“Las Américas” Social Housing | The Plan
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“Las Américas” Social Housing

A Prototype for Better Housing and Living

SO - IL

The last two decades have seen Mexico undergo major urbanization, with around 20 million people flocking to urban centers from rural areas in search of a better life. Many of them have crowded into informal, self-built settlements outside major cities. Partnered by private investors, the Mexican government allocated vast stretches of land on which to settle the newcomers in make-shift 
single-family houses. But removed from any economic center, the schemes failed miserably, providing poor quality housing and neglecting to complete a network of public services, a policy that has proved extremely expensive in environmental and social terms, and deleterious in terms of housing conditions.
Developed by SO – IL together with the city authorities, León’s “Las Américas” project is a vertical housing prototype aiming to curtail unchecked sprawl and be a catalyst for urban regeneration and improved quality of life in low-income communities. The drivers behind the project were the IMUVI, Instituto Municipal de Vivienda (municipal institute for housing policies) and the city of León in a bid to attract people to the city but avoid uncontrolled occupation of the land by encouraging a denser, more sustainable urban model. The aim is not only to bring order to informal settlements, but also and above all to ensure a more widespread and efficient network of urban services, from street cleaning and waste management through to neighborhood schools. 
The New York-based architecture firm SO – IL was initially brought in for a workshop to encourage IMUVI, the mayor, local institutions and different stakeholders to rethink city housing patterns and develop an affordable urban model that would induce local inhabitants to view vertical housing as just as attractive as detached single-family residences. This brainstorming session led to SO – IL being awarded the first project in close collaboration...

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