Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Not quantity, but quality 

Now that everyone's bandwidth has had a rest I return to showing some of Venezuela's public works. Today's subject is government built housing.

This has been one of the oppositions favorite subjects over the past few years. The Chavez administration is constructing far too little they claim, and the previous governments did much better. This is partially true.

Venezuela has a housing deficit of about 1.5 million homes. That is, for family to have their own real home, not living with relatives and not living in a makeshift shack, the country would need one and a half million new houses. To attempt to fulfill that need the government has set construction targets of around 100,000 new housing units per year. It has never come close to meeting that goal. In fact this year, when the target is 150,000 units, is the first year when they may break the 100,000 mark. Currently they have handed over about 65,000 new homes to families.

The opposition is criticizing that failing likes to point out that under the previous administration, Caldera, they did construct 100,000 housing units per year. That may be true but I have to admit to being skeptical. The reason is that traveling around Venezuela it seems impossible to find all those homes they supposedly built. A big part of the reason for that is that they were of terrible quality. In fact, I’ve been told that they were often tiny hut like structures made with plastic walls!! Sometimes when you ask people where they are they say they probably washed away in the rain already. In fact, people have told me their own ad hoc houses that they’ve built in a “cerro” are of better quality than what those governments built.

Which brings us back to what Chavez is building. THAT I’ve seen from the inside. Last year I did a detailed report on what Venezuelan public housing looked like from the inside and I suggest that those who don’t remember it take a look.

The bottom line is that as with everything else, Chavez doesn’t build junk. He isn’t throwing up something that will probably fall down in a few years just to meet a target and be able to say he met a goal which winds up not meaning anything when the stuff falls down a few years later. What is built are high quality homes that will last for decades. And today we will see more of these high quality homes that are being built throughout Venezuela:

First are some homes being built in the state of Carabobo:

Here is a rather Levitownish new development in the state of Miranda:

Here are some nicely styled homes:

Here is an interesting sequence where a Caracas slum is cleared and replaced by modern homes:



One can see from all this the government favors moderate density single family type homes. This indeed is the best type of housing to build and that is what they build where space permits. However, in places where space is constrained they build taller apartment building like structures such as these in Maiquetia in the state of Vargas:

As can be seen from this while the targets may not be met, no shortcuts are taken either. And now that the numbers are significantly improving the Venezuelan housing program is starting to look pretty nice indeed.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?