Theses Master's

Preservation Of Evolving Neighborhoods: La Fragua And Sidauto As Case Studies

Martinez, Daniela

During the second half of the 20th century, the public agency Instituto de Crédito Territorial (ICT) built a series of directed self-built neighborhoods as part of the government's response to the housing deficit for lower-income people in Colombia. After experimenting with this system to build a neighborhood called La Fragua in Bogota in the 1950s, designed and closely supervised by the modernist architect German Samper, it became a state housing policy. During the following decades, many more neighborhoods were built similarly, including Sidauto, which was designed by the same architect in Bogota in the late 1960s. This program was known as 'Ayuda Mutua y Esfuerzo Propio,' or Mutual Aid and Self-Help, and simultaneously developed throughout Latin America.

In my thesis, I challenge the current preservation policy canons, particularly in Colombia, where Preservation Policy has focused on canonical referents that undermine local, vernacular practices and dismiss cultural dynamics typical of underrepresented communities. This is especially true for continuously evolving neighborhoods. For that purpose, I used La Fragua and Sidauto as case studies since they have suffered dramatic transformations in their historic fabric and are a perfect example of significance lying not only in the original fabric but also in the alterations made by their residents as an expression of their social, cultural, and economic needs.

Additionally, their architect conceived them as progressive developments in which residents could have the opportunity to upgrade their houses step-by-step. Thus, both neighborhoods were designed to change. In my research, I analyze La Fragua and Sidauto as products of their historical, political, economic, and social backgrounds and determine how and why they have changed. This analysis allowed me to explore preservation strategies to implement at these sites where constant change occurs so that their communities benefit from preserving the neighborhoods' heritage values without disrupting the flexibility and dynamism that make these places alive.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Barros, Debora M.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
May 29, 2024