Villa 31 avoids these problems. Its central location helps. There are very few gangs in Buenos Aires.Police presence in the area has increased since 2016 villa Further reducing crime. Omar, a 26-year-old Senegalese street vendor, moved there in April. “Five years ago I would never have been here. There were no police, the roads were muddy and pitch black,” he said.

The biggest changes have occurred in the 1,200 homes that once lived under the highway. The city government built apartment buildings for them. But in two recent surveys of new apartments, most residents complained of water leaks and poor sound insulation. High rents are a pain point.

Mr. La Retta hopes the publicity for Villa 31 will help him win the presidency next year. Advertisements in Buenos Aires tout his slogan: “Change won’t stop.” Mr La Reta is a Harvard-educated technocrat who may lack the dynamism of his populist peers. But Argentina needs ability over charisma.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles