social – governmental Collaboration, an efficient mix for participatory social housing projects
Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo + neighbourhood cooperatives + Buenos Aires City Government = Los Piletones Neighbourhood Project
The Madres de Plaza de Mayo Association (hereafter “Madres”) is a highly relevant, internationally popular, social and political organization with a long history of dealing with human rights problems. The Madres devotion to claims for justice and clarification is an result of the genocide that took place during the military dictatorship from 1976 till 1983 in Argentina. During the last decade the association evolved from political player to urban player, based on the production of affordable housing as a wider understanding of human rights. Today its main focus lies on social housing projects all over Argentina, implemented in cooperation with neighbourhood cooperatives and city governments.
35 years Madres de Plaza de Mayo
To provide new jobs and include the neighbourhood, all workers involved in the project are “hired” by the cooperatives and receive an appropriate salary. After a technical workshop where they learn how to carry out their task, they work at the construction site. The construction of the houses uses a dry building technique with prefabricated panels. Their light weight also allows women to work. In every project of the Madres, 40 % of the workers are female.
Since 2007, when the Madres signed an agreement with the city government of Buenos Aires and with an local investor, the panels are manufactured in their own factory (CMI BA) in an old abandoned warehouse. With twelve workers per shift, it is producing 4,500 m² panels a day.
In the factory CMI BA / Construction
The project Los Piletones is located in the southwestern sector of Buenos Aires. It is a huge slum-area with irregular and informal settlements developed in earlier times. According to the Buenos Aires city government Barrio Los Piletones has a population of 2,645 inhabitants of whom a lot suffer from poor living conditions.
The initiative Los Piletones is managed by the Madres and neighbourhood housing cooperatives, together with the Corporación del Sur and the Ministry of Human Rights of the Buenos Aires city government. The whole project is financed by the national government through the Federal Housing Construction Programme.
The first phase of the project Los Piletones, which includes 105 housing units, started in 2007. Thirty six three-storey buildings with twelve units level were created by the neighbourhood workers using the panels from the Madres factory. Each of the buildings has an internal open space and Parque Indoamericano is nearby. Besides the housing they also constructed community facilities, such as a school, a child day care centre and shops. The city government also opened a district office in the Barrio.
All in all, the project created 400 legally payed jobs for the people of the neighbourhood, of whom many were previously unemployed.