By Raúl Díaz
The UNESCO-ITESO Chair (UICH) was founded in 1998 at the Universidad ITESO, in Guadalajara, Mexico. One of its main objectives is to put in practice alternative forms of urban development as opposed to functionalist and pragmatic schemes. For over 18th years, UICH has worked with dozens of communities living on poverty and marginality to overcome their living conditions and to empower their own initiatives.
One of the recent experiences is the construction of a community center that shelters 220 head of household that gather every Thursday to receive and share a human formation from the hand of the Voluntariado Estamos Contigo AC and El Padre Renato. With a very limited budget, the community has achieved the construction of terraces for multiple purposes using bottles of PET as the basic material of a construction system.
Using this alternative logic, the community have saved money, strengthen their sense of community and pride, and learned a social production of housing that can be achieved as an organized community. Although the master plan of the project is far to be completed, the main goal rests on the empowerment of the community as an end and their capacity to overcome their difficulties in solidarity. Under a convoluted situation of urban violence and degradation in Mexico, this community action maintains the hope and dignity that a future can be different for them and their children.