Gestión Social del Hábitat/ English
The Secretariat for Habitat & Inclusion (SECHI) works under a new paradigm for infrastructural and social interventions, one which considers the community as the protagonist in the physical and social transformation of its own habitat
Under this social management model, the Secretariat works to generate stronger relationships between the State and informal neighbourhoods, helping to empower local institutions and develop public spaces for collective participation and decision-making.
The Social Management of Habitat is based on three pillars: territorial presence, social urbanism and inclusion from the perspective of the habitat.
Permanent territorial presence and day-to-day contact with local residents helps to strengthen the State’s links with local communities, and allows for more consensual and sustainable urbanisation processes.
Social urbanism is the practice of investing in social infrastructure - public works whose potential social benefits to the community are as strong as their infrastructural or economic benefits - and so helping to instill a sense of pride and belonging to one’s habitat.
Inclusion from the perspective of the habitat
Generating the necessary conditions for individuals to understand and take advantage of their rights, opportunities and duties as citizens – whether from a legal, social or cultural perspective - is absolutely fundamental to the processes of integration.
Works are designed primarily to upgrade basic infrastructure, recover public spaces, and help to connect informal neighbourhoods with the rest of the City.
From the perspective of the habitat, and with a view also to promoting mobility, accessibility and safety, the Secretariat works in three key areas:
Provision of basic services
Works are undertaken to upgrade basic infrastructure, improve utilities and sanitation, demarcate private and public spaces, support land-title regularisation and – importantly - educate residents in proper usage and maintenance.
Urban acupunctures are small-scale physical interventions designed to help transform the larger urban context. Here, the Secretariat places a strong emphasis on the recovery of public spaces, often lacking in overcrowded informal neighbourhoods, but nonetheless important spaces for socialisation and recreation, and often a source of pride and identity for the community. Works are defined and designed together with local residents. Civic pacts are signed between the government and the local community to reaffirm their joint commitment to the works, which typically involve the recovery, refurbishment and equipping of children’s playgrounds, sports fields and parks, plazas, streets and passageways. The Secretariat’s Directorate-General for Habitat offers architectural and technical expertise to support the decision-making and implementation process.
Given the informal and unstructured growth of many of the neighbourhoods where we work, adequate mobility within the neighbourhood and connectivity with the rest of the City is often lacking. We therefore place a strong focus on constructing better public transport arteries and street access, street lighting and signage, protected bicycle lanes and green spaces. Each work is accompanied by community education and inclusion activities to encourage usage and maintenance.
Our inclusion programmes are designed to break down the barriers hindering access to equal opportunities and promote important values and life skills.
Together with civil society groups, and through consultation with local neighbours, the Secretariat’s Directorate-General for Inclusion coordinates umbrella programmes across all 7 UTIUs, taking full advantage of public spaces as areas for recreation, education and participation. This top-down/bottom-up model is designed to empower local institutions and communities, generating in the long-term more independent, sustainable social capital and well-being in the communities themselves.
Citizenship & Living Together
Our objective for this Programme is to transmit a proper understanding of individuals’ rights and obligations as citizens and as members of a community, with a view to encouraging greater participation and responsibility in decisions affecting the community, as well as a greater sense of one’s own economic and social potential. Our activities include running mentoring programmes for young entrepreneurs, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to develop their business ideas and holding local meetings to officially nominate and elect the names of public spaces.
The programme also helps strengthen channels of communication between the State and local residents.
Women & the Habitat
This programme has been developed to promote greater autonomy for women in informal neighbourhoods, strengthen the relationships between them, and help ensure that all our public works – from the design of a children’s playground, for example, to the installation of street lighting or public waste facilities – have a direct social benefit for local female residents. Our activities range from meetings to discuss, map out and respond to those aspects of everyday neighbourhood life which are most important for local women, to workshops on recycling and taking care of the environment, or on information for how to prevent domestic accidents.
Sports for Inclusion
It is well-recognised that sport, through its universality, transcends cultural, socio-economic and political barriers, and helps to transmit important life values, such as discipline, tolerance, respect, team-work and healthy lifestyles.
Our sports programmes are designed to give as many people as possible – particularly younger people - the opportunity to practice a range of sports, from tennis to taekwondo, and train and compete regularly as part of a team.
Together with the Under-Secretariat for Sport, we help bring professionals and sports celebrities to local neighbourhoods and we organise sporting events between different communities to encourage greater socialisation beyond the boundary of the neighbourhood.
Caring for Community Culture
Offering creative spaces for artistic expression and cultural appreciation, particularly in neighbourhoods with a diverse ethnic mix, is an important aspect of strengthening community diversity, cohesion and identity.
Focusing on making ample use of public spaces, and together with members of the community, local non-for-profit groups and professional artists and entertainers, we help organise street festivals, circuses and musical concerts, offer artistic workshops for youngsters, and – taking advantage of the rich tradition of street art in Buenos Aires - run projects with professional artists and teenagers to design and paint public murals in the neighbourhood.