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Petare is the largest informal settlement in Caracas ( and one of the largest in Latin America); view from the highway

Caracas is capital to Venezuela, a country that has been famous for its petroleum and today, for its 11 yearlong president Hugo Chavez, and small name revamp to “República Bolivariana de Venezuela”.  Alongside Hugo Chavez, Bolivar (not the coin but the liberator) is the portrait to be seen in the city. Paintings of the liberator, along with the national flag’s colors, yellow, blue and red, decorate various street corners and walls in the city.

Close to 60% of Caracas’ population (3.2 million out of 4.7 million) lives in informal settlements, or barrios, equaling about a third of the metropolitan area. In addition, unemployment is close to 20%!

Image taken from UCV's journal Urbana, N.35

Image taken from UCV's journal Urbana, N.35

During my visit, I had the opportunity of visiting Caracas Urban Think Tank’s office (http://u-tt.com/) as well as a couple of their projects, as well as speaking and meeting with partners of Arqui 5 (www.arqui5.com), and other local firms, such as AREPA –Arquitectura, Ecologia y Paisaje- amongst others.

In my posts, I will focus primarily on the new Metrocable in the barrio San Agustin (which was based on the Medellin experience). In addition, I will look at “golden” projects, Vertical Gymnasium in the barrio La Cruz; and some of the projects being done by local Universities and local firms, such as the award winning Arqui 5 projects in La Vega and San Rafael Unido.

In Caracas' airport, advertisement for the MetroCable in San Agustin

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