Friday, August 16, 2013

vertical slum... or oasis?

image from YouTube
I read about this slum in Caracas, Venezuala. Torre de David - known as the world's tallest slum. On face value, it seems like an absolute disaster: a vacant, unfinished, unserviced skyscraper - abandoned during construction due to an economic crash... and then filled with some 2,500 squatters out of both protest and necessity.

Watching a short documentary produced by Vocativ, another (contrary) story emerged. One where housing is viewed less of a commodity and more of a basic right. Where a supportive community has evolved and adopted innovative solutions to a seemingly hostile environment. Where a severe shortage of housing makes a vertical slum far preferable to one on ground level that is subject to the vagaries of weather and lacks the same sense of community. Accessibility is limited due the lack of elevators. This is an inconvenience but aids safety as people must climb multiple floors. It is a fascinating and thought-provoking film.

Vocativ is a crowd-sourced media start-up in beta stage. An independent news service, this will be an interesting source for information. 

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