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NYTimes: In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find Skyrise

NYTimes: In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find Skyrise | Geography Education |
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.

Seth Dixon's insight:

 Incredible paradigm shift as a skyscraper is converted from a symbol of wealth to a building that is occupied by squatters.  The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside.  A complex web of geographic factors need to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation.  The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.

Stacey Jackson's curator insight, February 22, 2013 12:35 AM
The fact that one resident featured in the video said she has "nothing to complain about" says a lot about the housing situation in Caracas. She didn't seem to think she deserved to live in a better environment- instead she accepts the unfinished skyscraper with rudimentary services and no sewage removal. It is a shame that Caracas hasn't been able to meet the housing demands of their growing population. I'm sure the issue is more complex, but it seems like this oil-rich nation should be able to build proper housing for its citizens. Also, 2,500 squatters is an astounding figure. Just to put it into perspective, my neighborhood (in Providence) has a total population of 2,669. I can't imagine all of us being crammed into one building without electricity, air conditioning, or proper plumbing.
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 11, 2014 12:23 PM

Squatters occupy a building that was constructed to symbolize great wealth in Venezuela including a landing pad on the roof and floors to occupy office buildings. Due to a financial crisis, the building was never finished and squatters have taken advantage of this empty building. There is no windows, plumbing or an elevator to reach the higher levels of this skyscraper. Because of this, many safety issues have risen, including deaths. There is no other place for these squatters to live, it has become their home and they are temporarily making the best of it.

Geography Education
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