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Las Tres Mil Viviendas

Sevilla, Spain
1 of 4

Las 3000 Viviendas is a neighborhood of the city of Seville, made up of six neighborhoods belonging to the Poligono Sur. Two of them, Murillo (also 800 Houses) and Martinez Montanes (also Las Vegas) are considered of the most dangerous slums of Seville.

The construction of Las 3000 Viviendas was granted by the Ministry of Housing to the City of Seville in 1968 and was concluded in 1977. From the beginning, it began to be considered an unsafe area. Just ten years after construction, many of the apartment blocks lacked most of their original services, such as hot water or elevators, which were no longer operational because the engines had been stolen. The social uniformity and spatial segregation combined with a lack of public services and other infrastructure soon led the project into decay and extensive informalisation. Issues of drugs, illiteracy, unemployment, delinquency, and functional and physical deterioration of the built environment came along, giving the area the name of vertical shantytown. It was in this context that new flamenco was presented to a number of young and talented local artists in the late 1970s. For the residents of 3000 Viviendas, the music was not only a means to express their everyday life and feelings, but also a mechanism to reverse the downhill of degradation, give visibility to and breathe new life into the neighborhood.

Plan Integral Poligono Sur

The district is home to 55000 people of whom 43% is jobless. Impervious roads, railroads and building blocks isolate Las 3000 Viviendas from the rest of the city. The streets are dangerous, drugs and crime rule. Empty buildings, illegal housing, aids and kids staying home from school. It is synonymous for social exclusion and party spoiler for the beautiful historic centre of the town. The city has been working since 2003 according to the Plan Integral de Poligono Sur with the goals of retrofitting and refurbishing the houses/apartments, work and development for the inhabitants, education, equality and social welfare, and improving the health of the people living in the area. In the same year Dominique Abel, dancer and film director, was subsidized by the Administracion de la Junta de Andalucia to make a documentary on the lost district. She set out in search of the roots of Flamenco. What she found and recorded was a vivid culture amidst a depressing decor. The sensitivity in the filming and the focus on the talents of the people filmed was one way to empower. But, of course making a film is not enough to solve stringent social and economical conditions.

Safety, Diversity and Inclusion

The situation in Poligono Sur gives an insight on the (pre) conditions of sustainable building. The first and foremost is safety. There is no sustainability in unsafe streets, or in places where people feel unsafe. Safety comes with social coherence, people watching over each other. This has to do with local culture, behaviour, with economics (ability to work, go to school, entertain). Mono functional areas appear to be unsustainable, whether it concerns shopping malls, industrial areas or living space. The walkability of a town - schools, jobs, shops, entertainment, parks, sports and playgrounds on short distance - determines for a large part the sustainability.

Diversity is another principle that leads to developing a place where we like to live. Richard Florida, following Jane Jacobs' footsteps, argues that economic and social thriving cities are the places where minorities populate the streets. Mothers with children, gay people, artists, managers and construction workers, black, white, Asian and South American, all walking the same pavements blow good vibrations and dynamics through a city.

The locals help to renovate their own homes and neighbourhood, thus acquiring skills, getting to know one another and regaining contact with the own environment. Pride is another human characteristic that gets polished this way. Once proud of your neighbourhood, you take care of it in every sense of the word. So does participation. Apart from trying to get inhabitants to participate in the rehabilitation of their surroundings, new organisation structures concerning health have been implemented.

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bostjan, September 29th, 2017
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