Chapter 3: Analysis of Data

The chapter is organized in four sections. The first two sections contain the analysis of the data, which was organized considering two levels of barrio settlement: the macro level of settlement development ( settlement process), in which the definition of streets, blocks, plot layout and allocation was observed as the result of the collective involvement of the invasion leader and the barrio settlers, and the micro level ( housing process), in which the process of housing was observed as the result of the users' involvement in the definition of their own living environment.

The third section presents a selected case study. The settlement patterns studied in the two previous sections were summarized in the description of the housing process of Mr. Diego, a barrio inhabitant.

The last section of the chapter is a summary of the data analysis.

3.1. Settlement Process

3.1.1. San José de Chirica from 1978 to 1991 The Invasion Process

The invasion of San José de Chirica started in 1978. A group of about 60 families decided to take over the land to build their dwellings. This group was led by a person who had political support from one of the main political parties at that moment. The invasion leader was responsible for decision-making on general settlement issues. With the participation of the first settlers, the invasion leader coordinated the street clearing, plot delineation and allocation. When the first group was settled, the invasion leader also organized the first barrio junta (neighbours' association) to petition official agencies for the provision of infrastructure and services. This junta was later registered in the municipality as the aso-vecinos of San José de Chirica.

People looking for land usually contacted the invasion leader for a plot. The invasion leader decided whether this family would receive a plot based on housing needs, friendship (compadrazgo), political affiliation, services or "favours" offered. The area of the plot depended on the number of families and persons that were going to live in it, and on the invasion leader's criteria. The allotted area also depended on the kind of activities that would take place in the plot. For instance, one family wanted to install a concrete block factory, and they were given a large plot. Some plots were given to some people as a "payment" for services, as in the case of the tractor operator that levelled the first streets.

There was no deed of ownership or occupancy. After the plot was allocated, it was the responsibility of the family to look after the land. The new settler rapidly had to show occupancy of the plot by building some structure or by making some improvement, such as clearing, levelling or fencing the site. Otherwise, the plot would be re-allocated to another family. Site Occupation

In 1977, San José de Chirica's invasion had not yet begun. At this time, there was a small group of approximately 44 dwellings with defined plots living in the north part of the site, near the industrial area. These dwellings were dispersed on this site. The occupied area was approximately 6.0 Ha, representing almost 7.8% of the present barrio area. (Fig. 2) During the invasion process, this group of dwellings was integrated within the settlement.

In 1979, the settlement already showed signs of organization. More than 180 dwellings occupied 27.3 Ha. At this stage, approximately 69% of the settlement site was occupied.

In 1980, the settlement extended to the western part of the site. Itoccupied about 38.6 Ha, which was 91.5% of the present settlement area. There were approximately 470 dwellings erected, representing 74.5% of today's housing stock. By 1983, the whole settlement covered 50.8 Ha, 98% of the present settlement. In 1987, the settlement covered 51.8 Ha, which represented its total present area. The number of dwellings increased to 631 units. At this time, the physical extension of the barrio slowed because there was no more land available within the physical boundaries of the site.

The progressive occupation of the site is summarized in the following table:


YEAR 1977 1979 1980 1983 1987












DWELLINGS 44 180 470 n/a * 631

(*) Not Available. Provision of Services

In San José, water was delivered by truck during the first years. Later, the strong political support of the invasion leader was an important factor in obtaining the first water connections. Water lines were installed on main streets. The materials and technical assistance for the water system were provided by the national agency, INOS (National Institute of Sanitary Works), and the work was carried out by community members. Individual connections to each dwelling were made by each user. In 1991, the service was considered insufficient since it frequently failed, and additional containers, usually oil drums, were required to store water. However, this situation was not different from that of other planned settlements in the city, including high-income neighbourhoods.

Electricity was also obtained by the invasion leader through friendship with officials in the government company. Materials were provided by thecompany, and neighbours participated in installing electricity posts. As was the case with water, individual connections were the user's responsibility. Lighting for the two first streets was obtained by the end of 1989. At the time of the survey, the quality of this service was considered good, though expensive.

The most important streets of the settlement were paved at a later stage. By 1987, all barrio streets had at least a basic pavement. Storm drainage (gutters) and sidewalks were being built in 1991 on the main streets of the barrio. At the time of the field research, the aso-vecinos members were requesting repairs of some streets in the southern part of the barrio from the local government.

In 1989, the settlement had a garbage collection service. A collector truck came twice a week and picked up the garbage bags from each dwelling. The quality of the service was considered very good and always on time.

3.1.2. Streets

In San José de Chirica, streets were the first element to be defined. The streets constituted an important element since they determined the land distribution. From the street, plots were established. Streets were also the meeting place for community organizations and other social events during the first stages of development.

This section focused on the patterns of street definition, layout and evolution. In San José, the patterns of street definition responded to the progressive development of the barrio. Not all streets were laid out at once. However, in advanced levels of development they constituted an organized network. The Definition Process: Street Layout

When the invasion began, the leader and the first settlers defined the first street close to the group of existing dwellings. At this time, access to the settlement was mainly through the calle 9 (9th street) in the industrialdevelopment, which already had paved roads. Other points of access were through the commercial establishments along avenida Manuel Piar, in the south-eastern part of the settlement. (Fig. 3)

A pre-conceived idea for a street network existed when the invasion began. The layout of the settlement was based on the existing scheme in the industrial parcel. Two categories of streets were defined: main and secondary streets. The first two streets were lined up parallel to the street scheme in the industrial development and became the main streets of the settlement.

Secondary streets connected main streets and were perpendicular to them. Initially, secondary streets were laid out by the invasion leader and first settlers. The location of other secondary streets was defined by the topography, existing plots and, in some cases, by users' initiative. For instance, some short-cuts between main streets eventually became new secondary streets.

The first part in the process of laying out a street was clearing the place. Some streets in San José required grading. A bulldozer operator was contacted to level the first two main streets. The paving of the first two main streets was obtained through political partisanship by the invasion leader.

The grid-iron pattern of streets was not totally uniform. Some of the elements that influenced these irregularities were:

a) The existence of plots on the site prior to the invasion: As mentioned previously, some plots were already allocated on the site when the invasion began. Big plots obstructed the uniform grid pattern. In the case of smaller plots, the route of the street was deviated and adapted to the plot contours. (Fig. 4) This effect can be easily observed on the southern and eastern areas adjacent to avenida Manuel Piar, where most of the commercial and private plots were already located. In the northern part, the grid is more regular because it was almost unoccupied when the invasion began.

b) The irregular topography of the site: The irregularities of the topography determined the street pattern. Ditches produced by heavy rainfall marked the natural boundaries. During the rainy season, which lasted 4 to 5months in this part of the country, these ditches turned into streams of mud and rubbish. These areas were not appropriate for erecting any structure; therefore, they were used to lay out some of the streets.

c) The emergence of other leaders controlling the invasion: When the settlement acquired a significant size and no strong opposition was exerted, other people arrived at the place and organized the land distribution with different criteria. This was observed in the southern part of the settlement. Street layouts in this part were irregular, and not all streets were inter-connected. Evolution: Main and Secondary Streets

The first street in the site was already defined at the south border of the industrial development when the invasion began. It was named calle 9 (9th street). This street actually formed a boundary between the industrial area and the invasion settlement. The land on the north margin belonged to the industrial development. The site of the invasion is located on the south margin of the calle 9.

From the east end of the calle 9, an extension to the south was created by the first settlers, the carrera 7 (7th road).

By 1979, three new streets that ran east-west were laid out by the invasion leader. These streets ran parallel to the industrial development street. At a later stage, these streets were named Libertad, Bolívar and España, respectively. The first group of plots were defined on these streets, and they became the main streets in the settlement. (Fig. 4)

Main streets were connected through four secondary streets that ran north-south. These new streets were named carrera 6, Simón Rodríguez, Páez and Bermûdez. At this time, the streets formed a grid pattern.

The width of the streets was not regular since facing plots were notrigorously aligned. However, this space made possible a 10-meter-wide asphalt layer for two-way traffic . For instance, the width of calle Libertad varied from 16 to 20 m. On calle Bolívar, this distance varied from 11 to 15 m. On calle España, the distance varied from 15 to 22 m. On secondary streets, this space was narrower. Calle Simón Rodríguez ranged from 10 to 12.5 m. Calle Páez ranged from 7 to 10 m. Calle Bermûdez varied from 11.5 to 12.5 m. By 1980, the older sections of the main and secondary streets had been paved. However, no sidewalk or storm drainage was provided at this moment.

The importance of streets varied over time, depending on the use that was given. For instance, calle Libertad was the first street of the invasion settlement. For years, it was the most important street. However, calle Bolívar became the most important street for the inhabitants when it was assigned a bus route. This street also provided access to the adjacent barrio and to avenida Manuel Piar. Progressively, it acquired a more commercial character.

By 1980, when almost 92% of the settlement was already defined, the three parallel main streets were extended toward the western part of the settlement. (Fig. 5) Another two secondary north-south streets, Rómulo Gallegos and an extension of the existing calle Comunera from the industrial development, were laid out to connect and define new blocks on the growing western section. These streets were still unpaved.

By 1987, the streets in the settlement were almost as they are today. Some streets in the southern part were not connected to the rest of the settlement network in the northern part since they were defined with different criteria. They functioned as local streets. By 1991, these streets in the southern part had been connected with the nearer streets of the barrio.

Paving was usually provided at a later stage by local government. During this process, some streets were redefined to correct alignment and grading. (Fig. 6) In some cases, the new street layout coincided with the front boundary of the plot. Some plots lost areas during the paving process. (Fig. 7) Most ofthe streets had been paved in 1987. By 1991, all streets of the settlement had been paved and most of them had sidewalks and storm drainage. The remaining sidewalks were being constructed during the field work (July 1991).

To summarize, the streets were the first element to be defined in the settlement. A grid-iron pattern was adopted. However, this pattern was not rigid, but adapted to the physical features of the site.

Even though the invasion leader and the first settlers defined the street layouts, the consolidation and extension of these streets were the result of the active involvement of barrio inhabitants. The streets were laid out and improved progressively. They looked as part of the same network, though initially they were different connected networks.

Two categories of streets were defined: main and secondary streets. The main streets organized the allocation of plots, and the secondary streets connected main streets.

3.1.3. Blocks

This section focused on the patterns of definition, layout and evolution (fusions and subdivisions) of blocks. As streets were laid out, land was organized into blocks. With the consolidation of the streets and the dynamics of the settlement, some blocks were redefined by users. Unused streets and pedestrian paths, and unoccupied portions of land were integrated to blocks. Similarly, existing blocks were sub-divided by the progressive creation of paths and roads. The Definition Process: Block Layout

Blocks were defined by streets; thus, they were rectangular. The average length (east-west dimension) of the early defined blocks was 88 m, ranging from 80 to 95 m. The average width was 73 m, ranging from 65 to 80 m.

By 1980, main streets were extended towards the western part of thesettlement, and secondary streets were not laid out regularly, as in the early developed part. Resulting blocks, therefore, had different lengths. Blocks defined at this time were longer than the first ones, reaching more than 150 m in some cases. (Fig. 8) The average length was 136 m. Blocks were also wider, ranging from 75 m to more than 90 m wide. The average width was 80 m.

In the southern part of the settlement, where the street pattern was not as uniform as in the northern part, blocks were not rectangular. Plots were grouped in clusters rather than back-to-back. Therefore, the block was not clearly defined. By 1987, these blocks had been defined by the inter-connection of all the settlement streets, though their shapes remained irregular.

Since blocks were defined by streets, site topography and existing plots also affected the shape of the blocks. Evolution: Block Subdivisions and Fusions

Although most of the block shapes remained the same throughout the evolution of the settlement, some block subdivisions occurred. For instance, empty areas were used as short-cuts. These pedestrian paths progressively defined a new street and divided the block.

Similarly, the need for land and the consolidation of other existing streets made some roads and pedestrian paths disappear. These areas were transformed into private land, either by extending adjacent plots or by creating new ones. (Fig. 9)

Other block modifications occurred when streets were completely paved. During this process, the size and shape of some blocks changed, since some streets, and therefore blocks, were modified to align corners and to correct grade. (Fig. 9)

In summary, the blocks were defined by the streets; therefore, the block pattern was a scheme of rectangular blocks organized in a grid-iron. Similar tothe definition of streets, the definition process of blocks was not rigid, but responded to the physical characteristics of the site and existing plots. The block pattern was not a static, but a transforming one. It changed and evolved according to the dynamic of the settlement.

3.1.4. Plots

This section focused on the patterns of definition, layout and allocation of plots during the invasion process in San José.

Land was subdivided in plots almost of similar size, though there were some larger plots intended for particular uses, such as the school, the concrete block factory. In the process of allocation, the size of plots was adapted to the demand and the availability of land. Almost all plots were used for housing, though other activities would appear, such as the concrete block factory, the school, a church and a community centre. Layout and Allocation Process

The plots were defined on both sides of main streets, though there were some plots that were defined on secondary streets. Most of them were arranged back-to-back with at least one side facing the street. (Fig. 10)

Plots were allocated on a "first-come, first-served" basis. The size of a plot to be given to a family depended on the size of the household, their spatial needs and the kinds of activities that would take place on the plot.

The settlers were not given any security of non-eviction. However, the strong political affiliation of the invasion leader provided a certain guarantee to the settlers.

The survey showed that more than 46% of the households were first settlers. A group of 50% of the families paid for an invader's improved plot, such as a plot with a shack, or a fenced plot, and 3% of the sample acquired the land from a former settler. Physical Characteristics

- Plot Shapes

Most of the plots (83.7%) had a rectangular shape with the narrow side fronting the street. Also in corner plots, the narrow side was the main access. However, there was a significant percentage (13.3%) of plots that had a triangular or irregular shape. (Fig. 11) These plots were the product of the irregularities of the topography and the rain ditches. Also, some plot shapes were irregular because they were defined in the remaining land in between the already-existing plots.

- Plot Frontage

Plot frontages varied since the beginning of the invasion. Initially, plots were wider, but as the demand for land increased, plots became narrower. Also, large plots were subdivided into smaller and narrower plots facing the same street. Occasionally, corner plots were subdivided by opening the new plot towards the other street.

By 1979, the average frontage was 24 m, ranging from 15 m to 40 m. By 1980, the average was 21 m, frontages varied from 12 m to 40 m. By 1983, average frontage was 19.5 m, ranging from 12 m to 32 m. By 1987, the average was 18 m. By 1991, the average frontage in the sample was 17.1 m. The widest plot was 33.5 m and the narrowest was 7.1 m. (Fig. 11) The sample was distributed as indicated in Table 2.

- Plot Depth

Plot depths did not change significantly when land demand increased. Although plots became narrower, the depth was kept in order to maintain the proportion of blocks (since two plot depths equal a block width). By 1991, the average depth in the sample was 37.3 m, the smallest being 19.5 m and the largest 53.4 m. (Fig. 11) The total sample was distributed as indicated in Table 3.

- Size

The average size of plots varied along the development of the barrio. By 1979, the average plot area in the settlement was 900.0 m2, ranging from 340.0 m2 to 1600.0 m2. As the settlement grew towards the western part and more families arrived at the site, available land became scarce. The criteria for plot allocation were redefined to accommodate the increasing demand, and plots became smaller. The average size of the plots created in 1980 was approximately 780.0 m2, ranging from 470.0 m2 to 1430.0 m2, which was slightly smaller than the average of the initial plots.

In 1991, the average size of the plots was 652.8 m2. The size of the sample plots varied widely from 241.8 m2 to 1214.8 m2. (Fig. 12) The total group was distributed as indicated in Table 4.

- Fences

In most of the plots, lateral and back fences existed from the very beginning of the settlement. They were made of diverse materials. Initially they were made of wooden poles and wire, bushes and recycled tin sheets. The street line acted as a virtual front side fence. Usually, the back part of the plot was fenced to enclose animals and pets. Later, fences were also improved with a concrete block wall or iron framework. Fences were rarely improved with more permanent materials before a more permanent dwelling was already built. The oldest and most consolidated dwellings of the settlement usually had sound fences.

In consolidated dwellings, the front side of the plot was usually fenced with a low wall, approximately one meter high, supporting an iron framework. (Fig. 13)

In some instances, the existence of a solid fence made of concrete blocks was also related to the relationship between neighbours. Friendly and well-known neighbours were not eager to build a wall to separate the plots.


< 12 m 2 6.5%
12 - 15 m 7 23.3%
15 - 18 m 10 33.3%
18 - 21 m 6 20.0%
> 21 m 5 16.7%


< 30 m 5 16.7%
30 - 35 m 6 20.0%
35 - 40 m 13 43.3%
> 40 m 6 20.0%


< 300 m2 2 6.7%
300 - 500 m2 8 26.7%
500 - 700 m2 13 43.3%
700 - 900 m2 3 10.0%
900 - 1100 m2 2 6.7%
> 1100 m2 2 6.7%

To summarize, the predominant plot shape in San José was rectangular, with the narrow side facing the street. There was a wide range of plot sizes and proportions within the same neighbourhood. The average size in 1991 was 652.8 m2, ranging from 241.8 m2 to 1214.8 m2.

The plots were usually fenced. The materials used to build the fences in plots were related to the level of housing consolidation. In some cases, they also revealed the relationships between neighbours.

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3.2. The Housing Process

In the context of invasion settlements, patterns of resource and effort allocation for housing depended not only on the user's capacity, but also on specific constraints which were inherent to the invasion process itself. The illegal status of the settlers, the threat of eviction, the possibility of delay or no recognition by official agencies and local government, and therefore the provision of services, were factors that defined housing patterns in barrios. In San José, dwellings were built progressively. The process was controlled by the users, since they set the design guidelines, budgeted the resources and managed the building process.

This section focused on these patterns of housing: plot occupation and evolution, dwelling design, location in the plot, construction process, additional activities and structures. The last part of the section presented the housing characteristics of the sample, in terms of dwelling and plot density, and population.

3.2.1. Plot Occupation

Section 3.2.1. focused on the transformation and management of the plot area once it was allocated to the users. The section observed three specific aspects of plots: how they were modified ( plot evolution), what kind of activities took place in plots and how much area was occupied in plots, not only in terms of area, but also in terms of density. Plot Evolution

After the plots were allocated, some of them were modified. They were either totally or partially sold, subdivided, rented or given to a member of the family, friend or someone else, even though there were no legal ownership documents. Some portions of land within plots that were not used for housing were used for profitable purposes. Also, some plots modified their initial layout when streets were completely paved, and sidewalks and storm drainage (gutters) were built. Some plots benefited from new border lines, while others lost area in this process.

Considering these possible transformations, the evolution of plots in San José can be organized in three groups:

- Unmodified plots: This group consisted of plots that remained exactly the same as they were defined during the allocation process of the invasion. They represented 60% of the total sample.

- Modified plots: This second group consisted of those plots that changed their original area or shape, either by increasing or decreasing it. This group represented 16.7% of the sample. (Fig. 14)

- Subdivided: This group included those plots originated by a plot subdivision. This group represented 23.3% of the total. (Fig. 15) Activities in Plots

In San José, almost all the plots were used for housing. Commonly, normal housing activities occupied several structures or specific areas in the plot. (Fig. 16) For instance, the dish and clothes washing area was usually located close to the back entrance of the dwelling. This area was conveniently graded in order to allow the water to drain into the plot. Occasionally, water from the washing caused problems between neighbours when it drained into neighbouring plots. For this reason, the water was usually channelled to be absorbed by the permeable soil or directed to the street. (Fig. 17a)

Bathing was done outdoors in an enclosed concrete platform without aroof. This platform was near the washing area because these activities usually shared the same water pipe. Water from bathing also ran throughout the plot. The latrine was usually an enclosed, roofed room located at the rear part of the plot. (Fig. 17b)

Even though housing was the main activity, some income-generating activities, such as small business, food preparation, animal raising, small crop cultivation, sewing and hairdressing also existed in plots. Some of these activities occupied additional structures different from the dwelling structure. For instance, small shops, workshops, garages for car repair, storage rooms and other provisional structures were occasionally built. (Fig. 17c) Occupied Area in Plots

The main structures in plots were the dwellings. However, other structures related to housing also appeared. More than 73% of the surveyed plots contained one dwelling. Almost 27% of the total group had two or more dwellings. In half of this group, the new dwelling was being built, and the old dwelling had not been removed. These two structures actually functioned as one dwelling.

The total occupied area in plots included all structures existing in the plot that were used for housing or complemented housing activities, except animal areas, pet and chicken cages. In the sample, the average of plot area occupied by these additional structures was 25.9 m2. The average of total occupied area on plots was 122.1 m2. The smallest occupied area was 30.3 m2, and the largest was 257.3 m2. Plots with more occupied area were not among the largest plots, but among the average-area plots. The smallest plots usually occupied less area. In terms of percentage of occupied area per plot, the average was 20% of the total plot area. The biggest percentage was 51.6% and the smallest was 7.6%. Population

The average population per plot was 6.3 persons. The major concentration, 56% of the total sample, had from 5 to 7 persons per plot. A group of more than 23% of the total had 8 or more persons, and 20% had 4 or lower persons per plot. The average population was lower in subdivided plots, which was 5.4 persons per plot.

In the sample, 83% of the plots were occupied by one family. All modified and subdivided plots were included in this classification. One fifth of this group were extended families. The remaining 17% of the plots were multi-family plots and belonged to the group of unmodified plots. Some of these families were extended families. Density

In the sample, the average plot area per household was 507.8 m2. The lowest density was 1098.5 m2 per household in a modified (enlarged) plot of an extended family, and the highest was 241.8 m2 per household in a subdivided plot of a nuclear family. Bigger density plots were, however, in the group of unmodified plots, and lower density plots were among the group of subdivided plots. The total group was distributed as indicated in Table 5.

TABLE 5: PLOT DENSITY (per family)



< 300 m2 1 3.3%
300 - 400 m2 9 24.3%
400 - 500 m2 9 24.3%
500 - 600 m2 3 8.1%
600 - 700 m2 8 21.6%
700 - 800 m2 1 2.7%
> 800 m2 3 8.1%

Regarding density on sample plots, the average plot area per person was 99.4 m2 in 1991. The group was distributed as indicated in Table 6.

TABLE 6: PLOT DENSITY (per person)

< 50 m2 1 3.3%
50 - 100 m2 16 53.3%
100 - 150 m2 7 23.3%
150 - 200 m2 5 16.7%
> 200 m2 1 3.3%

To summarize, the section showed that most of the plots in San José remained unmodified since the invasion began. However, some of them were modified and subdivided. Some unmodified plots, usually the larger ones, were occupied by more than one household of extended families.

Almost all the plots were used for housing; therefore, the dwelling was the main structure in plots. However, household activities were performed in different structures and areas that complemented the dwelling structure.

Although almost all the plots in the settlement were used for housing, additional activities, such as income-generating activities also existed. Some of these activities occupied additional structures.

3.2.2. First Dwelling

This section focused on the development of the first dwelling as the initial stage of the housing process. In the section, seven aspects of the first dwelling development were observed: design, construction and size of the dwelling, location in the plot and setbacks, activities in the first dwelling and extensions./p>

As mentioned in section 3.1.1., the settler would rapidly show occupancy of the plot. The first-built structure was very basic and usually erected in a fewhours. Initially, this first structure was just a roof which was rapidly extended to a one or two-bedroom enclosed dwelling. At this stage of development, housing quality was not important since the first dwelling was always considered provisional. For this reason, the building materials were cheap, easy to transport, to assemble and, eventually, to disassemble. The first dwelling was made of tin sheets for walls and roof, on a wooden structure. First Dwelling Design

Generally, two types of layout plans were used in first dwellings: the square floor plan and the rectangle plan. In the first one, the plan was divided in two halves, one for the social area, and the other the private area, which was commonly subdivided to obtain two bedrooms. (Fig. 18) The rectangle plan, which was usually half the size of the square plan, was divided in two sections, the social and the private area, which were the living and bedroom area, respectively. (Fig. 19) In both layout plans, the social area was a multi-purpose room that was used for living, dining, working and other household activities.

The first dwelling had two entrances, the main entrance facing the street, and a secondary entrance leading to the backyard. The dwelling might have small openings such as windows, usually in the front rooms of the dwelling. These openings were cut in the tin sheet. To shut these openings, a wood panel or a cut piece of tin was used.

In the sample, 66% built the first dwelling according to the two-bedroom square plan type; 24% according to the one-bedroom rectangular plan; and 10% built bigger rectangular plans, with 3 or more bedrooms.

The size of the plan was commonly defined by the length of the tin sheet, which ranged from 3.0 m to 3.5 m. In the sample, the average length for a two-tin sheet wall, which was the dimension of the square plan, was 6.6 m. In the rectangular plan, the two tin sheets defined the length of the large side, and one sheet, the short one.

The roof was also made of tin sheets, and its height was approximately2.3 m, which was the width of four to five tin sheets. It was one or two-sloped. Usually, an opening was left between the walls and roof for ventilation. In some cases, an additional roof was added at a later stage as a back-porch.

Initially the floor was compacted earth. It was soon improved with a cement layer. In some instances, walls were separated from the floor to allow the free running of water in case of heavy rainfall. Construction Process

The building system was simple, and it was usually carried out by the settlers themselves, though some cases existed in which the building process was contracted.

In San José de Chirica, the first dwelling structure was usually built using wooden poles or recycled steel bars. Small holes were dug into the earth to place the wooden or steel poles. Corner poles, which would support the roof, were slightly larger than the others to separate the roof from the walls for ventilation purposes. The separation between poles depended on the quality and resistance of the wood and the tin sheets. Once the poles were erected, the roof was placed. Then, the tin sheets were nailed on the wooden poles or tied with wire in the case of steel poles. Interior partitions were also made of tin sheets or other materials such as cardboard, fabric curtains and recycled wood panels. First Dwelling Area

The dwelling area represents the built-up area of the dwelling structure. Additional structures, such as latrines, bathing rooms and storage rooms were not included since they were not present in all plots. The average area of the first dwellings in the sample was 43.3 m2. The smallest dwelling area was 23.1 m2, and the largest was 96.0 m2. The sample was distributed as indicated in the following Table 7:


< 24 m2 2 7.4%
24 - 36 m2 6 22.2%
36 - 48 m2 13 48.2%
48 - 60 m2 4 14.8%
> 60 m2 2 7.4%

Note: Intervals of 12 m2 represent the approximate area of a tin sheet room. Location of the First Dwelling in Plots

Due to the provisional character of the first dwelling, it was often strategically located in the plot to allow either the construction of the more permanent dwelling, the subdivision of the plot, or both. In order to record the location of dwellings, the plot area was subdivided in 9 sectors (3 x 3), as shown below:


Of the sample, more than 56% of the cases built the first dwelling on one side of the plot (lateral position 1, 4, 7, 3, 6 or 9); and 53% of them were located in the middle of the plot (positions 4 and 6). (Fig. 21) This location preference gave the users more options for building the second structure, either at the front, at the rear, or at one side of the first dwelling. None of the first dwellings was built at the back part of the plot. This part was usually reserved for the latrine and for raising animals.


56% 44% First Dwelling Setbacks

Almost all the first dwellings in the sample were separated from the border lines of the plot. This setback area served as a transition zone between the public and the private areas, in the case of front setbacks, or between neighbours, since no solid fences or party walls were built at this stage of the development. In many cases, this area was left to allow the construction of the more permanent dwelling, the extension of the existing one or the subdivision of the plot. Also, in the case of front setback, this area prevented damages to the dwelling when streets were aligned for paving.

The average front setback in the first dwelling was 9.7 m. The largest was 23.0 m, and the smallest was one meter. In the case of lateral setbacks, one lateral setbacks was larger than the other, since no dwelling was exactly centered in the plot. The average size of short setbacks was 3.5 m, ranging from 14.0 m to 0 m (this being no setback at all). The average size of large setbacks was 7.8 m, the largest being 18.0 m, and the smallest 1.0 m. (Fig. 22) The sample was distributed as indicated in the Table 8.


< 5 m 5 17.3% < 2 m 8 27.6%
5 - 9 m 14 44.3% 2 - 4 m 8 27.6%
9 - 13 m 7 24.3% 4 - 6 m 7 4.1%
> 13 m 3 10.3% > 6 m 6 20.7%

Fig. 22: FIRST DWELLING SETBACKS Activities in the First Dwelling

Because of the limited space and the lack of infrastructure services inside the first dwelling, this structure was mainly used for sleeping, living, and occasionally for cooking activities. In addition, tin sheet dwellings were reported to be hot internally during daytime because of intense sun radiation, but they were comfortably cool at night. As a consequence, most of the daytime housework was performed outdoors in the backyard, close to the secondary entrance of the dwelling.

In the sample, more than 66% of first dwellings had two bedrooms, and 26% had one bedroom. If possible, parents and children had separate bedrooms. Commonly, two or three beds were put together in children's bedrooms, and boys and girls slept in different beds. Small children sometimes slept in the parents' room.

The kitchen area in the dwelling was mostly used for food preparation,utensils and food storage. However, due to the lack of adequate ventilation in the interior, if cooking took a long time and produced excessive heat and smoke, it was done outdoors, over an open fire in the backyard. Water containers were placed inside the kitchen area to wash vegetables and some dishes. There rarely existed a specific place for eating. In the kitchen, there was usually a table for food preparation and other housework; the table doubled as a dining table. In most cases, children took their plate and sat down in the backyard, the bedroom, the living room, on the floor, a chair or a bench.

The washing area was located close to the back door of the dwelling. Some improvised tables were arranged to place washing basins on them and to dry the dishes. In a few cases, the washing area was cemented to avoid mud in the working area. Oil drums containing water were close at hand. Other smaller containers were used to carry water inside the dwelling.

The bathing area was usually located very close to the washing area, since these two activities usually shared the same water pipe. The bathing place consisted of a slightly raised cement platform, to prevent mud build-up, and, almost invariably, it had no roof. Enclosing walls were approximately 1.5 m to 1.6 m high, and were made of tin sheets supported with wooden poles. The place was usually big enough to allow more than one person, mothers and grown-up children helped younger children bathe. Children had fun bathing together.

The pit latrine was usually located far from the house, in the rear part of the backyard, to avoid odours. The walls and roof were made of tin sheets. The First Dwelling Extensions

Due to its fast-building process and provisional character, the first dwelling was usually a small unit. In most cases, the settlers added some extensions to satisfy the household's need for space. There were cases in which the size of these extensions was similar to the initial area of the dwelling. Almost all extensions to the first dwelling consisted of additional roofed areasadjacent to the dwelling, such as front or back porches, garages, or additional detached structures for animals, storage or small shops. Additional rooms were added in 20% of the cases.

The first dwelling's extensions were the intermediate step between the shack and the more permanent dwelling. These extensions were made of the same materials as the first dwelling and were also considered provisional. However, there were a few cases in which extensions were built with more permanent materials and, later, they were integrated to the second dwelling.

To summarize, the most important role of the first dwelling was to show occupancy of the plot, and to provide fast and cheap housing to first settlers. It was always considered a provisional solution. For most of the barrio inhabitants, good quality housing was not the priority in early stages of the settlement. The average first dwelling area was 43.3 m2.

The location of the first dwelling in the plot was related to a preconceived idea of land management. In the sample, 56% located the first dwelling on one side of the plot, 44% on the central area, and none of the dwellings were located in the rear part.

Many household activities were moved outdoors to the backyard in order to compensate for the usually insufficient area inside of the first dwelling.

3.2.3. Second Dwelling

This section focused on the development of the second and more permanent dwelling in the plot as a part of the incremental housing process. The aspects studied were similar to those studied for the first dwelling. One more aspect was added regarding the location of the dwelling in the plot: the location of the dwelling in relation to the first dwelling since it was closely related to the construction process.

In San José, a more permanent dwelling was built three or four years after the arrival to the site. By 1983, 30% of the sample had a second dwelling.By 1987, this group accounted for 70% of the sample. In 1991, 80% of the total sample had built the second dwelling and were fully using it; 6.6% had begun to build a second dwelling but depended on first dwelling areas to satisfy spatial needs; and a similar group had initiated the construction of the second dwelling but were still living in the first one. All of them were using permanent materials, such as concrete or clay blocks for walls and cement floors. A group of 6.6% of the sample had not begun the building of the second dwelling. (Fig. 23) Second Dwelling Design

The designs of the second dwelling were more diverse than in the first one in terms of dimensions and proportions of spaces. However, all of them can be considered as variations of the original scheme in terms of the spatial distribution of activities. As in the first dwelling, the second dwelling had one main entrance facing the street and a secondary entrance leading to the backyard. (Fig. 24) The dwelling scheme was a two-block structure, one for social activities and the other for more private activities, in a rectangular floor plan. These blocks were parallel and separated by a 1.0 to 1.2-meter wide corridor, which ran from the main entrance to the backyard entrance . The social area was usually a multi-purpose rectangular space that contained the living, dining, working areas and the kitchen, which was located close to the backyard entrance. The private area contained the bedrooms and, in some cases the bathroom, organized in a row along the corridor. Each bedroom had one window. Occasionally, the bedrooms were inter-connected. The axis of the rectangular plan was usually laid out at right angles to the street axis.

This layout pattern was related to the construction process of the dwelling. Invariably, the first part to be built was the bedroom block. A row of two or three bedrooms was erected, each with a window opposite the bedroom door. In a few cases, the bathroom was included inside the house, and located close to the backyard door.

The second part of the building process was the social area. Generally,the social area block was recessed 1 or 2 meters back from the front line of the bedroom block, in order to leave space for a future porch. The two-block building pattern was followed even though the two blocks were built in one stage. The dwelling layout was also the same.

In the sample, the average width (module) of both social and private blocks was 4.10 m. The narrowest module was 3.0 m, and the widest 5.0 m. The average length of bedrooms was 3.6 m, the largest being 5.0 m, and the shortest 2.5 m. The length of the social area varied widely from one dwelling to another. In some cases, the living, working and dining areas were spatially differentiated. In others, a large multi-purpose room without spatial subdivisions was used for all these activities. Construction Process

The construction process of the dwelling was managed entirely by the users. They either built by themselves or contracted skilled labour for specific phases of the process, such as the structure or plumbing. In some instances, they also contracted labour for the complete building process. Generally, hired labour came from the same neighbourhood. In almost all the cases, members of the household, relatives and friends participated in the work.

As previously mentioned, the most popular building material was concrete blocks for the walls. Concrete blocks were preferred because they were considered more durable and of good quality, and they could be used as load-bearing walls. In addition, the fabrication method of concrete blocks was simple and could be completed locally. Small concrete block producers were found in most barrios. In San José, there was one for the local market which was managed by a barrio resident; the other factory was a private company and had a larger production.

Some households used clay blocks, and many others used both. Clay blocks were not considered as resistant as concrete blocks, but they were lighter, and, therefore, easier to transport.

The dwelling structure consisted of a system of load-bearing walls made of concrete blocks, supporting columns and beams that limited movement as a rigid framework. A foundation beam was made, and the reinforcing steel for the columns were bound to it. (Footings, Fig. 25) Then, wall panels were erected, with lengths between 2.5 to 5.0 m and heights of 2.3 m or more. Between one wall panel and the next, a separation of 15 to 20 cm, which contained the reinforcing steel bars, was left for the column. This space was then framed with concrete forms on both sides of the wall, and the concrete mixture was poured in from the top of the wall to build the column. Once all the walls and columns were built, a topping beam was built to make the walls-and-column system rigid. The quality of the structural system varied widely, depending on the available technical assistance, skilled labour, and resources to fund them.

The walls only had finishing in interior spaces and, if resources were available, on the front side of the dwelling. Exterior walls facing lateral yards and the backyard had finishing at a much later stage.

The roof commonly had two slopes and was made of overlapping tin sheets. It could also be made of corrugated asbestos panels, though these were not popular because asbestos panels were more expensive and were considered more fragile than tin sheets. As some barrio inhabitants maintained, they were easily broken with a stone or a tree branch.

The floor was cement, with a soft finishing. In very few cases, the bathroom floor could be finished with ceramic tiles. Tiles could be surplus from other buildings that were acquired through friendship networks.

The doors facing exterior areas were usually metallic doors because they lasted longer and provided more security against burglary. Initially, window openings were closed with ventilation blocks, until standard window frames could be installed. These completed standard frames were also made of steel. Second Dwelling Area

Since housing is a transforming and growing process, second dwellingareas were permanently changing. The value of second dwelling areas only included, then, the roofed area of the second structure that was built with more permanent materials. The areas still under construction in some of the samples (i.e., walls and no roof) were separately recorded. Additional structures were not included for this calculation. The average of both values, second dwelling and areas under construction can be summarized as follows:


1980 1983 1987 1991
SECOND DWELLING 44.5 m2 58.3 m2 80.3 m2 88.4 m2

51.3 m2

53.4 m2

49.8 m2

36.0 m2

By 1991, the average area of the second dwellings in San José was 88.4 m2, the smallest being 25.4 m2, and the largest 204.0 m2. The total group was distributed as indicated in Table 10:


< 40 m2 2 7.7%
40 - 60 m2 2 7.7%
60 - 80 m2 5 19.2%
80 - 100 m2 10 38.5%
100 - 120 m2 5 19.2%
> 120 m2 2 7.7% Location of the Second Dwellings in Plots

Due to the more permanent character of the second dwelling, its location in the plot responded to certain considerations that were related to the possible use of the land and the housing process itself.

Of the group that built, or began to build a second dwelling, 63% locatedit at one side of the plot. Of this group, more than half located it in the front part (positions 1 and 3). Of the group that located the dwelling in the central part (positions 2, 5, and 8), 80% were in the front of the plot (position 2). In only one plot, which was the smallest in the sample, was the second dwelling located at the rear part of the plot (position 8).


63% 37% Location of Second Dwellings in Relation to the First Dwellings

In San José de Chirica, the construction process of the more permanent dwelling, fast or slow, was always carried out in a progressive way, since resources and labour were not fully or constantly available. As a consequence, the second dwelling was often built in several phases, and there was a period of time during the construction process in which both structures, the old dwelling and the first phase of the new one, functionally complemented each other and were simultaneously used. In some cases, the new and the old dwelling existed together for many years as one entity. For this reason, the second dwelling was built either adjacent to, close, surrounding, or separate from the first one. Each pattern shaped the whole construction process in a specific way, but in all of them, the bedroom block was built first and the social area later. Finished sections of the new dwelling were immediately used, while the others were completed.

-Adjacent: The second dwelling was built adjacent and connected to the first one. (Fig. 27) It was generally located at one side of it, though there werealso cases in which the new construction was located in front of the former one. A row of two or three concrete block rooms, each with a window fronting the door, were erected beside or close to the multi-use or social room of the first dwelling. Once these concrete block rooms were completed, the tin sheet wall adjacent to them was removed. New bedrooms were then accessible and integrated into the first dwelling while the construction proceeded. In this group, the first dwelling was progressively disassembled as parts of the second one were completed. Of the sample, 44.4% of second dwellings belonged to this group.

-Close: In this case, the second dwelling was built close to the first one, either in front, beside or behind it, but not directly connected. (Fig. 28) In this group, the first dwelling remained unmodified until the second dwelling was built, since it was not affected by the building process. This group represented 14.3% of the total sample.

-Enclosed: In this group, the more permanent dwelling was built enclosing the old shack. (Fig. 29) Layers of blocks were laid out surrounding the existing tin walls. Once the new exterior wall was finished, the old wall was removed, and interior partition walls were built. This group represented 14.3% of the total sample; 50% of these were narrow plots.

-Separated: In some large plots, the second dwelling was built separately from the first one, as an independent structure. (Fig. 30) In many of these cases, the first dwelling was not removed and was occupied by members of the extended family. When this occurred, additional structures and facilities, such as additional latrines and bathing areas, were built. This group represented 26% of the sample. Of these, more than half had not yet removed the old structure. Second Dwelling Setbacks

As in the first dwelling, front and lateral setbacks were also left in the layout of the second dwelling. By 1991, no permanent construction was madein the area of the front setback, only provisional shops and work areas. It was used as a buffer zone between the street and the private sections. Front setbacks also prevented possible damages to the dwelling due to the process of street alignment. When the streets were paved, some plots were favoured with the new layout, but some others had to release part of their front setbacks, without any compensation in order to correct grade and alignment. In more developed dwellings, this setback was used to build a porch or veranda, which was usually two or three meters wide. The average front setback in the sample was 5.7 m. The largest was 14.5 m and the smallest was 2.0 m. (Fig. 31)


Lateral setbacks were also left in second dwellings. In San José, people usually preferred to separate party walls from the border line of plots. They considered that this separation would prevent misunderstandings about ownership status. In case of demolition, neighbouring structures would not bedamaged. Their dimensions varied widely from one plot to another. They depended not only on the plot width but also on the users' criteria to administer the land. In some cases the large setback represented the area on which an additional dwelling or an extension to the existing one could be built. In others, it represented the area of the plot that could eventually be subdivided. This space between built structures also provided some privacy. The average dimension of large lateral setbacks in the sample was 6.5 m; the largest being 18.0 m and the smallest 0.4 m. The average dimension of short lateral setbacks was 2.6 m, the largest being 7.5 m, and the smallest was no setback at all. The total group was distributed as follows:


< 3 m 6 23.1% < 2 m 15 55.5%
3 - 7 m 12 46.1% 2 - 4 m 9 33.3%
7 - 11 m 6 23.1% 4 - 6 m 0 0
> 11 m 2 7.7% > 6 m 3 11.1% Activities in the Second Dwelling

The second dwelling allowed for more indoor activities since it usually provided more space. For sleeping, the family members were similarly distributed as in the first dwelling. Parents and children had separate bedrooms, and when it was possible boys and girls were also separated. In the sample, 53.8% of the second dwellings had three bedrooms, and 27% had two. Some of these dwellings were still under construction.

The kitchen area was more extensively used than in the first dwelling. It was provided with windows for adequate ventilation and light. It usually had a sink, so washing of vegetables could be done inside. Due to the lack of furniture, no specific place for dining was defined in most of second dwellings, except for, as in the first dwelling, the kitchen table. Commonly, the dining roomwas included in the social area of the house.

Of the sample group, 36.6% included the bathroom, toilet and shower/bathing area inside the second dwelling, along with a septic tank. Of the remaining group, 33% improved the conditions of the facilities with the use of more durable materials, solid floor, better arrangement and location, though still outdoors. Of them, more than half changed the latrine system for a septic tank. In some cases, bathing still took place outdoors, though in better bathing rooms. The rest of the total group did not change either the latrine or the bathing area conditions.

In most of the cases, dish and clothes washing were still performed outdoors. Water from the washing freely drained into the backyard.

Some productive and income-earning activities were also performed in the second dwelling, such as sewing, handcraft manufacturing, food and beverage preparation for selling. However, all these activities were provisional; they were not considered permanent occupations. Therefore, no specific locations in the dwelling were arranged for them. In those cases in which the old dwelling was not disassembled, it was used to allocate some of these additional activities. Second Dwelling Extensions

Some extensions were frequently added on the backyard end of either block. The axial corridor connected the new rooms to the existing ones. Dwelling extensions were also added on laterals of the bedroom or to the social area blocks, making the dwelling wider. These extensions were not common because the resulting inner rooms lacked the adequate natural cross-ventilation and lighting. Building materials for extensions were also of a permanent type. Once a second and more durable dwelling existed or was initiated. The first shack was rarely extended or improved.

To summarize, the second dwelling was eventually built once thesettlement had achieved a certain stability and security of non-eviction. This second dwelling was always made of more permanent materials. The most popular building materials were concrete blocks for the walls, cement for the floors, and tin sheets for the roof.

The design of this second dwelling was almost invariably a scheme of two rectangular blocks, one for bedrooms and the other for the social areas of the dwelling. This design allowed adequate natural lighting and ventilation for all the dwelling areas. The two-block scheme facilitated the division of the building process in two phases. It also allowed the axial growth of the dwelling, without affecting the already-built areas.

The location of the second house in the plot responded to a more defined attitude related to the possible uses of the land. A significant proportion of cases located the second dwelling at one side of the plot. The location of the second dwelling in relation to the first one also revealed a defined attitude towards the building process. This location was classified in four groups: adjacent, close, enclosed, and separated.

Although the second dwelling offered more room for household activities than the first one, some activities were still performed in the backyard. By 1991, one third of the group that built a second dwelling included the bathroom inside the dwelling. In the group of second dwellings, 57.7% had areas between 60 m2 and 100 m2; 15.4% had areas smaller than 60 m2, and 26.9% of this group had areas larger than 100 m2.

3.2.4. Third Dwelling

More than two dwellings were observed only in large plots. By 1991, of the group that built the second dwelling, almost 15% had built or initiated the building of a third dwelling. In two plots there was a third dwelling already built at the time of the survey. Both of them were housing members of an extended family (married children), and both were built almost three years ago. There was also one case in which the structure (foundations and steel bars for thecolumns) for the third dwelling was already built. Third Dwelling Design

Both already-built third dwellings were from the National Housing Agency program (INAVI house). The layout of these units was similar to that of most second dwellings in San José, though smaller in size. (Fig. 32) These dwellings consisted of two blocks, one for bedrooms, and the other for social areas. They had two bedrooms, a living/dining area, a kitchen and one bathroom. The bedrooms' dimensions were 3.0 x 3.0 m. The built-up area of this dwelling was 41.0 m2. It was considered a basic unit -- the core house -- that could eventually be extended. The building materials were concrete blocks for walls, cement floor and steel bar structures to support the tin sheet roof.

The third dwelling that was under construction was located behind the second dwelling in this plot. According to the existing foundations, the future area of this dwelling would be approximately 152.0 m2.

In all these dwellings, front and lateral setbacks were kept to provide buffer areas between the street and the dwelling, and between neighbours. Location of the Third Dwelling in Plots

In all the cases, the third dwelling was built independently and separated from the former ones, though some facilities, as well as the daily expenses of the whole household, were shared. If the plot was big enough, the area was proportionally divided among existing dwellings. Additional latrines and bathing areas were added in some cases.

The dwellings from the National Housing Agency program, the INAVI houses, were built in the front part of the plot and beside the second dwelling (position 3). The third dwelling still under construction was located behind the second dwelling, which was facing the main street in a corner plot (position 9). This third dwelling was being built fronting the secondary street.


66% 33%

3.2.5. Present Housing Characteristics Dwelling Area

The calculation of the "dwelling area" included the built-up area of all existing dwelling units in the plot, bathing areas, latrines, porches, roofed working areas and back porches. Storage rooms, pet and other animal houses, or fenced areas for them were not included in this calculation. The average dwelling area per plot in the sample was 111.9 m2/plot. The smallest was 29.1 m2, and the biggest 208.6 m2. The group was distributed as indicated in Table 12:


< 60 m2 3 10.0%
60 - 80 m2 2 6.7%
80 - 100 m2 8 26.7%
100 - 120 m2 7 13.3%
120 - 140 m2 5 16.7%
140 - 160 m2 - -
160 - 180 m2 1 3.3%
> 180 m2 4 13.3% Dwelling Density

The average dwelling area occupied per family was 90.8 m2. The biggestdwelling area occupied by one family was 208.6 m2, and the smallest, 29.1 m2. The total group was distributed as indicated in Table 13.






< 50 m2 8 21.6%
50 - 80 m2 9 24.3%
80 - 110 m2 12 32.4%
110 - 140 m2 4 10.8%
> 140 m2 4 10.8%

The average available dwelling space per person was 17.8 m2. The sample was distributed as indicated in Table 14.






< 15 m2/p 47.0%
15 - 20 m2/p 22.0%
20 - 35 m2/p 35.0%
> 35 m2/p 5.6% Dwelling Population

Most households (75% of the total) were nuclear families, which were father and/or mother with their children. Some of them (14.8%) occupied more than one dwelling. In these cases, the first dwelling was used along with the second dwelling. Two nuclear families were sharing one dwelling. A smaller group of 8 households (22.2%) was formed by extended families that were occupying one dwelling unit. According to the number of dwellings they occupied, families can be grouped as follows:


1 FAMILY 31 4

Summarizing, of the total sample of 40 dwelling units, 31 of them were housing one family at the time of the survey. Four families were living in two-unit dwellings, since old and new dwellings were being used simultaneously. One dwelling in the sample was occupied by two families.

In San José de Chirica, the dwelling population was highly variable. Kinship networks were strong among barrio inhabitants, and it was observed that relatives and family friends would join the household for a period of time. This occurred especially when relatives migrated to the city and were looking for a place to live, or when single relatives, such as young women, came to the city looking for a better job or education opportunities. Also, elderly family members joined the household for periods of time.

The average population in the surveyed group was 5.1 persons per family. The average population per dwelling unit, however, was 4.7 persons, due to the fact that some families occupied more than one dwelling unit -simultaneously first and second dwellings.

Section 3.2.5. can be summarized in the following table:


(Average m2) m2/pers. m2/fam m2/dwell.
111.9 17.8 99.0 91.6

(Average m2) pers/plot pers/dwell. pers/fam.
121.9 6.3 4.7 5.1
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3.3. Selected Case Study: The House of Mr. Diego

The settlement process in San José de Chirica can be illustrated with the case of Mr. Diego.

In 1980, Mr. Diego knew about the invasion in San José through some friends in his parents' barrio, where he lived. At this time, he was 25 years old, married and had a one-year old daughter. He worked in construction on a contract basis. When Mr. Diego was not working for a company, he did small construction work or any kind of jobs, usually within the neighbourhood.

When he came to San José in 1980, he contacted the invasion leader and asked him for a plot. He was given a big corner plot (660 m2) in the south-western part of the settlement, which was one of the last sectors to be occupied in the barrio. (Fig. 34) It had a rectangular shape with the narrow side on calle Bolívar, which was one of the main streets. By the time the family arrived, the settlement was just an earthy road leading to a small group of dwellings. The plot was "bushes and stones", as Mr. Diego said.

Water and electricity were obtained soon after the family arrived. The invasion leader knew about Mr. Diego's construction skills, and he asked Mr. Diego to participate in the installation of the barrio's water system. Then, Mr. Diego made the connection to his dwelling. The settlement did not have a sewer system.

Mr. Diego placed the first dwelling in the middle of the plot, facing calle Bolívar. It was made of tin sheets, with a wooden structure. Initially, the floor was earth. Later, he made a cement floor. The dwelling had two rooms, one for sleeping and the other for cooking, dining and living activities; its area was 18.6 m2. After completing the first dwelling, Mr. Diego built a latrine at the rear of the backyard. Clothes and dish washing, and part of the cooking was doneoutdoors in the backyard. (Fig. 35) A shower and bathing area were improvised next to the washing area. There was only one water tap. A hose made it possible to use the pipe for these two activities.

Two years after his arrival, he began to build a more permanent dwelling in front of the first one. (Fig. 36) Meanwhile, two more daughters were born. His experience in construction work helped him to lay out the new dwelling. As materials were available, Mr. Diego built in his free time or when he had no jobs. The permanent dwelling was built in two parts. The first part was the two- bedroom area, and beside it was the social area. Initially, Mr. Diego built part of the walls, approximately one meter high. Then, the building process stopped for some months.

Meanwhile, his brother, Luis, came to the city, and Mr. Diego built a temporary dwelling for him beside the first shack. It was also made of tin sheets on wooden frames, but it was smaller and it had only one room for sleeping. The area of this dwelling was approximately 13.0 m2. Mr. Luis shared the other facilities with the rest of the family.

Mr. Luis also helped in the construction of the new dwelling in his free time. The two-bedroom area took five years to finish. The walls had no finishing. The new bedrooms were immediately used, while the rest of the dwelling was being built. The area of this part was 34.0 m2. The social area of the dwelling already had walls, but it remained with an earth floor and without a roof. At this time, the family increased to six children and three adults, including Mr. Luis.

Simultaneously with the construction of the new dwelling, the barrio acquired a more consolidated character. Some streets were paved, including calle Bolívar. A community centre was organized by a group of missionaries and some members of the barrio. Also an Evangelical church was built close to Mr. Diego's dwelling. Persistent petitioning to the Ministry of Education resulted in the construction of a primary (elementary) school in the south-eastern part of the barrio. The area was already reserved for it.

When streets were paved, Mr. Diego's plot gained some area becausethe new street was set a few meters farther from the former boundaries. As a result, the two street sides of the corner plot were extended, and the total area increased by approximately 34% (208.0 m2) of its original area. Then, Mr. Diego set up a fence made of wood poles and wire to define his "new" property of 868.0 m2.

The multi-use room of the social area was completed by 1990, four years after the bedroom area. Only the interior walls were glazed and crudely painted. Its area was 31.0 m2. At that time, a new latrine connected to a septic tank was built in the backyard. The first dwelling was not removed and was used as a cooking and working area because the new dwelling still had no piped water. The family, which had a new son, moved into the new dwelling, and Mr. Diego's brother left San José in June, 1991. The provisional dwelling that was built for him was then removed.

By August of 1991, the settlement had no sewer system. The sidewalks and storm drainage were being built in newer areas of the barrio, including Mr. Diego's surroundings. Contracting companies usually hired temporary workers, sometimes from the same site, to carry out this kind of work. At the time of the survey, Mr. Diego was working for that contracting company.

Today, Mr. Diego has 8 children, and the two-bedroom dwelling is already small. He is thinking about adding a couple of bedrooms. But this work, as he mentioned, will have to be done in the future, when resources and time become available.

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3.4. Summary of Chapter III

The streets were the first settlement element to be defined in San José. The scheme adopted for streets was a grid-iron pattern. This pattern was not rigid, and it easily adapted to the existing characteristic of the site and the settlers. Two categories of streets were defined: main and secondary streets. The main streets organized the allocation of plots. Despite its irregularities, the street pattern in San José de Chirica clearly tried to resemble the structure ofrectangular blocks and inter-connected streets.

Although the invasion leader controlled most of the definition process of the barrio, it was observed that the settlers also participated in the definition and layout of the streets. In fact, some streets were progressively modified according to the preferences and requirements of the barrio inhabitants at later stages.

The streets were laid out as people were arriving. No effort or resource was invested in advance. Initially, streets were earth roads and, once the settlement obtained the support from the local authorities, they were paved and storm water drainage (gutters) were built.

Barrio settlers managed the scarce resources and the inadequate and initial low-quality provision of services in such a way that the development of the barrio was not interrupted. The lack of piped water was alleviated by bringing water by trucks, provided either by local government when petitions were successful, or by private suppliers. The latrine system compensated for the lack of sewer system. As housing conditions were upgraded, the latrine system was substituted by a water closet, either inside or outside of the dwelling, and a septic tank.

The pattern of block definition in San José was flexible. It was adapted to the physical characteristics of the site and the already-existing plots. Also, the block scheme was not a static structure, but a transforming one. As happened with the streets, blocks changed and evolved according to the dynamic of the settlement.

The process of land allocation in San José did not strictly respond to the required space for living. Plot sizes varied widely, and there was no direct relation between plot area and dwelling area. In most cases, the plots were far larger than the occupied plot area. In some instances, there were portions of plots that seemed not to be used.

Barrio plots were mostly used for housing. Some plots were multifamily plots and contained more than one dwelling. Along with household activities,other income-earning activities, such as food and beverage selling, car repairing, workshops and raising animals, also existed. Commonly, these additional activities required additional structures.

The housing process observed in San José showed that dwellings were incrementally developed and improved. In the first dwelling, the priority was not to ensure housing quality, but to show occupancy of the land as soon as possible. This criterion was directly reflected in the kind of materials and building system of the first dwelling. In the second dwelling, the sense of permanence in the settlement was reflected in the more durable character of the dwelling design and the building materials.

The design and the construction method of the second dwelling fitted well into this incremental development process. The construction method was adapted to the pattern of simultaneous use of old and new dwellings and suited the need of apportioning the building process in several phases. The dwelling could then grow along with the existing household activities. The dwelling layout also allowed the axial growth of the dwelling. More rooms with similar characteristics of cross-ventilation and natural light could be added on each block.

The total dwelling area varied widely from plot to plot. Though there was a large percentage of plots with similar dwelling areas, there were also some cases that were far different. Dwelling areas did not depend only on the availability of land. In the sample, dwellings with larger areas did not correspond necessarily to those on larger plots. Instead, most of the larger dwelling areas were on average-size plots.

In unmodified plots, it was more likely to find more than one dwelling, which was being used for different households of the extended family, such as married children, relatives and elders. In these cases, the land was shared with these members, and it was always considered as one plot.

Regarding the occupied plot area per person, lower density plots did not correspond with the larger-size plots because they also registered largerpopulations (multifamily plots). Regarding the dwelling area per person, average density was lower for unmodified plots.

The location of the first dwelling in the plot, as well as the additional structures, was related to the location of the more permanent dwelling and the building process itself. The pattern of simultaneous use of old and new dwelling seemed to be pre-assumed by the settlers, and some preventions were taken in advance at the moment of locating the first structure on the plot.

The most widely used dwelling design consisted of two rectangular multi-room blocks, one for private areas and the other for social areas of the dwelling. This design suited very well the patterns of dwelling construction in San José.

The location of the second dwelling in the plot was related to the construction process and the potential utilization of the plot area (i.e., subdivision, dwelling extensions, construction of additional dwellings and small business).

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