La Vega is one of the largest informal settlements in Caracas, holding a population of over 100,000 people. “San Rafael Unido” is a sector of La Vega is a small (around 26 hectares and close to 5000 people). The settlement now holds interventions by Arqui5, one of the local firms in Caracas that won the National Council for Housing competition for the upgrade of informal settlements in October 1999. “CAMEBA”, along with the financial backing of the National Government and the World Bank, lead the implementation of the program,
Although I was able to visit La Vega during my stay in Caracas, I did not get the opportunity to visit Arqui5’s intervention. Since I will not be able to visit again until the fall, I wanted to quickly showcase some images of their project in order to give you an idea of their design.
For a quick description, the project is basically a network of stairs. Nevertheless, the design of these stairs allow for much more than simply increase the accessibility in the steep slopes of La Vega. They also encompass, wherever possible, small public and gathering spaces as well as basic services systems (drainage, gas, water, sewer and electricity lines in addition to water reserve tanks located at higher points). In addition, the project projected more public equipments and buildings such as schools, community centers and sports facilities. Unfortunately, my impression is that, none of these, except for the first floor of a community center, were actually built.