Lagoons vs. Settlements

Lagoons vs. Settlements

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By By Eduardo Aguirre Madariaga *

The uncontrolled urban growth of the Great Resistance Metropolitan Area has produced, among many other negative consequences, the sustained anarchic advance in land use and, mainly, the indiscriminate occupation of the banks of the AMGR lagoons, with high water vulnerability for people, heritage and activities.

The uncontrolled urban growth of the Great Resistance Metropolitan Area has produced, among many other negative consequences, the sustained anarchic advance in land use and, mainly, the indiscriminate occupation of the banks of the AMGR lagoons, with high water vulnerability for people, heritage and activities. The majority of the occupants of these spaces are people expelled from the interior of the province in search of better job opportunities, with different degrees of seniority in the settlements.

This situation of increasing environmental deterioration is materialized by uncontrollable fillings of the edges for precarious housing settlements, with permanently unsanitary conditions and inexorably dependent, on the flooding of the water mirror that transforms them, in each emergency, into subjects of attention of all Provincial Bodies for their evacuation, shelter, food, security and health care. Paradoxically, water and electricity connections are verified (alternating between legal and illegal) that grant a certain "" official validation "to said settlements and favor the construction of masonry houses, as if marking a starting point for permanence. less worrying are the efforts of neighborhood groups to seek legislative support to consolidate such irregular settlements.

From the hydrological point of view, both the limitation of the reservoir capacity of the lagoon due to the occupation of edges and fillings, the obstruction of its natural interconnections, the increase in pollution by dumping of waste and the continuous dumping of pluvio-sewer drains. , determines an optimization point that is always variable and leads to the asphyxia of the resource as part of a collection and drainage system of storm drains from the different sectors and urban basins.

However, there is no doubt that the objective evaluation of the true scope of the possible actions to be carried out exceeds the specific framework of the intimation and / or fine for an illegal settlement or a garbage dump. The borderline socioeconomic situation of the occupants and their real incapacity of other options, forces the necessary comprehensive rethinking of the objectives, transferring the framework of the problem to higher levels of political decision, where all municipalities and provincial organizations converge to carry out complementary, transcendent actions and planned in a coordinated way in a process with continuity.

Plans could be made to eradicate inhabitants of flooded areas, towards lands with minimal infrastructure networks, with the necessary health and legality, making a dignified settlement for the relocated population compatible (integration into society) with the simultaneous recovery and revaluation of the system lake river.

Part of the project could be supported by different financial lines with national and international contributions to generate job opportunities such as the Trabajar plans (as apprentice workers in the execution of infrastructure networks) or the realization of houses by self-construction (with provision of materials by the State and labor of the incumbents, achieving the double effect of the work the training of the operator in a trade). Likewise, part of the inputs to be used in the homes can be carried out by workers with low training and few tools, as the seed of future work cooperatives for the execution of bricks, concrete blocks, roof structures, tiles, etc.

Due to their rural habits of origin, the return to the family garden could be encouraged with official support of advice and seeds.

Four levels of purposes can be identified:
Socio-economic: rescue of the riverside population, relocation in suitable areas with decent housing and services, reintegration into society, improvement of their living standards.
Hydraulic: maintain conditions as close to the natural regime, levels of channels and lagoons.

Ecological: maintain a balance close to the natural one of the plant and animal communities typical of the region.
Cultural: landscape use, preservation of natural life, recreational use.

For this, the orderly eradication of the occupants of the edge of lagoons must be specified in order to produce:

-A government action with strong social objectives of immediate and mediate results for residents, the city and the State.

-Integrating concentration of efforts of different bodies of the Provincial State and municipalities in pursuit of a single and multidisciplinary convening objective, providing the knowledge, equipment and specific credit lines of each sector.

-Investments with a future projection, replacing the permanent drain of funds without significant results for the State or for the intruders themselves.

-During water emergencies, definitive elimination of these human groups as a problem to be solved.

-For service provider organizations, it will represent the opportunity to eliminate a large number of clandestine connections with consequences not only economic but also security and quality of service.

-Economic reactivation in the construction materials and supplies market.

-Recovery of depressed building and urban areas and incorporation of the lagoons into the urban landscape, revaluing the natural and built heritage and the regulatory water role of the lake river system.

-Expansion of the surface of urban recreational areas in a city with deficits of recreational green spaces for public use.

-The social appropriation of these new spaces by the neighbors will generate an overcoming instance in the mentality of the citizens, transforming them into the direct caretakers of them.

-Real estate appreciation around the recovered lagoons.

-The change will act as a multiplying factor for the actions of the neighbors with remodeling of their own homes and renewal of their community concern for their environment.

-Improvement of living standards in social, health and education, eliminating areas of conflict in multiple aspects.

-The legal sanitation of a decent home and a property with minimal services will allow you to overcome the discriminating marginal condition of intruder.

-The organization of the neighbors for the relocation and execution of their own homes will strengthen future community works in the new settlement.

-The realization by self-construction, will train many people in a trade as an eventual immediate job opportunity.

-Organization of work teams that provide direct inputs for the works, generating incipient work cooperatives for the execution of bricks, blocks, tiles, carpentry, which with low initial investment, can create future sources of work.

The current reality does not support more patches or partial treatments, or political interventions with short-term party interests. Validating the settlements is a simplistic and / or self-serving solution that condemns the occupants to the "ghetto" and cuts off any recovery action.

* Eduardo Aguirre Madariaga

Video: Seaford Town - German Settlement in Jamaica Jamaican History 1990s Documentary (May 2022).


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