1906 - 2006 The Big Leap
When the law for creating the Councils of Work Housing (early department of housing in Chile) was enacted on february 20th 1906, no one imagined that exactly one century later in Chile there was going to be a Department of Housing and Urban Development capable of subsidizing and deliver almost two million housing units in just 15 years, as it happened between the years 1990 and 2006, and that during that period, housing shortage was reduced in half, due to the fact that 8 out of 10 social housing units received government financial assistance.
Back then, government initiatives regarding the housing issue were just beginning to come into view, through these councils that operated in the country’s main cities and which purpose was to build, improve and regularize the popular1 housing. The initiative (valid until 1925) caused sensitivity in the public opinion regarding the housing problem, provided the first housing statistics and backgrounds, which would be the base for future laws enactment.
Cité or conventillo
1920 The first Regulation Plan for Santiago
Aware of the importance of addressing the needs of the poorest sectors in the construction field, the Pan-American Congresses of Architecture and Urban Planning of the 1920s had a huge influence in Chile. With this in mind, the main problems generated by the urban growth of the Latin-American cities and the urgency for resolving them was pointed out. So the Chilean government hired Austrian urban planner Karl Brünner, who formulated the bases for the first Regulating Plan to project the urbane Santiago.
1925 Demand Raises
This year the new constitution is enacted. Santiago has a population of about 600.000 people and the building of the field-like sites around the urban areas is incited and the rebuilding of housing units demolished for being unhealthy. 29 new poblaciones4 are built in Santiago and 14 in other provinces, but that’s not enough to satisfy a daily growing demand.
1929 Cities and Future
The Talca earthquake in 1928 forces the enactment of the law 4,563, which stipulates that every city with a population over 20,000 must develop a General Transformation Plan5. The authorities hire the architect Karl Brünner again, who performs as Urban Adviser of the Chilean Government6. They ask him to develop a town project with a renewed vision, looking into the future and having in mind what it could become.
1931 - 1935 General Law of Urban Development and Construction
The migrating process from rural to urban areas produces a serious problem on most cities. To deal with this, the Central Board of Popular Housing8 is created and the first version of the General Law of Urban Development and Construction9 is enacted, which seeks to manage the urban planning. In 1935 the Popular Housing Fund10 is created, which grants loans to a 27 years term, putting down the mortgaged housing as a guarantee.
1939 Santiago's Urbanization Plan
The Oficial urbanization plan of the commune of Santiago11 is approved, to regulate the building in heights, optimize the use of terrain and allowed sub-divisions, classify the industrial zone and develop an administration of highways and parks Plan. The Chilean Economic Development Agency (in Spanish CORFO: Corporación de Fomento de la Producción) is created, which boosts the manufacturing industry and stops giving explosive characteristics to the process of urban development.
1941 Loans for Popular Housing Units
The law 6,640 authorizes the President of the Republic to acquire bank loans destined to build popular housing units. With these loans, 6,000 housing units were built. In 1943 the Popular Housing Fund is restructured, which continues building housings with their own funds, but jointly expands and grants a series of tax franchises to the so-called economic housing, which incites real estate enterprises.
1952 Metropolis, Intercomuna and Regions
The modifications to The General Law of Urban Planning and Construction begin being studied by the end of 1951 and by beginnings of 1952, concepts like metropolis, intercomuna (interaction between communes), micro region and region are added to it. In 1948 the Pereira Law13 was enacted which stimulates the housing construction, although it basically aims to fix the middle class problem, before the one of the more popular sectors.
1953 Long-Term Plans
The Housing Corporation14 is born and the first long-term plans to solve the housing problems are formulated, from a centralized and planned perspective. The Chilean State Bank15 is created and the text for the Law of Urban Planning and Construction is settled on.
1957 - 1959 The Access to the Urban Land
In 1957 the conflicts for getting into the urban land begin. The huge demographic growth of Santiago triggers a lack of housing units and services. The general disorganization of the city has important consequences for the housing units’ production systems and the general arrangement of the cities. Towards the end of the 1950s measures are taken to more decisively incite the real estate enterprises. A long list of franchises that intend to promote the action of the privates and motivate the building of housing units for both the poorest groups and the richer stratus is established.
1965 The MINVU (Department of Housing and Urban Planning) Appears
Towards beginnings of the 1960s there are at least 28 institutions depending on 8 departments that intervene in matters of housing, urbanization and equipment. To deal with this situation the Department of Housing and Urban Planning (MINVU) is created, which together with the Housing Corporation (CORVI) and the Housing Services Corporation (CORHABIT)17, it’s integrated by the Urban Improvement Corporation (CORMU)18, an enterprise independent from the state, one of its main functions is to improve and renew the deteriorated areas of the cities, throughout rehabilitation and urban development programs.
The first inter commune regulating plan of Santiago is approved, which adjusts the city growth, protecting the farming areas and
ecology. An area for building industrial suburbs and a suburban area is established. The basic network of transportation and regional, inter communal and communal highway management are defined. The park areas systems, the creation of civic and commercial multi centers and the protection of land reserves for great metropolitan equipment are regulated.
Población Corvi, Houses San Borja Remodelation
1965 - 1970 In search of a better Quality of Life
The government of Eduardo Frei Montalva sets to decrease de housing shortage, which is considered from a global perspective, integrating it into a neighborhood and considering it as a reflection of a way of life. So, the housing programs of a more popular aspect include schools, medical centers and sport fields, among others. It is considered that the solution to the housing problem requires the participation of the families that benefit from them.
Población CORMU, 1972
1971 Housing Improvement
One of the main objectives of the government of Salvador Allende towards the housing policy is to build and repair the housing units in poor shape and to improve the urban conditions of the poorest sector. The regimentation of both the application and the housing assignments regime is modified, throughout the Popular Savings Plan
1973 - 1975 Lands Free-Market
At the end of 1973 the MINVU is reorganized, its independent services: CORVI, CORHABIT, CORMU, COU, the Savings and Loans Fund21 and the water utilities from Santiago and El Canelo. The first Urban Development Policy for Santiago is approved, which eliminates the urban expansion limits, the city development and its infrastructure, giving way to the free market of lands.
1976 The Seremi and the Serviu are created
The MINVU is restructured and regionalized, territorial decentralization is achieved through a Metropolitan Ministerial Secretariat23. The Regional Ministerial Secretariat and the departments of Urban Development are created in all the regions of the country. Merging of the four corporations occurs: CORHABIT, CORMU, CORVI and COU, establishing a housing and urban planning regional service (SERVIU), in the metropolitan area and throughout the country. A new General Law of Urban Planning and Construction Law is enacted.
1979 National Policy of Urban Development
The National Policy of Urban Development (In Spanish PNDU) is approved; it seeks to harmonize the sectorial lineaments with the global policy of economic and social organization, denominated “Market Social Economy”. This policy assures that:
The urban land is not a scarce resource.
It is necessary to apply flexible planning systems, with a minimum state intervention.
Procedures must be defined and restrictions eliminated to allow the natural growth of the urban areas, following market tendencies.
The inter communal plan of Santiago is modified.
1981 Basic Hosing Umits Program
In 1981 the MINVU makes important changes in its programs, by expanding the regulation of the recently created Variable Housing Subsidy25. This measure originates the Basic Housing Unit Program, contemplating a system of variable subsidies and considering the basic housing unit as the first step towards a social housing unit.
1982 Economic Housing Units and Sanitary Units
The city councils are empowered to build economic housing units and sanitary stalls, which must have a built surface of 18 mt2 (193.75 ft2) at a cost of under $4,046,680 Chilean pesos (US$7,500). The sanitary unit must have a minimum surface of 6 mt2 (64.58 ft2) (bathroom and kitchen) and a maximum cost of $2,023,340 Chilean pesos (US$3,750).
1984 New Application System
The MINVU makes modifications to the basic housing unit system, to expand its coverage to segments that were left out of the program, such as the “permanent guests”. Until 1983, the housing units were assigned to people that lived in peripheral poblaciones and camps that could be identified on the MINVU and city councils maps. The SERVIU open in this period a new system of permanent application which consults the CAS26 files. Also, it incorporates the savings and the number of family loads. The basic housing units that are assigned through this system can opt for a subsidy worth 75% of the value of such housing unit, without surpassing $3,310,740 Chilean pesos (US$6,150). In 1985 the number of applicants registered reached 170,000 families.
1985 Urban Development Policy gets “adjusted”
The DS 31 is enacted and it reads:
The urban land is a scarce resource.
The property rights can have restrictions functioning in favor of the common good.
The free initiative and the market must uphold to the state planning.
It is necessary to promote the extensive use of the land of consolidated areas, in order to avoid extensive growth.
1987 Special Programs
Upon the base of studies financed by a loan from the World Bank, the government redefines and simplifies its programs, in order to improve the focalization of the housing subsidies in the needier población.
1990 - 1994 Important changes in Financing
During this period improvements and changes are made to extend the access network to the housing programs, decentralization deepens to assign the housing resources and changes in the financial system are introduced. The government initiates a national survey as to developing a new Urban Policy. The new Metropolitan Regulating Plan of Santiago27 is approved.
1997 Conditioned Development
The PRMS is modified, introducing the so-called Zones that can be Urbanized with Conditioned Development28. The committee of Urban Development and Territorial Arrangement Secretaries is created, integrated by the secretaries of housing and urban development, public works, national assets, agriculture, transport and telecommunications. The MINVUS’ Direction of Urban Projects29 is created.
1990 - 2000 Innovations and Perfection
The Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle administration is characterized by the massive state action, the biggest urban insertion of the housing programs and the diversifications of the alternatives of housing funding. This period highlights the innovations and perfection of the network of secretarial programs.
2000 Reflection on the Chilean Cities
The National Committee for Urban Reform30 is created, which initiates a reflection and change process in the Chilean cities. The Bicentennial Committee is created. Looking upon the year 2010, there are four regional capitals that are to be “rethinked”: Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Santiago and Concepción. The DS 75 is enacted, New General Ordinance of Urbanism and Constructions. The DS 245 is approved which regulates the Contest Program of Public Space Works (Programa Concursable de Obras de Espacios Públicos), to be done in neighbourhoods with a patrimonial character, located in consolidated urban sectors, which rehabilitation or recovery becomes necessary for being in an evident state of deterioration or abandonment.
2003 Shared Urban Funding
The law 19,865 on Shared Urban Funding is enacted, through this the SERVIU and city councils will be able to celebrate contracts of participation with a third party, destined to the acquisition of assets or the enforcement and maintenance of urban works, in exchange of a compensation. The Committee of City and Territory Secretaries is created, within the realm of the process of reform and modernization of the state. The Bicentennial’s Secretaries Committee is created.
2004 - 2005 Equal Oportunity
The search of equal opportunities is emphasized and the action is concentrated on the more vulnerable groups, with the purpose of satisfying their basic compatible needs with more dignity. It is the job of MINVU to provide the construction of a solidary and equitable city, capable of taking all of the families that inhabit it. In this direction the housing programs, urban highway managent, participative paving, community equipment and urban parks are framed, as well as the formulation of rules and instruments of planning destined to reach a harmonic living.
2006 The new Housing Policy
The new housing policy MINVU began to apply this year aims to accomplish substantial advances until 2010. It is an improvement policy on quality and social integration, which will allow drastically reducing the housing shortage of the poorest 20% of the population, increasing the surface of the social housing units and assuring their quality. Similarly, throw back the social segregation in the city, improving the house and existing neighbourhoods stock, and keep helping the middle sectors that need the support of the state to acquire their own residence.
OVER 200,000 SUBSIDIES
Through the new legislation 223,000 subsidies will be awarded during the current government, throughout the Solidary Housing Fund and Rural Subsidies Programs, assuring the quality of the social housing units by increasing their surfaces, improving their standards, and the design and construction processes. With this in mind, MINVU wants to assure that they have a minimum of 2 bedrooms, expandable to four. To accomplish this, the amount of the subsidy was increased in about $917,000 (US$1700).
THE CONSTRUCTION QUALITY IMPROVES
On the matter of quality for the poorest families, the ministerial commitment is to effectuate a rigorous evaluation of the projects: a Quality Assurance Program and the regulating of the organizing entities will accompany the beneficiaries on the concretion of their housing projects.
SOLIDARY HOUSING FUND II
Similarly, a new subsidy is created thinking about the families that do not qualify under the poverty line, but due to their economic fragility or labour instability have difficulties obtaining a mortgage credit. The “Solidary Housing Fund II” will allow them to obtain a debt-free house, awarding them a subsidy of $5,500,000 (US$10,000), with a save of minimum $550,000 (US$1,000).
With the start of the new Housing Policy a new subsidy is also created differentiated to the location, which assures that the social housing units are not built exclusively in the periphery of the cities, generating social segregation and poverty concentration. The subsidy allows habilitating “cheap” well-located terrains, but that require land improvement.
To merit this subsidy, the terrains must comply with certain conditions, such as being inside an urban area, in consolidated sectors, with access to educational establishments (kindergarten and elementary), primary health care centres, transport and a public road.
PROJECTS WITH MINIMUM STANDARDS
Similarly, the project must comply with minimum standards, such as not having more than 150 housing units, that al least 60% of the beneficiaries belong to that commune and provide enough CAS score. This subsidy will favour the settlement of the families in their commune of origin and will reward well-localized, in urbanized sectors and with various services social housing projects, with this, the exploitation of health networks, education and transport is maximized.
RECOVERY OF THE FAMILY ESTATE
Recovering the family estate, stopping the deterioration of the housing units and their surroundings in a participative scheme, is another emphasis of the new Housing Policy. This objective will be achieved throughout the recovery of vulnerable and patrimonial neighbourhoods, repairs, developments and improvements of social housing units. 100,000 subsidies for the improvement of housing units and their surroundings will be awarded between 2007 and 2010.
RECOVERY PROGRAM FOR 200 NEIGHBOURHOODS
In addition to everything that has been mentioned, the program that is recovering the 200 most deteriorated and socially depressed neighbourhoods in the country is added, which starts to be applied on july 2006. The programs of Participative Paving, Public spaces and social condominiums improvement will operate in the same direction. Meanwhile the families with medium income will count with a total of 174,000 solutions in the 2007 -2010 period. That will be possible through the Housing Leasing and the Housing Subsidy System (DS 40), which include the Urban Renovation Subsidy or territorial interest and the Patrimonial Rehabilitation Subsidy.
In the quest for the reconstruction of the social networks, since the 1990s the department has favoured the families’ organization, through committees, to secure their housing units. This form of organization also allows improving the relationship with the people who participate in the intervention of the solution of a good social housing unit.
Chalaco, V Region Quinta Monroy, I Region Villa Fresia, XII Region