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The Squatter Settlement as Slum or Housing Solution: Evidence from Mexico City Author(s): Peter M. Ward Source: Land Economics, Vol. 52, No. 3 (Aug., 1976), pp. 330-346 Published by: University of Wisconsin Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3145530 . Accessed: 06/07/2011 09:56
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500. A similar pattern is observed in other Latin American cities.2% of the population. (12. In 1974 the minimum wage was 52 pesos a day (1.2 Moreover. By 1970 they had extended to somewhere between 35% and 40% of a total population of 8. 1 Low income for the purposeof this paperis taken as earning the minimum wage or less.000 pesos a month.248 pesos a month).. 1971-2. and 70%less than 1. ranchos or barrios in Venezuela. villas miserias in Argentina. in 1970 45% of the economically active population earned less than 1.1 which often have an ambiguous legal status. Land Economics * 52 * 3 * August 1976 .University CollegeLondon. barriadasor pueblos jbvenes in Peru.5 Mexicanpesos = $1 U. and from a by plan constructed the author.The Squatter Solution: Settlement Evidence from as Slum or Housing Mexico Cityt Peter M. or form a viable housing solution? CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARD SETTLEMENTS SQUATTER Many conflicting statements about squatter settlements in the 1950s and early 1960s were the result of a lack of detailed micro-level analyses and a tendency to evaluate them according to inappropriate middle-class values and standards. in contrast with an overall city growth rate of 5."they are themselvesmade up of both squattersand illegal subdivisions.7% per annum [Turner et al. S. Do they constitute a slum universe. their relative importance is increasing. go under a plethora of names: favelas in Brazil. *Lecturerin Latin AmericanGeography. contemporary 4 Oficina Municipal de Planeamiento Urbano [1972]. approximately.5% of the urban area. de Estudios y Proyectos [1952].) 2Literally "proletarianneighborhoods. callampas in Chile and colonias proletarias in Mexico.Ward* RESIDENTIAL LOW-INCOME IN GROWTH LATIN AMERICA For the past two decades many studies of urbanization in Latin America and other "developing" areas have focused attention upon residential expansion. Low-income settlements.S.5 million [Turner et al. 3Data extrapolated from the BNHUOPSAmap.. "Estudio de la Habitaci6nen la Ciudadde MBxico. The classic stereotyped analo- t I am indebted to Colin Clarkeof the University of Liverpoolfor his comments on an earlierdraft of this paper.A. 1971-2]." Depto. In Mexico City in 1952 colonias proletarias constituted 23. Harth Deneke 1966]. and 41. According to the Buro de Investigacidnde Mercados. In 1970 the ranchos of Caracashoused 34.48% of the built-up area and 14.3 Relative growth of colonias proletarias is estimated to have been on the order of 10-15% per annum since 1950.4 The role of such areas as a housing form has been the subject of considerable debate.4% of the population [Banco Obrero 1973] and had a growth rate of 15% per annum.

Mangin and Turner 1968. These stereotypes were put into doubt by field research [Turner 1965. In Table 1 they areportrayedas basicsub-systems. . Ward 1975]. The degree to which the options listed in Table 1 accurately reflect the information upon which low-income residential decisions are made is not known. MEXICO CITY: THELOW-INCOME HOUSING SYSTEM In Mexico City the low-income housing stock is organized into a series of sub-systems (Table 1). and terms such as ranchos. Mangin 1967. Factors which may influence demand are marital status. they are not rural "hicks" [Leeds and Leeds 1970]. Ray 1969. Second. ability to pay. Turnerfor clarification of the principalcomponentsof the Mexicansystemat an early stage of this study (see Turneret al. This paper suggests that some of the contradictions regarding the role of squatter settlements in the urbanization process are the result of definitional misunderstandings. barriadas.5 as well as among research workers [Schulman 1968.Ward:The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City gies to an urban cancer [Juppenlatz 1970]. Leeds and Leeds 1970] describing the dynamic improvement processes in urban squatter settlements. conflict and confusion continue to exist in the popular literature [De Jesus 1970] and the press. Pearse [1961]).6 Making a choice between each sub-system depends upon people's demands and priorities which are themselves highly variable [Turner and Fichter 1972]. Moreover. Salmen 1970] and government institutions [INVI 1968]. Sudraand Turner[1973]). In his schemeciudades perdidas and colonias paracaidistasare "compensathat have developedin responseto tory" sub-systems demandsand changesin the efficiency of the system. their intra-urban residential histories do not correspond with a direct movement into squatter settlements but rather indicate varying periods of residence in rental or shared accommodation elsewhere in the city [Turner 1968. inhabited by ruralites who arrived in ever-increasing numbers and constructed houses according to a rural technology. It is unlikely that all of the options will be to sThe press is often most at fault with regard the perpetuationof middle-classvalues or inappropriate housing standards. Some have lived in urban areas all their lives. each having distinctive properties of location. In spite of these studies. and so on. In addition. employment type and stability. favelas may cover very disparate ecological and social universes. stage in the life cycle. 6I am indebted to J. Moreover. F. others have had long periods of experience with urban or city life prior to the city in question [Balan 1969. and finally. C. city-based contacts and their distribution. 1967. Mangin 1967. urban residential history.In Mexico referenceis frequently made to the coloniasproletarias beingcinturones as de miseria("belts of misery").Whileenormous problems clearly exist such reporting is irresponsibleand counterproductive. Ward 1975]. although squatter populations are in large part provincial in origin.in whichthe people live in housing conditionsbarely fit for animals. Flinn 1968. Herrick 1965. gave credence to demands for their eradication and replacement by public sector housing (see also Bonilla [1962]. structure and tenure. they fail to reveal the heterogeneity of settlements at different levels of self improve- 331 ment. draws preliminary conclusions regarding planning responses. There is a lack of consensus as to what constitutes a squatter settlement. family size. [19712]. This paper seeks to identify discrete residential types for Mexico City and attempts to shed light on the improving and nonimproving sectors. it discusses some of the factors that encourage slum growth.

) Usual Tenure Rent (often controlled) Rent (libre) As above i n d a d e s Vecindad Vecindades Nuevas C o P 1 r o0 Fraccionamientos Clandestinos "Owned" by occupiercontract often invalid or confused nl i e a t s a Colonias Paracaidistas r i Intermediate ring and periphery As above Held illegally by occupier Owner occupied Some renting and sharing Rent. intermediate ring and old pueblo cores Intermediate ring. [1972] to **Lowerestimateaccording data collectedby the author. security affiliates (b) Resettlement schemes Rent Varies. usually owner-occupiers Source:After Sudraand Turner[1973]. [1972]. In the older colonias proletarias Periphery (often in the State of Mex. Often confused a Colonias Paracaidistas s (legalized) Ciudades Perdidas Central city. . et *Turner al.332 Land Economics TABLE 1-THE LOW-INCOME Sub-System Classic Vecindad e Usual Location Central city (Primer cuadro) Central city and intermediate ring Intermediate ring and periphery.upperestimatethat of Turneret al. periphery Periphery Conjuntos Subsidiados (a) Soc.

unconsolidated 1940s 1950s 112.000** Multifamily Individual units. Autoconstruction Varies. subdivided and deteriorating Large purpose-built. Total Numbers Varies. varying degree of permanency Services Access to all services but shared As above Usual Period of Expansion Varies 19001940 1930-1942 2 million* As above 1955 onwards Approx. may often lack one or all of the following: drainage. some multifamily 1960 onwards 1970 onwards Below 100.000200.5 millions Consolidating Shanty.000 .- 333 HOUSINGSYSTEMOF MEXICO CITY Structure Often colonial palaces. As above May lack any of the services listed above Usually access to water. etc. usually consolidating. varying state of repair Small. 1-10 families. water. paving. refuse collection.The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City Ward. Limited or lack of other facilities All services As above 1950 onwards As above 1950 onwards 1950 onwards 3-3.

Households are able to improve the physical 7Thismay include such featuresas the cultivation of sympathetic publicity. PARACAIDISTAS: COLONIAS UNIVERSE A DEVELOPING Table 1 indicates that colonias paracaidistas (literally "parachutists") are not the only residential type making up the largest single sub-system-colonias proletarias. nationalistslogans and may even go so far as to namingthe incipientcolonia afterthe presidentor his wife. differs in several ways. The latter is usually mediated through the display of flags. the power of large numbers. with a view to examining the process of consolidation that had occurred over an extended period of time. Illegal subdivisions are those into which families purchase a lot. or alternatively. leaving decision making and investment in the hands of the household [Mangin 1967. occupants do perceive themselves as having rights. as well as within each settlement. The other component. However. Earlier writings have suggested that an important advantage of self-help housing to low-income populations is its flexibility. rapidity of the invasion with an effective process to confront the government fait accompli. frac- LandEconomics from the outset acutely aware of the illegality of their invasion. For the purpose of this paper the attributes of two particular sub-systems didas) are discussed in an attempt to shed light on the fundamental differences between "consolidating" squatter settlements and "static" shantytowns. friends. workmates) as well as the usual requirement of "key money" to obtain the transfer of the name on the lease. and the various means of maximizing their chances of successfully laying claim to the occupied territory.7 Squatter settlements are selected for further analysis as it is this particular sub-system that is most frequently viewed in derogative terms as though it were synonymous with "shantytowns" [INVI 1968]. regarded decision making for low-income residential preference as highly rational and cognitive [Portes 1972].the common practice of securing accommodation via personal contacts (kin. squatters are . and (coloniasparacaidistas ciudadesper- cionamientos clandestinos (illegal sub- divisions). The arrangement is illegal where either the vendor (subdivider) does not have legal title to the land. probably increases the available information used in search behavior. Fieldwork was undertaken over thirteen months in 1973-4 and data were collected from each settlement by means of participant observation. thereby providing them with a degree of legitimacy. the dangers and struggles that they may have to confront. he defaults on the provision of services [Frieden 1965]. Moreover. Most important is the manner in which each is established. one of the principal aims of the study was an examination of the process of consolidation by comparing house structures between squatter settlements. Portes. Turner 1967].334 relevant to an individual at any one time so that once a decision on tenure type and optimum location has been formulated the sub-systems are condensed. unstructured interviewing of leaders and a random sample survey drawn from a previously compiled household listing. often receiving pseudo-legal land titles. In contrast. Three squatter settlements were selected a priori according to their different ages. working in Chile. overt demonstrationof nationalismand adherenceto the incumbent regime. Although data were gathered on a variety of topics.

000 families.000 inhabitants. perceived security of tenure and so on.color television.Consolidationindices were compiledas follows: (a) Structureand servicesincludes scores for the building materials used in walls. El Dia Nov. along with other data which help to demonstrate the degree to which these settlements have been upgraded. drainageand electricity. The latter estimateis probablythe most accurateas it was based upon an enumeration by the leaders to establish It pseudo-ownership. makeshift doors and windows. Lots were laid out on a gridiron pattern and after only four days there were estimated to be between four and five thousand families (20. "consolidating"consists of three classes. put it at 10. 1972.In contrast. 1972. Calibration was made according to the numberof separate functions. degree of "decoration"-plastered. Below follows an overview of this process in the three settlements studied. now seemsthat thereareapproximately 10. A score was compiled by the interviewer after a short tour of the dwelling on completion of the interview. with hundreds of families invading comunero9 lands adjacent to the University City on September 1. dwelling attributes and patterns of social interactionfor the head of household. Santo Domingo Los Reyes is the most recent. frameddoors and windows and all services.fully serviced and with a wide rangeof consumer goods. As a result. material possessions and the function of each room. at 7. b and c. 3.El Dia Jan. The rapid influx was due not simply to the high degree of organization achieved by colonia leaders. the limits of which had been set after the pilot study. brick-built.000 families (60.000 people).new car. Classes 6 and 7 are said to be "incipient"-that is.The score comprisesan inventorywith low scores for common household items (electriciron. 1971. roof and floors.000 families. 4 and 5 with household levels varying accordingto the interin play of investment a."1 Today the total is in the order of 60."consolidated" dwellingsare those with several rooms. 12. investment priorities. 28. radio) and high scores for telephone.000 inhabitants) in occupation. shacks without services and a minimumof personal possessions. (b) Materialpossessions were included as many householdschoose to investin householdgoodsrather than continue in structuralconsolidation. the internal structure of settlements is highly heterogeneous. entirely lacking services. In this study an attempt is made to discern the various levels of consolidation achieved by households. It was one of the most dramatic and successful invasions to have occurred in Mexico City. many of whomarelivingen pendiente-sharingand awaitinglot allocation.bare and so on. family size.April21. itself an amalgam of separate scores of structure and services of the house. 1971.and location vis-i-visthe dwellingunit. household attributes. Servicesare those of water. Table 2 displays consolidation indices for the three colonias. whether private or shared. Services are nonexistent in the colonia: 335 water is brought in by water trucks and electricity is stolen by illegal hook-ups. was later allocated to one of seven classes.Unlike Reformprogram ejido landsthey arealienable. In between. 9Agriculturallands set up under the Agrarian after the MexicanRevolution. at 15. Table 2 indicates that levels of consolidation are low. The majority of houses comprise one SThequestionnaireconsists of four main sections covering migration. .Ward: SquatterSettlement:Mexico City The structure of the dwelling in accordance with various criteria-available investment surplus.000. The thresholds of "consolidation indices" 1-7 were assessedafter the pilot surveyand later checked againstthe distributionof scores obtainedin the final survey. At the lower end of the scale would be a provisionalshack with an earth floor. (c) Room function classifies rooms accordingto the degreeof specificityattained. but also to a large number of young nuclear households who came from surrounding "consolidating" squatter settlements where they had been living with kin.8 This composite score.Highscoresaregiven to rooms with a clear single function (diningroom). 'oNewspaperreports vary wildly. low scores where rooms consistently fulfill several functions. scored for presence or absence. Cut-off points remaineddiscrete with values falling into the categories rather than across them.At the other extreme is the brick-builthouse with plasteredwalls. spouse and eldest child over 16 years of age (where relevant). parquetfloor. concreteroof.

5% (2) (19) (24) (31) (23) (8) 8. persons per hectare Range of different industrial. and the electricity company was about to legalize the power supply through the provision of individual metering.2% 25. and prohibitions upon house improvement "quasienforced" by the police. a yard where building materials may be purchased and a cafe that serves as a bar and informal social center.2 753 66 9.11 a significant proportion of households have begun to improve their dwellings (Table 2).2% (14) 43. On June 24. tortillerias. By that time INPI (Instituto Nacional para la Proteccidn de la Infancia) had built two large schools and social centers in the colonia.9% (10) (52) (29) (19) (4) (1) 100.1% (6) 21. This is prejudicialagainst those squatterswho cannot afford to pay a regular bribe. Note: Figuresin parentheses *See footnote 8.2 211 5 Isidro Fabela (consolidating) 14 yrs. Table 2 indicates that densities can be substantial at the outset. room. Most households occupy an individual lot and only a small proportion share.5% . usually made of provisional materials. . frequent threats of eradication from the government (practically impossible given the settlement's size). 1974. usually awaiting allocation of a lot. the government agreed to sell the lots to occupiers at a low price [El Dia June 24.9% (29) 25. 46. 1. and increase over time.9% 17. Singleroom shacks of pitched corrugated cardboard are substituted for one. pharmacy. so that enterprises are limited to grocery stores.7% 45. In spite of the high insecurity.0% 21. commercial and service enterprises Consolidation Index* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Total 3 yrs. Given " "Quasi-enforced" since the police can be bribed into turning a blind eye.8% 22. 1974].8% (17) 100% (66) 1.or tworoom structures built of brick.6% 4.5% 3.8 415 34 Sector Popular (consolidated) 26 yrs. Commercial development at this level reflects the needs of squatters as well as their low purchasing power. A common criticism of squatter settlements is that their low densities are wasteful of valuable urban land.2% 16.336 Land Economics TABLE 2 COMPARISON THREEIMPROVING OF IN CITY SQUATTERSETTLEMENTS MEXICO Santo Domingo Los Reyes (incipient) Age in 1974 Households renting Average households per lot Density.5% 7.4% 1. 8.1% (107) 100% (116) denote absolutenumbers. after three years of conflict.4% 29.

47% were formally renting. now enjoys all services: electricity. complete with services. It is not unusualfor lower-middle-income householdsto "place"a family in a lot at the time of invasion as a caretaker. to sublet part of their lot. speculators have constructed either self-contained apartments or vecindades nuevas (single-room dwellings in which services are shared. with related nuclear families living on the same lot in separate dwellings. This changing status has occurred in two ways. Commercial development has diversified enormously to include services such as hairdressers. the proportion of households sharing lots rises. Brown [1972] describes the tendency for older colonias proletarias to increase their population densities and for rental accommodation to become increasingly common. has recently atrophied as participant satisfaction and security increases and services still outstanding decrease. high in the early stages of colonia formation. thereby increasing overall densities. frontages are brick-built.funeral parlors. Brown 1972. This colonia. The participation of squatters in colonia improvements. repair shops of various types. The colonia of Isidro Fabela began in 1960 after a small invasion and then grew accretively up to 1968 when the government expropriated the land and agreed to sell it to the squatters. particularly for recent migrants [Turner 1968. so that families are considerably larger. particularly after expropriation in 1952. and dwellings have been improved to varying levels. Viewed from the road. and many houses are of two or more stories. Moreover. like several surrounding it which began at approximately the same time. which makes it unlikely that an uninformed observer would recognize the origins of the zone.Ward:The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City these combined stimuli. or been forced through economic impoverishment. Sector Popular was established in 1947 at what was then the city's periphery (it has since become part of the intermediate ring of the city). later standpipes at the corner of blocks and more recently the paving of the central thoroughfare). which suggests that the colonia is no longer a typical squatter "owner-occupier" settlement but rather an important supplier of rental accommodation. Sharing evolves either through the construction of rental accommodation or by the subdivision of lots between kin. Alternatively. Services were gradually installed (electricity in 1969. Shacks were constructed in the first instance and slowly replaced by permanent struc- 337 tures. Speculators can be original squatters who obtained title to several lots. In this way a petty landlord-tenant system evolvesusually in physically insubstantial dwellings. 12 Demographic characteristics reflect an older cohort structure compared with Santo Domingo Los Reyes. In Sector Popular over onehalf of households interviewed were found to be sharing lots or residential space. Originalsquatters may have chosen. The explicit recognition of the colonia's status on the part of the government has stimulated house consolidation (Table 2). water and drainage are all connected to the interior of each lot. or late arrivalswho have bought out 12 The uppermostclassesarenot in all casesoriginal squatters. Ward 1975]. it is likely that consolidation will be increasingly rapid over the next two to three years. drycleaners and so on. . see Table 1). This is a trend frequently commented upon by observers in urban areas throughout Latin America [Mangin 1967].Once recognitionhas taken place possession of the lot is regainedand the household can either sell at a high profit or employ a contractorto constructa substantialhouse.

or are parasitic upon. ciudades perdidas.size.It is currentlyresponsiblefor the eradication programof ciudadesperdidasand their resettlement. 1972). then water must be brought in from outside or purchased from an itinerant water seller [INVI 1968]. 13 Literally "lost cities. It forms a relatively small sub-system. However. being located on vacant lots screened by high boundary walls. nor that recent invasions will necessarily come to resemble exactly the demographic and physical characteristics of Sector Popular.338 the original squatter. The end result is a highly heterogeneous population of renters and owners of different socioeconomic levels.000 people-and the lower estimate is in part due to the eradication policy of the present administration. while a very good descriptionof the attributes of a typical ciudad perdida. Turner [1971-2] estimated that it totaled approximately 200. Rather. All of the materialcited in the abovetext for ciudades perdidas was extrapolatedfrom a handbook which includesa map of the site of each ciudadperdida. However.14 Their nomenclature is significant. In spite of their implicit "city" size they are rarely as large as squatter settlements and are invariably "lost" to view. these will vary in rate and degree according to local conditions. Electricity may be robbed. with a mean age of 28. I The name given to the traditionalruralhouse type. These three vignettes are not designed to suggest that the trajectory of squatter settlement improvement is unilinear.6 years: only 13%have originated since 1957 and 40% since 1947."They are definedby Direcci6n de Promoci6n de la Habitaci6n Popular as "encapsulated spaceswithin the widerareaof the city whose inhabitantslack the minimumof servicesto be able to live comfortably"(El March2. small workshops. Turner [1971-2] suggests that they have formed as a substitute type of cheap rental accommodation after the vecindades became saturated in the early 1950s. and suggested a figure of 625 pesos a month for a family of 5/6 personsas being typical for ciudadperdidadwellers. Ciudad perdida formation tends to predate that of colonias paracaidistas (which have mostly developed since 1950). private hospitals and so on. does regardit as coloniasprolesynonymouswith the largelyperipheral tarias. though they are a very different sub-system. 16 Turner [1971/2] classifiedvery low income as being below the minimum wage in 1970. del IHabitacidnPopular Departamento Distrito del 1 Federal.000 people or 20% of the very low-income population. Typically they are shackyards (occasionally referred to as jacales) 15 and occupy lots in the inner city and intermediate ring (Figure 1). or if they are inadequate.land tenure. They lack. titled Una Ciudad Perdida. CIUDADES PERDIDAS: A STATIC SLUM UNIVERSE In the press and many research institutions ciudades perdidas13 are frequently considered synonymously with colonias proletarias.16 According to data collected from Habitacidn Popular17 the total population is considerably less-in the order of 110. Densities at this stage are high and the neighborhood's commercial activity has diversified still further to include public baths. This contrasts with the very visible peripheral squatter settlements.how formed.See also Arreola[1974]. . the intention is to demonstrate that squatter settlements do upgrade themselves over time and that certain processes are common to all. This paper now turns its attention to a nondeveloping housing sub-system in Mexico City. D6a 14The INVI study [1968]. and if Land Economics there are no standpipes on the site.age and so on. formal urban services.

"--- O-•• .Fe" t Distcric ..t __ S a I- '•l• d-zn •:• t =.. 1973 FIGURE 1 . / ? 1 nt...0abe1do ro ru .-- - DISTRIBUTION OF CIUDADES PERDIDAS AND COLONIAS PROLETARIAS IN MEXICO CITY.LI {..Ward:The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City 339 N \ / \ I ?/ L // ..u hirir ---" • ..l ---o N--ahua SIr Pri*.. ---- 1 *e. .e..I < ..rarg.. _t_ o • Xocha Vil- co--- • -- . :-w Kniac---w .oTh? S CdAtcdspotrilcdas 1973 SLeTnItcuba uAr1973 ..

This is probably due to the way in which the data were collected by social workers. thoroughfares and communal spaces. Associated with the fact that the majority began on private property. renting can yield returns equal to the total market value of the land annually [Sudra and Turner 1973]. thereby including unoccupied land. who would almost certainly have estimated the total area of the shantytown. the data indicate that 68% of ciudades perdidas had their origins as rental accommodation whereby the owner would either sublet lots or construct the shacks and install the minimum of services before subletting at an exhorbitant rent (often in the order of 25% of the total family income). Only 13% were recorded as having begun by invasion. This trend continued until 1953 with five (21%) of the twenty-four that formed between 1940 and 1952 being inside the fringe. However.18 During the decade 1930-1940. This is not the case for ciudades perdidas where shacks are built cheek-by-jowl [INVI 1968] and rarely comprise more than a single room which functionally serves all purposes. and occasionally in disused rolling stock. Once completed they move into the consolidated dwelling (which may only be one room). primarily in areas that were in existence prior to 1950. of which only two began more than a half kilometer inside the fringe. Indeed.340 the majority of ciudades perdidas were started before the effects of rent control in vecindades were felt. However. when one takes the position of the urban fringe by decades. twenty-five of the currently existing settlements were formed. Fifty-nine percent of ciudades perdidas were founded upon private property and only 18% began on lands belonging to the federal government (in contrast with the usual practice of squatter settlements). Figure 1 plots their distribution within the metropolitan areas. Although this accommodation is relatively cheap. demolishing the original shack. This change was stimulated by the rapid areal growth of the city and. the data provided by Habitacidn Popular are at first sight confusing since Land Economics the average lot size is 131 square meters-a reasonable sized lot. divided it by the total number of households. and it is clear that they are primarily a city center and intermediate ring housing subsystem. Ten percent developed on lands registered as belonging to the railway company. the expansion of the colonias proletarias which greatly 1" The edge of the built-up area. it is found that prior to 1930 the formation of ciudades perdidas occurred at or beyond the fringe. of those that began during the period 1953-1960 the majority (81%) formed away from the fringe. in areas adjacent to the tracks. "Fringe" = a half a kilometer within that limit. When the distribution of data is more closely analyzed it is apparent that 43% of lots are less than 80 square meters in area and 66% are less than 120 square meters. In contrast. . In squatter settlements the usual lot size varies between 150 and 250 square meters which allows an effective organization of space so that a household can erect a provisional dwelling on one-half of the lot and at the same time construct a number of permanent rooms on the other. comparing them with the pattern of city growth suggests that this has not always been the case. though it is likely that their densities have increased since the 1950s. approximately coincident with the 1958 herradurade tugurios ("horseshoe of slums" [INVI 1958]). in particular.

The first one is that of active slum formation in areas of spatial restriction. unhygienic shanty structures. the degree to which the self-help housing sector is a dynamic and successful one is likely to vary considerably. In Mexico slum formation predominates in areas where both the incentives and means whereby low-income populations might improve and upgrade their housing are either nonexistent or are subverted. lack of property rights and proximity to highly diversified centers of employment with a high capacity to absorb unskilled labor. The slum universe described by Delgado bears a marked resemblance to the ciudades perdidas of Mexico City. 294]. and formulated operational typologies that categorize slum forms according to their different potentials for development. This is done first with reference to past theories and second by examining the rationale underpinning ciudad perdida formation in Mexico City. He proposes a model of two social universes. Two broad sets of factors contribute to the process. as in ciudades perdidas. In an abstract form Stokes [1962] differentiates between "slums of hope" and "slums of despair" in which an individu- 341 al's mobility is a function of his psychological attitudes towards upward mobility and the structural barriers of society that he has to confront. The second is a non-slum social universe which "represents a situation of great dynamism and high potential for self development" [Delgado 1971. economic and sociopolitical factors and can be expected to vary between different cities [Leeds 1969]. and tenancy is a mixture of rental and illegal possession.Ward:The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City increased the distance between the center and the periphery. Attention is now directed towards those factors that may stimulate the slumification process. This results in an overall decline of the residential environment. Moreover. Clear differences are observed between the high-density barriadas of various locations. It is clear that the low-income housing stock is a product of historical. acts to encourage their formation. and the attitudes adopted by governments vis-a-vis their squatter populations will be crucial in this respect. INFLUENCE THAT FACTORS SLUM FORMATION ANDPERPETUATION The first half of this paper has described the attributes of ciudades perdidas emphasizing their inherent differences from squatter settlements. which are usually peripheral or pastperipheral and in various stages of the consolidation process. The second set of factors operates in both ciudades perdidas and some squatter invasions. p. Nevertheless. in which dwellings are highly congested. The first. This meant that peripheral locations no longer offered the same advantages of proximity or ease of access to the downtown area-the essence of this particularhousing sub-system. location and level of improvement attained in the barriada. He suggests a typology constructed upon the variables of density. the real benefits accruing to low-income groups controlling for the effects of inflation. A more penetrating analysis is provided by Delgado's [1971] in-depth study of the barriadas of Lima. The rate of urbanization. several authors have attempted to conceptualize the problem of slum formation per se. intervening as barriers . and the non-slum settlements (now called pueblos j6venes).

in cases of rental tenure default or arrears of payments. (Sudra and Turner report sums of 400 pesos ($32) as commonplace-approximately one week's wages at the minimum wage. and it is not recognized by government eradication and resettlement policies. It is likely that the head of the household will be earning at best the minimum wage.) From the owner's point of view profits from ciudades perdidas rentals are high. 1973]. There are other cases where tenure is confused and occupants regard themselves as "owner-occupiers. At the same time. This helps to ensure their continued existence. In these cases investments are usually made in consumer durables such as radios. combined with the high demand can easily result in the loss of the dwelling. is Second. thereby reducing the opportunity and incentive for successful self-help solutions. Land slippage and flooding are common barriers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. INVI 1968]. in addition to the normal day-to-day living costs. the common practice of sharing goods throughout low-income kinship networks [Lomnitz 1975] acts as an equalizing mechanism. Supply has decreased at the city center as a result of the declining number of vecindades and the growing stability of population attracted by increasing economies of rent control. Indicative of sustained demand is the high rental charged for dilapidated shanty dwellings and the "key money" paid to previous occupants. this may not be substantially different from incomes of squatter heads of household who do exhibit patterns of successful consolidation." In these instances tenurial status must be resolved with householders securing full rights of ownership. as access to industrial employment becomes more difficult [Mufioz et al.342 at the colonia or household level. settlements in the western mining districts are especially susceptible to land slips and house collapse. as does the lack of effective regulatory or prohibitive control of speculation by the government. High insecurity also occurs where environmental hazards are high. inflation of land prices makes it profitable not to develop inner-city lots. At the same time the opportunities for upward economic mobility are no longer as great as they were in the 1950s. televisions and furniture. In Mexico City. and probably considerably less [Turner 1971-2. Additionally. They are no longer tempted to move to autoconstructive settlements at the periphery [Brown 1972]. Factors that Encourage Slum Formation The continuing high demand for relatively low rental accommodation in locationally advantageous parts of the city is a very important factor. However. or the threat of eviction or eradication operates as a continuous disincentive to invest in the physical structure of the house. Other factors therefore usurp or subvert the investment surplus into other items. inhibiting the accumulation of savings. Barrierswhich Inhibit Self-Help Solutions intervene constraints Economic against the incentive to improve the Land Economics physical structure of the dwelling. self-help potential "stunted" where there is a high perceived risk or hazard. particularly in . For example. The payment of rents of 25% or more of the total household income. would make it practically impossible to create a surplus.

Although the physical structureis similarin ciudades perdidas and squatter settlements in which consolidationis blocked. An active alternative land use has much the same effect by making the chances of future ownership unlikely.000 and 1. The same barrier prevailsin residentialdevelopmentson motorway reservations. This is best demonstrated the concesin sions made by Mexican Railways to house constructors alongside railway tracks and in sidings. government attitudes towards the nonimprovingshantytown universe needs to be examined. carriesout an economicfeasibilitystudy to determine total family income and the housing solution that is best suited to them. In contrast.500 pesos a 9 This "problem" is not insuperable. successful petitioning in most ciudades perdidaswould probablyresult in eradi- cation and resettlementrather than insitu improvement. under bridges and even on roof tops in the inner city area. In cases where the indisshantytownis a rental sub-system."9 GOVERNMENT POLICY This paper argues that shantytowns ments constitute different housing subsystems. Governmentpolicy regarding both subsystems shouldthereforebe cognizantof the value that each alternative offers to users. Habitacidn Popular. 222] describes five low-income settlements in Oaxaca. Butterworth[1972. Wherelots are severelyrestricted this processis inhibited. p. Cornelius [1973b] found that inhabitantsof low-incomeself-helpcommunities demonstrategreaterawareness of politicalprocessesand a propensityto participatemore fully than do populations of other housingsub-systems. Similarly. Cornelius 1973a. Finally. criminate eradication resettlementat and the peripheryis unlikely to be a viable relocation of ciudad perdida residents. Third. (ciudades perdidas) and squatter settle- solution. Consolidators in Caracas. Indeed. It estimatesthat a familyearning between 1.Ward:The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City 343 the rainy season. upgrade their dwellings by building a wall of permanent materials alongside the provisional wall.The role of leadersas political "brokers"and the active participation of colonos (squatters)in the petitioningfor the installationof servicesis a common feature of squattersettlement consolidation [Mangin 1967.an understanding of leadershipwas crucialin interpreting the relativesuccessesand failuresof each community. First. Peattie 1969].Selfhelp house building in Mexico usually involvesthe constructionof a permanent dwelling on one-half of the lot while living in a provisionalstructureon the other.Mexico. the lack of bargaining power of a group of rentersand their inabilityto developthe same degree of internal organizationas their squatter counterpartsis a significant barrier to improvement. and suggests that the large differences observed between relative levels of consolidation in two settlements are a product of environmentaland tenurial insecurities that exist in one and are absent in the other. spatial restrictionsof dwellings increasesthe problemof organizing renovation or house construction. offering a variety of solutions. variationin the organizational abilities of different communities is likely to affect the success of demand making. prior to . Venezeula. in all three squatter settlements studied by the author. policy the makingshouldaccommodate varying needs of each type.

housing projects are located at the margins of the city. the wife and child who previously had easy access to local employment opportunities (taking in washing. . several authors have argued that the Mexico City government might formally embody the process into its planning policies [Frieden 1965. the usual place of work. as in areas lia- ble to inundation or land slippage. Unfortunately.g. shoe cleaning. These diseconomies can be minimized by the extension of in-situ rehousing schemes. Leaders are the middlemen or "brokers" in this process (see Cornelius [1973a]). Widerdissemination of technical assistance.) Traveling results in huge losses of time and reduces the opportunities for spare time "odd jobbing.. hawking) find that surrounding neighborhoods are less conducive to casual work. though there is some evidence to suggest that these relationships are crucial to the economic survival of populations [Lomnitz 1975]. If conditions prohibit in-situ improvement. either at purpose-built centers or via the welfare centers that already exist in many 20 This proves attractive to governments as it allows them to play a two-way cooptation game whereby services are "sold" in exchange for political support.2" Absolute ownership of property is very important to squatters [Andrews and Phillips 1970]. Indeed. Harth Deneke 1966]. judicial procedures and complaints. at least a one-and-a-half-hourbus ride from the city center. recognition of improvement associations and so on. It either acts directly through land expropriation and resale to the colonos. The second broad area of government policy that requires examination is the response to squatter settlements. Access to credit facilities remains an important problem for a considerable proportion of the population." Similarly. or indirectly by installing certain services-implying that eradication will not ensue. The Oficina de Colonias Populares takes major responsibility for overseeing the installation of services. both for security as well as providing an inheritance for one's children. Greater weight should be put upon those approaches that encourage outright ownership. This principle has been embodied in the remodelling of some vecindades in the old colonial center of the city as well as at a ciudad perdida site at Picos de Ixtacalco. and treats cases on their individual merits. (No changes are made in the distribution of employment opportunities. Where slumification has evolved because the aspirations of would-be consolidators have been subverted. successful solutions rest with the removal of the barriers. Government intervention should aim to provide incentives without interfering in the autoconstructive process. tenurial insecurity may be reduced through land appropriation and sale to occupants. Both instances may result in an overall decline of family income. The suggestion that self-help housing presents a viable solution is not so outrageous today as it was ten years ago. these proposals frequently run counter to the primary motive of eradication-the securing of valuable downtown land sites for redevelopment. although in recent years it has become easier to obtain loans through one's place of work (e. For example. Little is known about the effect of the disruption of social networks. INFONAVIT).344 Land Economics month can afford an amortization rate of 250 pesos monthly over a fifteen-year period. cheap building materials and prefabricated items could be introduced at the colonia level. then removal to serviced lots might offer the best solution. Stimuli can also be provided through the installation of services. However.

Banco Obrero. 345 References Andrews.. Caracas.. Kern. "Contemporary Mexico: A Structural Analysis of Urban Caciquismo. eds. In all cases government policy should be designed to stimulate house improvement without directly interfering in the autoconstructive process. 1. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1970.). E. Arreola. El ProbPtiblicas." Journal of Developing Areas 4 (Jan. 1973." In Latin American Modernization Problems: Case Studies in the Crisis of Change. "Rio's Favelas: The Rural Slum within the City. 1969. Credit facilities for minor house improvements could be administered and overseen at the same level. Las Ciudades Perdidas.g. "Three Proposals Regarding Accelerated Urbanization Problems in Metropolitan Areas: The Lima Case. 1962. ed. Frank. This paper has emphasized the differential capacities of settlements to consolidate themselves and has argued for various ways in which this process can be stimulated. 40 (Aug. D. Only in so doing can the generation of policy accurately reflect the needs of low-income populations. Agency Report. 973b. Testimonios del Fondo.Ward:The Squatter Settlement: Mexico City "incipient" and "consolidating" colonias.A." In Latin American Urban Policies and the Social Sciences. Mexico. Politica de Vivienda. "Squatters or Suburbanites? The Growth of Shantytowns in Oaxaca. Scott. it argues for a greater understanding of the opportunities that they offer. Cornelius. . Mexico. Cornell University: Latin American Studies Program Dissertation Series. "The Squatters of Lima: Who Are They and What Do They Want.). Trueblood.): 211-224. 1974. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. 3. Douglas S. ed. 1952. Jane C. J. Carlos. 1972. M. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. In those settlements where consolidation is not a primary aim. 1973. F. R. R. no. Delgado. environmental security of the local dwelling environment. just as they do in Mexico City. Miller and R.): 3-29. East Coast of South America Series 8. W. Brown.F. as in rental shantytowns. Men in a Developing Society. D. In this respect the application of a "systems" structure may help to order discrete housing types as well as allowing their consideration as part of an interdependent system. Venezuela (Oct." Latin American Research Review 4(Feb. 1973a. Gerardo. Browning and Jelin. "The Impact of Governmental Performance on Political Attitudes and Behavior: The Case of the Urban Poor in Mexico. Jorge. no. Patterns of Intra-Urban Settlement in Mexico City: An Examination of the Turner Theory. Balan. "Migrant-Native Socioeconomic Differences in Latin American Cities: A Structural Analysis. and Phillips." A UFS Reports. G. Rabinovitz and F. 1973." In The Caciques: Oligarchical Politics and the System of Caciquismo in the Luso-Hispanic World. Wayne. lema de la Habitacion en la Ciudad de Mexico. [Leeds 1974]) indicate that rental shantytowns may coexist with consolidating squatter settlements. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Data from other areas (e. The data presented for two housing sub-systems in Mexico City suggest that their dynamics are in large part related to tenure. CONCLUSION This paper has sought to provide insights into the slum-housing solution debate on low-income settlements in Latin America. vol. F. 1971. Gakenheimer. Banco Nacional Hipotecario Urbana Obras S. Mexico. government attitudes and the needs and aspirations of the population concerned. eds. Beverly Hills and London: Sage Publications." In Latin American Urban Research. Bonilla. 3.F. Butterworth. . Agency Report. Many of the seemingly conflicting statements in the literature might usefully be reevaluated in terms of the different attributes and potential for self improvement that they offer. (BNHUOPSA).

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