The High Rise Slums of Venezuela

In the early 1990s, the 45-story Torre David office tower in Caracas, Venezuela, was near completion when its developer died and then the economy cratered. What happened next is the strange story of an abandoned tower and the squatters that moved in:

Torre David, about 90% finished at the time, was abandoned--as both a project and a property. Electrical infrastructure had not yet been installed. The lower stories were still missing finished flooring, sewage pipes, and paint. Large slabs of marble meant for a luxury hotel on the first six floors had been carted into the building but never installed.

Looters, not surprisingly, picked over the remains. Then came the families: More than 750 of them who moved in anyway over the years, occupying the skeletal office tower like a kind of vertical slum. The world’s resourceful poor have for years manufactured makeshift communities on the edges of mega-cities. But this was a notably different model, a one-time high-end high-rise turning the sprawling shantytown on its ear. After all, why should such a formidable structure, designed by Venezuelan architect Enrique Gómez, sit vacant? If a luxury hotel won’t move in, why can’t the poor?

Emily Badger of Fast Company has the story: Link


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