R for Rímac Reborn Project (Lima, Peru)

The Rímac Reborn Project is a multistep program to aim the goals of redevelopment with social inclusion, run by La Eficiencia Legal para la Inclusión Social (ELIS – Legal Efficiency for Social Inclusion) which is a non-profit organization based in Lima, Peru. It is a small team of lawyers, architects and urban planners. Their main focus is on the community development, environmental concerns and the use of sustainable practices.

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The background
The working area of this project is the historic Rímac District which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its an old neighborhood with historic value. In the 19th century it was home to wealthy families close to the center of Lima. In the mid-20th century the population of Lima highly increased and as a consequence, the habitants with higher income were leaving their homes in Rímac district and moved to the south of Lima close to the ocean.

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Nowadays many of these once vacant historic houses are occupied by families which do not have titles to the properties. Some families pay rent to the owners, some not. For that reason the buildings and the surrounding properties in the district of Rímac were neglected what causes a decrease of value and raised the risk of safety or public health.

The goals
ELIS purposes to revitalize the Rímac District to create economic growth for the city but still remaining sensitive to the needs of the local community. They want to promote new housing but without a displacement of the thousands of squatters. In 2013 the Rímac Reborn Project was born which wants to redevelop the decrepit buildings into mixed income housing to comfort the local tax revenue for public infrastructure upgrades. Also important for the project was to take care of architectural designs that follow the historic guidelines of the area, maximize the amount of apartments and provide the best spaces for the families.

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The strategy for urban regeneration
ELIS organizes the residents into association and communicates with the property owners. The goal of ELIS is to bring in a private developer to buy the title from the original landowners. The developer is supposed to reconstruct the buildings, providing subsidized units to the current residents and market a part of units to new buyers. It works only if all property owners are willing to sell and the residents agree with the redevelopment idea. For that reason ELIS has to coordinate between the landowner, tenants and private developer. They are also working close with the Ministry of Housing to create a legal process when it comes to the transfer of property.

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The Rimac project started a partnership with the American Planning Association (APA) for technical and financial support. With this financial help ELIS was able to collect information on the property owners and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with those owners. That agreement includes that the owners sell their property to a developer on the condition that the developer would then create a mixed use project for the current residents. ELIS also gathered social and economic information of each family that had indicated support for the Rimac Project because only properties that had propety owners and current residents are qualified for redevelopment. These dossiers would then be presented to private developers.

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The technical support from APA was given by identifying private developers. After a long process ELIS and APA decided to do a competitive request for proposal (RFP) to find the developers and to ensure the conditions will be kept by them. In June 2013 the final RFP was released. Although many potential developers showed their interest in this project, ELIS has not find the right development team to fulfill the goals yet.

Supporting Innovation: Case Studies from Latin America on Sustainable Housing and Community Development
from American Planning Association
. 2013

Further reading:
Elemental – a design and building company in Chile
Favela Painting in Brazil
Hábitat para la Mujer, Cochabamba, Bolivia



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