I was born and raised in El Salvador, a country going through great adversity in regards of poverty and social exclusion. This is causing an increase in migration from the countryside to the city, which will accentuate the already difficult living conditions. This demands comprehensive and effective interventions through architecture that encourage the importance of placing people and their quality of life at the center of the projects, allowing healthy human development.
Demographic changes in recent decades have made El Salvador a predominantly urban society. The fragmented and unequal Salvadoran cities are home to more than 2,000,000 people living in nearly 500,000 households in areas characterized by their precarious conditions. This means that about 30% of the total population in the country, is living in poverty. Agglomerations of housing with deficiencies in their building materials or in their access to basic services are known as precarious urban settlements.
These constitute the main core of population living in poverty and social exclusion. Individuals or households are unable to adequately practice the consumer standards (material and symbolic) prevailing in their society as a result of not entering labor markets, or doing so in an eventual, insecure or unstable manner. This exclusion process is systematically reproduced and often goes from generation to generation. Social exclusion is a structural phenomenon that, even without being imposed by the exercise of power of a social group, responds to few individual choices, determined by the characteristics of residential insertion contexts or by the condition family economic stake.
There is a significant deficit in the flow from the inside of these precarious urban settlements, affecting in a very dangerous way the quality of life of the people that live in these conditions. This deficit has created a social stigma within the communities that make them think that if they are born poor, they will die poor, since there is no chance outside their circle where a massive social exclusion has been generated.
The natural flow of these urban settlements is being held back by all these factors, affecting the correct human development of the people living in those conditions. It is fundamental that the flow of people in these areas is facilitated, since the place of residence affects day to day living based solely on the level of comfort, access and flow of energy. What the design is intended, to achieve is to generate new spaces that reflect the importance of sharing and collaborating in the community, that allow a fluent flow from and to the community. It is important to provide flexible spaces where the people can develop in a healthy and human way, having access to the basic services required to promote human growth. The design intends to put the people and their quality of life at the core of the project, generating spaces where opportunities of living, working and playing are promoted, providing an accessible yet energetic and vigorous public zone, allowing a correct flow of nature through the project. Consequently, psychological and emotional flow becomes uninterrupted, generating an enhanced quality of life for people who used to live in precarious conditions. The design encourages the flow of people and communities that drive the project in a way that puts people as the key to transforming architecture and creating unique spaces that will benefit more than 1/3 of the population in El Salvador, allowing a seamless flow through the nation, eliminating social exclusion, which is one of the main causes of poverty.
Master plan proposed at one of the many urban settlements in El Salvador, aiming to channel a solid flow of economical and social activities that will aid to the people who used to live in isolation from its´environment to experience an immersive reinsertion. The project was finalist in the WAF Student Charrete 2019 that took place in Amsterdam back in December
Rafael Tobar, David Guevara, Billy Solano, Shirlie Hidalgo, Katherine Ramírez, Gabriela Torres, Jenniffer Vargas