Deliberative Democracy and Transforming Urban Policy Design in Buenos Aires

Date: 

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 4:15pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Floor 2, Suite 200N

JUMP TO AUDIO RECORDING AND TRANSCRIPTION 

Event Description

In recent years, Buenos Aires City Government has set out to become a more inclusive and sustainable city, with a priority of serving the city's most vulnerable populations. The Housing Authority of the City of Buenos Aires has designed an innovative Socio-Urban Integration Plan which makes focus in the process by seeking to involve the relevant actors in the decision making of the slum upgrading intervention.

There are many examples in the global experience in slum upgrading. Unlike these experiences, the particularity of the Buenos Aires City program is that it starts from the premise that the community will design and implement the plan. In practical terms, this means that instead of a top-down approach to design and implementation of the public policy, the government's action concentrates on building local capacity so that neighbors are able to engage actively in a dialogue with the government and other stakeholders to further common goals, and ultimately, have the opportunity to influence the actions that shape their lives.

This process started three years ago, and today more than 120,000 households are benefiting from this program. Important results not only include the improved access to essential infrastructure, housing, social services and loans for repayments of the housing, it also shows that when mechanisms of participation are well designed, deliberative democracy can be massive, profound and effective.

Join Juan Ignacio Maquieyra MPP 2014, President of the Housing Authority of the City of Buenos Aires, in discussion. Candelaria Garay, Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Democracy, HKS, will moderate. 

Refreshments will be served. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Joint Center for Housing Studies. 

Event Audio Recording and Transcription

Transcript

Presenter:

You're listening to AshCast, the podcast of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.

Candelaria Garay:

We believe that there's no way you can develop a slum upgrading program, if you don't involve the people of the community in the process of that transformation, you're going to have a lot of trouble.

Presenter:

On Thursday, November 7th, the Ash Center hosted a session with Juan Ignacio Maquieyra, Masters in Public Policy at the Kennedy School, graduated in 2014, President of the Housing Authority of the city of Buenos Aires. Candelaria Garay, Ford Foundation, associate professor of democracy, moderator.

Candelaria Garay:

Thank you for coming here today. It is an honor for me to introduce our speaker, Juan Ignacio Maquieyra. Juan is an alumnus of the Kennedy School who graduated from the MPP program in 2014. Since 2016, Juan has presided the housing authority of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has led a major slum upgrading initiative. Through democratic deliberation, this program involves slum residents in the design and implementation of upgrading interventions. This process of deliberation is broad, deep and highly innovative. I just want to note that inadequate housing is one of the most urgent social problems in Latin America and in the developing world, more generally. According to the United Nations Habitat, 29% of the population in developing countries and 24% in Latin America, live in slum conditions.

Candelaria Garay:

Slums are defined as a contour settlement that lacks one or more of the following five conditions. Access to clean water, access to improved sanitation, sufficient living area that is not overcrowded, secure tenure and durable housing. The policy initiative that Juan will present today makes an important contribution to our thinking of how to tackle this past and urgent problem. Therefore, it is an honor for us to have him here today. Before we start, I want to thank the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University for co-sponsoring the event. And I would like to let you know that this discussion is being audio recorded and photographed for educational purposes. Thank you, Juan.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Good afternoon, thank you for being here. Thanks to the Ash Center today too for the invitation. It's an honor to be here sharing some ideas on some of the work that we've been doing at the housing Institute in Buenos Aires. I will discuss briefly some of the insights on what we've done and the vision that we have regarding housing, but I will go with a little bit of more detail into how we're doing that because I think what we can share with you that it's going to be interesting and that it's I think, something pretty good that we've been doing, has to do with how we approach these processes, and it has to do with a deep vocation to establish processes that are participatory in different levels.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So in Buenos Aires, we have around 250,000 people living in slums, in different slums throughout the city. We are working in eight of those slums nowadays, and we're having an impact on around a little bit over 100,000 people. It's almost 40% of the people that are in slums, the ones that we are working with. It's probably one of the most ambitious programs in Latin America in terms of scale and also in terms of investment. Like I said, what I want to share with you is what we're doing in terms of how we are approaching these processes.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

In terms of what we are doing, we are working with three dimensions. We're working first of all, with the house itself, trying to promote housing integration, that means that every family has access to an adequate house, and that has three sub-dimension, having to do with the housing solutions, with the formal access to public services, and also with security in tenure, which is a huge thing in terms of slum upgrading in both for houses that you are going to improve and for houses that you construct. And when you move people there, it's very, very important to work for security of tenure.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

But if you have an adequate house, but you live on a neighborhood that is completely disconnected from the city, there's no way you can be a citizen in the full sense of the word, that you're actually integrated to the city of Buenos Aires. So you have to have an adequate house, but you have to live in a neighborhood that is actually integrated to the city. That's why we're working with the dimension of urban integration and we work with mobility, also with public space in general and also with general infrastructure. We try that every neighborhood where we are working in, it's integrated to the city, and we also try that the city integrates to the neighborhood.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

That's why, for example, we build different markets in the different neighborhoods, promoting the rest of the city to come to these markets. In one of the neighborhoods, we have the river next to the neighborhood, so we are building a viewpoint for the river and also for the rest of the city to come. There's a lot of running happening near these neighborhoods that we're creating running lanes so people can actually enter the neighborhoods once we finish with the social integration program. And finally, if you're a neighbor from one of these places, and you have an adequate house, and you have a neighborhood that is actually integrated to rest of the city, but if you don't have access to health, to education, and to a proper job, then probably you are going to be disconnected to the rest of the city anyway, and you're going to be disintegrated too.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So that's why we are working with social economic integration. All of the interventions that we have involved, building either schools or kindergartens is that what is needed on the slum, also health centers. And for each of these sub-dimensions that we have, we have different lines of work and different indicators. We are working with a matrix that I will show you at the end of the presentation, where we start measuring every one of these aspects. So once we finish the process, or once we're going on with the process that, let's say two years from now, we can see if we have advanced, or if we haven't and we can give the people the possibility to actually evaluate if we've been up to the task or not because they're going to be able to evaluate what we've been doing.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Like I said, the whole idea of today's presentation is not completely related to what we do, but it's related to how we do. And you can see in the middle of the slide, this thing about participation. We believe that there's no way you can develop a slum upgrading program, and I would say that any policy in general, but I'm going to focus on what I know and I'm going to focus on some upgrading, if you don't involve the people of the community that you're going to transformate, in the process of that transformation, you're going to have a lot of trouble. And what we believe is that you not only have to involve these people, and you don't have to think of the neighbors as the object or the objectics of the public policy, you have to think of them as the subject and not only in the implementation, but also in the design of the public policy.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So what we are doing is a process where we start by arriving to the neighborhood, let's say, I'm going to explain the case of Villa [Veinte 00:07:41], we got there three years ago. It's a slum that has over 30,000 people living there. So it's more than 9,000 families, 4,500 houses. That's why we have a huge problem with generally two families live in one house. So we got there three years ago, and we started to work with the leaders of the community. We started a diagnosis of the social and the political aspects of the slum. And we created a round-table where we invited pretty much everyone who had some kind of legitimacy in terms of representing the neighbors. Some of the people who came had been elected at some time, so they had a legitimacy given by the vote. Some of them, where in Argentina were called [inaudible 00:08:30], people who were like the intermediary between politics and the people. They were bad scene generally. We even had a lot of judgment on either to put them on table or not. We did, I believe it was a great decision, I would say later about that.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Let's say you have them, the slum, the minister of housing, generally you had some guy living on the slum, organized some of the people and then he went and he negotiated with the minister, and he said, "Okay, give me a contract to clean the slum." And the minister would say, "Okay, it's going to be 100,000 pesos." Generally the guy... those 100 didn't went entirely to the neighborhood, he had some of them and then he took those people to vote for the guy who the minister said. These are the [inaudible 00:09:15] explain very, very briefly. They had various experts but on the other hand, they were giving lots of fears for the people in the slum. There were the only guys who solved some problem. Nobody else would listen, only these guys, so we put them on a table too. We already included on the table, people who are working with the political parties that were against the government and it was a little bit polemic within the government, but it was absolutely necessary. There was a lot of people who are very, very legitimate in the neighborhood, who were organizing people against the government, we already included them on the round table.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So with that round table, we designed and we agreed with them to a census. So a census was basically, go into each one of the house, knock on the door, who's living here and taking some data from them. And we not only did a census, but we also did what we call [Foreign language 00:10:05]. It's a deeper census where we ask things related to the socio economic status of the family, but also we draw the floor plan of the house where they are living. So we take all this information, we do this with the round table, I mean, with the people on the round table. We go to every house with them, we work along, we establish an office of the housing Institute in the slum, and we all let information, we started to work on a reorganization law. Not a law that I prepared from my desk, but a law that we discussed article by article with the people in the round table.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

This was kind of the true beginning of the participatory process. They were not kind of beautiful meetings, where everyone is sitting and hearing and very happy. They were very conflictive and we had lots of disagreements, but we ended up having a very, very good reorganization law that included two things. On the one hand, a first approach to the master plan of what the slum is going to look like once it's upgraded, because we were going to build new houses very, very close, actually next to the slum, but we also were going to open streets to generate space within the blocks for ventilation, a light to be able to enter to all the houses. Therefore, we were going to have to demolish lots of houses. And we are we're also needing to pass bylaw, the new urban regulations regarding the entire place.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

But the other thing that we did and I think this is also pretty interesting and at least in terms of Argentina's political and judiciary system, it's very innovative, is that we established bylaw that the organs or the organ that is going to take decisions regarding what happens with the slum upgrading program in that slum, is going to be the round table that we created in the first place. So basically what I said as President of Housing Authorities is, "I'm not going to be able to take decisions regarding what's going to happen in your neighborhood, unless I passed that decisions before to the round table and to the discussions that we will be having." And we established a method for that. And nowadays, if you want to take a decision in [inaudible 00:12:18], you have to do it with the round table and with the representative of the neighborhood.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

I believe it's a way of giving the power back to the people because actually, after that law, I had a little bit less power than I had before that law and I could do less stuff, at least in what you could see at first time. If you consider deeper components of what we are doing, that's not the case and we are actually having more power, the sense of the good power, the power that allows to transform the entire neighborhood.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Once we had that law, we started with another process. In this project, we had different devices of participation. One of the devices is the table that I just told you about. There's another device called the technic table, where the people actually selected some architects and some urban planners and some universities that they wanted to represent them and we put the architects of the government. And that works on the more technical aspects of, for example, the projects for the new housing units that we were going to build. There's another participatory device, I believe, the most powerful one that has to do with the blocks workshops, but remember, we are saying that we're going to open streets and we're going to generate space in the middle of the blocks. But we have to do that with the people and we have to decide with them where we're going to do that.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And once you get to that level, let's say you are a block in Villa Veinte and we have to open a street, here is a passage where we have to open it like this, and the street to go like this, and this guy, this guy, this guy, her house and her house are going to be demolished or maybe the street could go a little bit to the right. So he and he are not going to have their house in the Villa anymore, and their houses to stay because we allowed for that margin to be able to happen in the discussion. So we summon the entire block, that's, let's say, 300 neighbors from that block, 300 families, at least we have to have 150. We don't start a meeting if we don't have more than half of the people of the slum of the block.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So we have 150. The first thing we do is we show them this, we show them their block, and we tell them, "This is your block, you have this passage is very small, all the houses that you see in red are the houses that have a huge problem. So maybe we should demolish them, but we are going to discuss that with you." And we give each one of them the Floor Plan of their own house because we already measured that, as you remember on the right. That's week one.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Week two, we put that plan on the table and we give them little pieces of papers that are the houses that you have there, and they start to put in and out different houses that we could put out in order to open the streets, and to generate the space within the blocks, in order to be able to actually demolish that and generate a block that is sustainable. We worked for the entire day with them, or at least three or four hours, depending on the group, you could do it in two hours, you could do like four or five.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Week three we take that work, the architects of the Housing Authority work with that and they present three options for street openings, and three options for spaces that we're going to free, that is houses we're going to demolish within the block. We explain all of them. It's a long meeting. It's not just, we present this and we say, "Okay, you're going to vote." We explain who has to move in each one of the options, what are the benefits of one of the options, what are the costs, what are the benefits of other options, and on week four, they actually vote.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And because in week five, in week one, in the first meeting, they voted the rules that we're going to actually define how we work throughout the workshop. Once they vote, they already agreed that if that involves more than half of the community of the block, and more than 60, or 70%, it depends in different workshops, we had different thresholds of the people involved, whose houses are going to be demolished, then that vote passes and we have what you see here, that is the design of the new block that has all these spaces within, that has this passage a little bit broader, and they are open, for example, more space here. And we have the sign of all these people that they agree on that because what we're going to do next is we're going to come and we're going to demolish all of these houses, some of these houses, and some of the houses that are below there, so we can actually open the streets, open the passages and create the space in the center.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

30 or 40 years ago, when you heard in a slum, the noise of [inaudible 00:17:08] and, I don't know the word in English, but the [Foreign language 00:17:11], those are coming. It was generally because the military was actually eradicating the slum and people were very worried if they weren't in the house that winter were demolishing. Nowadays, we've already demolished in here, more than 500 houses, and we've had zero problem. Of course, everyone who has a house that is going to be demolished, has the option to move to one of the houses that we build next to the slum.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

We don't take anybody out of their house without giving them a solution. They can have actually three solutions, either a new house, either we offer them a loan, or something that was pretty innovative too, we give them the option to triangle. Let's say you had a guy living here, and you had to move because everyone on your block agreed on that but you don't want to move out of the neighborhood. For example, with the option of this guy here, okay, "Do you want to move to the new houses?" And he says, "Okay, yeah. I want to move." "Okay, then your house is going to go to this guy." Then, no.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Three options. One is a new housing units, another one is a loan to move to wherever he wants and a third one is the possibility to do this triangulation that I just, a loan. Yeah. A loan but then he has to pay. Yeah, yeah. And when he moves to the new units, also he has to pay. And we've been having very good news so far in terms of payment of the houses, of course, they're very, very, very subsidized, and nobody has to pay more than 20% of what they earn at the time, but we're having good results in terms of that. Even with the economic crisis that we're having in Argentina right now.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So like I said, we have the mass abandon the blocks and then we start moving the families to the new houses and then we start opening the streets. This is some of the numbers that we've had. We're working with a new school here in New York to actually measure what we're doing. The natives I told you about at the beginning. We're working it with them. But we're also measuring the quality of the participatory process. We've had these kind of numbers from the last job that I did. We're very happy with this. It's not that we don't have trouble, I'm going to share at the end of the presentation some of the challenges that we face, but in terms of the quality of the process, and the ownership that the people see either of the new houses or of the blocks that they are living in. It's been so far, very, very good and very encouraging for us.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

This is a picture of Villa Veinte, for example, these are the houses that we built. This is the slum. Some of the streets that we are opening are going to go here, here and here. All of the buildings that you see here, people have already moved. This building also people have already moved. If there are some architects or urban planner in the room, I don't like what we did here. You can see all this homogeneous buildings. When we arrived as the Housing Authority, that was already under construction so we didn't stop that. But we are pushing an agenda where we build with different designs and heterogenous buildings, not to generate the idea that every building is the same, every family is the same, and creating something that it's pretty much contra natura, in terms of what the people expect of their house.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

This is the plan of Villa Veinte as it was, and what you see here, I believe it's the first, completely designed by neighbors, neighborhood in Latin America. There's 30,000 people living here. Around half of them participated in the meetings that I was just telling you about. We're actually going above half in a few weeks. So all the streets that you see opened, all the little green spaces that we've generated in the middle are the new patios, all the common space where you have a school, a kindergartner, a Health Center, a market here, all of that. And even the design of the new buildings was discussed in the meetings that I just told you about and was passed with a consensus from the neighbors from Villa Veinte.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

We have a plan like this for the 30 blocks of the neighborhood. With the 30 of these, you get what you have up there on the right. This is for example, the opening of Coghlan street. If you went to Coghlan three weeks ago, you could see this. The last three weeks we've finished the demolishing of the houses that were in there. Of course that's not going to stay like that, we're working with the infrastructure for the entire neighborhood too. You're going to see below the earth, where we are going to work with the slum, with sewage water, ground and [Foreign language 00:21:53], raining in order for the slum not to ground. And of course, public space and everything.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

But again, this is not something that you saw in Buenos Aires, not 10 years ago, not 20 years ago. Each time you wanted to open a street, it used to be a huge mess. We had to demolish lots of houses to open that street. This is that built from the air where you see... This is Coghlan the one that I just showed you. This was all houses, actually, you can see two houses that are in the picture here or not and here they were. There's another street we already opened.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

This is another place we're working. This is Fraga. These are the buildings that we built. We're already moving people there. We're going to open this street. So it's going to involve demolishing all this part. All these houses are also going to go because we're going to build a square here. It's going to be one of the most beautiful parks I believe in that zone of Buenos Aires. We're going to open another street like this. That's the neighborhood as it is now. This is the slum it's a smaller slum. Here we have 1000 families, 3000 people. It's exactly in the middle of the city, so it's going to be a huge modern transformation for Buenos Aires. This is what it's going to look like. The park over here, this street opens, this street opens and Fraga is going to be a huge opening in the middle of the neighborhoods. So we have a lot of public space that we're going to generate. Then we're going to move the people to the buildings that you see here.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And finally, Rodrigo Bueno, it's a slum that it's very symbolic because it's next to the richest neighborhood in Argentina. The big buildings that you can see there it's Puerto Madero. Here you have the people that actually built those building with most of the community that is established here, or the workers or[inaudible 00:23:41].

Speaker 2:

Hello?

Candelaria Garay:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

This is very impressive, but have an interesting question here. The 7% kind of intrigue me. Why they didn't know because supposedly these people a part of the management one table are supposed to conform them. So I'm wondering first why they don't know. The second question is I've seen presentations like that about cities in America, where the problem is, they design things and then they don't take into account the input of the people, which is what they should have been doing at first, and which is what you're doing.

Speaker 2:

But then in your situation, I'm wondering, why is that you guys are not thinking about the economic aspect first? The economic development for the people before you even start planning those things for them, because it's one thing to give them new houses, but there is an issue of sustainability. Are they going to survive? What the economic environment is going to be? So, why there is not focus on economic incentives and economic development? And then there's another one. How was it to get the financing, because you said there are budget issues. What was the political situation to get the budget? Because I know Argentina has a lot of economical problem.

Candelaria Garay:

Thank you.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

On the last question, we financed this around 50 or 60% with the city budget. It was a decision of the mayor to invest in slum upgrading. It is one of the three core policies that he pushed in the first term. We also had access to some funding by the national government. And we also had access to international funding, particularly CAF. And there's another huge budget also in Buenos Aires that we are not reading, that had access to funding from BID and World Bank too.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Regarding the economic aspect, we are working on that. I didn't focus a lot on that today, but I believe that what we're doing is not enough. That's why I put it as a challenge. We are Working in different lines, one regarding training and employment in order for people to be able to actually get a job. And the other one has to do with giving more power and empowerment to the entrepreneurs that the neighborhood has. In Argentina, we call that economia social or economia popular. We are preparing several and we are doing lots of stuff with the cooperatives that are within the neighborhood. For example, one thing you will need is, 20% of the people working in the construction of the new houses had to be from the slum. We forced the companies to hire people from the slum. We're going to take that to the rest of the government probably.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And finally, we are working a lot to bring the private sector to hire people there and to generate economic activity there. But the main thing about economic development is that, what is going to truly boost and allow for something to change in the slums is, if the national economy start to recover and starts to grow. We've had a huge crisis in the last two years. We've had like eight or nine years of pretty much not growing any year significantly in Argentina. But what I do believe is if that works, and you don't do what we did, and you don't work in the development approach at the city level, you're going to get like the train of progress going but people aren't going to be able to get on the train. So we are preparing them to be able to get on the train. I think that the train is not going. We hope that once we start, we're going to be able to actually get people on the train.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And you had a first question? The 7%... But it's a good question. For us it was pretty impressive. In Villa Veinte you didn't have elections to elect representatives where like five or seven years ago, and then the mandates were kind of [Foreign language 00:27:51]-

Candelaria Garay:

Extended.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Extended. Generally the elections in the slum are not very representative of what happens in the slum. Not a lot of people participate. They are not mandatory. So... And finally, what it spoke of, I believe it's not a great representation by the people who were participating on the round-table. And also that has to do with them and probably with the government and the capacity to create more community involvement. Again, the good news for me was that we couldn't get everyone to know that there was the table, but at least everyone participated and the hard decisions, we were taking with the people. Because the hard decision is, what was the street going to go? Who's going to move? For that decision, it was pretty much one-on-one and the block level work.

Speaker 3:

Hi, I'm from Rio de Janeiro. And we have had several projects like of robotization of urban slums, but they are also not being considered by the new mayors. This is something that happens so many times. So my question is, have you created some measure to avoid this kind of problem?

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Once we were with the mayor of Buenos Aires and New York, we were trying for the Rockefeller Center to enter us into a thing they had on resilience. And the guy who was making the interview had asked the mayor, "So how can you assure me that if you don't win, the next mayor is going to keep with this policy?" And the mayor said, "I can get a guitar and start singing a song and telling you that I have like three laws that I'm going to pass. But if the guy doesn't want to go on with the policy, he's not going to go on with the policies." That's to say that, there's nothing that can actually warranty that a policy keeps going.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

I do believe there are things that you can do. For example, we did something pretty revolutionary in terms of the history of the Buenos Aires government and the housing Institute, and that is, we included in our team, and I mean people who are leading teams not just workers, people from the opposition. We have several, what we call the [Foreign language 00:30:05] in the management level, people who work and actually campaigned for the guy who was running against us on the campaign. That doesn't mean that these guys are going to leave the institute if we lost, it doesn't, but at least the guy who was running for mayor against us, several times said that he knew that the programs that we have are very good and he wanted to continue them, if he were elected. Personally, we won by 55% of the vote two weeks ago so we're going to keep on doing what we're doing.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

But I do believe two things I would do. Empower the community for them to protest or to be able to lobby in favor of the firm not to stop. And the second thing is to generate consensus with the entire elite of Buenos Aires in terms This being useful. And we work a lot with academics, politicians, people from the media, I mean, I believe it's good politics and we're doing a lot of that for the policy to have legitimacy because not everyone is happy with this.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Like middle classes who are under a lot of pressure because of the economic crisis tend to hate what we're doing. And there's kind of an argument saying, "Okay, you are giving this to these people that actually took this land and they are from outside Argentina, and you're not taking care of us." So you need a lot of [inaudible 00:31:37] will from the mayor and we had that, and I think you have to work on this two or three lines that I just told you about. I think, in that sense, if we would have lost the election, the policy would have continued. And I think that's a good thing for ...

Speaker 4:

Hi, thank you for the presentation and this is truly amazing. I was wondering, politically, why didn't the mayor do better in many of these areas in the last election, given that this is so great. And the other question I have is, are people actually getting property rights for their houses, both the ones that stay and the ones that move?

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Here, we won. First thing. Nobody knows about that because we're not, I hope this is not in the Argentina media today. I know it's being recorded but... In some slums in the general election, we won. It's very hard to measure because not all of the people from villa Veinte vote on the same district. But we have something similar to a measurement of how we did. And either we tied or we won, in Villa Veinte. It's true that in other slums, we lost by a lot of margin. I think the main explanation of what we lost is the economic situation, for the those of you who don't know about Argentina and all these and not that you shouldn't, very, very crazy and very, very too violent right now. The mayor is from the same political party as the actual president who lost the election, mainly because of the economic crisis.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So basically, people had a great Street, new Street, but they didn't have food on the refrigerator. And I think there's no way you can beat that. And I understand them and I will do the same probably. And this is very, very important, because there's a very conservative approach to this thing. There's a lot of people riding on the conservative media saying, "Oh, why did you invest there, if they don't vote for you?" We're not investing only to get about, first of all.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Second, again, you have to do the infrastructure, we have to do the main things. But it's not the only variable by which they vote. I'm sure that if the economy would have been okay, we would have won, as we won in other years in the city of Buenos Aires. But I think the main explanation has to do with Argentina has inflation, the economies and recession the last three years it's very, very hard to go into election with people who actually don't afford to get to the end of the month, and actually win. Here, with a lot of work and with a deep face-to-face involvement with the community, we had a great election on the generals. We didn't have a good one in the primaries, in the generals we tied or won, I cannot exactly say because they vote in different places. But we have some ways of measuring and we did measure that.

Speaker 5:

Congratulations, first. I think we've had a great lesson from this. I'm from Mexico City. So we've been doing similar efforts for the last 20 years since our President, Obrador was in power. How do you mitigate through effects, the first one, real estate speculation? So whenever these projects are announced, immediately there's, we are well aware about the power of mafias in real estate in our countries. How do you mitigate them? The second one, how do you mitigate gentrification? In many projects similar, not as well thought of this one in Mexico City. What happened was, the locals ended up leasing the property, selling it or, finding a way to... What ended up happening was they would move to other cities.

Speaker 5:

And the third one is how do you mitigate the hostile takeover of criminal organizations like in Villa Veinte and social organizations over the processes? Like influence directly?

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Regarding gentrification, I do believe we have a huge risk with the new houses particularly in Fraga and [inaudible 00:35:42]. There are places where the square meter is very, very expensive. What we already did is, we established a preference right for the city of Buenos Aires. That means if the family wants to sell the house at least five years he or she has to offer it first to the city of Buenos Aires and we are preparing something regarding mortgages because like I said, it's a loan. So for 40 years or for 30 years they have to pay to us. We're going to work with that. So if they want to sell at some time of the process, they have to discuss that with the city. I don't think this is a final solution. I think it's going to improve a little bit. We haven't seen gentrification within the slum, probably we're going to see that in the next few years because...

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Also regarding the first question you asked, we had an advantage. Nobody believed that we were actually going to upgrade Islam. And it sounds very simple and even funny, but when we first came, and we said, we're going to upgrade the slum, there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm because they didn't believe we were going to do it. So the first thing we did is the census and we established only the people who were censused are the ones that have access, either to a new house or to an improvement of the house, or to a new infrastructure that we were building. That tended to stop... And we had a lot of cases of people who actually called their cousins from another place to come but when they came, we say, "You are not on the census. So you're not going to be part of the solution."

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

That doesn't mean that probably we'll have to find some solution and we've helped some grow, but it's much less than we would have expected. And the other very important thing is that, once the government starts working with them in this participatory table, for example, one thing that we did stop is the horizontal growth of the slum. In any of the places that we are working, even where we don't have a lot of budget, with just the fact that setting a table and started to work with the families with very basic infrastructure, we eliminated the horizontal growth of the slum. Probably some of them constructed vertically, but wasn't very important, but we eliminated the horizontal growth. That was huge. That was he in terms of urban planning and being able to actually think of a solution for the people who are there. Because if you don't stop the flow, you're never going to be able to...

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

But what I can say today is that if we start a table, and we have at least a little bit of budget for the people to actually believe that we're working on the neighborhood, they are the ones, with us, that start controlling that you don't have more people get into the slum.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

In any of the guys that I showed, we had big mafia [inaudible 00:38:32]. There was three or four guys who had some huge buildings with 50 apartments. We managed to draw the plan of the new neighborhood with the neighbors, not going... For example, we didn't put any street that was going to go and that made us have to demolish that thing. You may say to me, "Okay, but that's not the solution. You need to..." I know that and we're working now, with law enforcement and different things to manage to break that business. But I didn't want that thing to actually destroy the entire process. So we're working on that too.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

In Villa [inaudible 00:39:18], I didn't speak about this case, it's one of the most important slums in Buenos Aires. We have two very, very important [Foreign language 00:39:27]. There, what we did is first we entered, not we, the national government entered with Santa Maria, that's a national force. They're pretty much militarized the slum, and then we started working. And with the entire community of the delegates, we could actually do the census in Villa [inaudible 00:39:49]. But they're probably more similar to some of the slums that you have in Mexico. We had to do a mixture of public force and what we did, that's it. We are not that advanced there. So, probably I would like to have your phone later because that's what we're going to do next year. And probably we're going to face lots of trouble that we didn't have yet, and we will have them. Because even though the slum is militarized, the Narcos are still there in a less violent way, but they're still there.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And finally, regarding political organizations, we included them on the process. Some of them were happy to be included and they stopped some of the polemic things that they were doing in the neighborhood. Some of them weren't, but they were very illegitimized in the... The round-table is very legitimized politically. So, if you want to attack it, probably you're going to have trouble not with the government, but with the rest of the people from the slum. So that pretty much isolated the two or three groups that they didn't even want for this to advance. There was a huge, lots of politics. At that level, it's all politics. To understand who is who? How can you gather a coalition that actually pushes the process, that's at the beginning of the process, and it's very, it's very political. It's good politics, but it's politics.

Speaker 6:

Hi, thanks. Thanks for the presentation. I'm curious what the teams look like that you have in each of the slums. How are they composed? And is it more urban planning people? More community-centered people?

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

We have urban planning teams and community center teams, they call themselves, one team is the technic team or los technicals, and the other team is social team or los sociales. We've struggled a little bit, either to put them all of them together, to have different teams, it's something that we're still working on because every time you have a group of human beings, if you give them some reason to differentiate themselves, probably you're going to have some struggle. Of course the ones that are more community-based and social-oriented, they want to listen more to the people and make smaller streets. So we have to demolish the houses, the urban planners says, "No, that's not okay. We need very broad streets and very large."

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

So it's been very interesting and very rich in terms of discussion. But what I would say is we have a very, very diverse team in terms of disciplines, in terms of the political spectrum too. We have people that support the government, kind of a central government and we have people, like I said, working with their position who are pretty much on the left, and we're trying to make that work and it has worked very good.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And finally, we have people with different backgrounds. The guy who's the secretary is in charge of all of the urban planning, he worked for 40 years in the private sector. He was constructing Latin America and in Russia and different places. He was kind of done with the private sector so he came to us. He leads the entire team. The guy who leads the social team is a [inaudible 00:43:00] who worked for like 45 years in the state. He's like six years old, he has experience in the entire country working with political organizations. And he has like nothing to do in terms of background with the other guy. I think the diversity gave us a huge advantage to be able to tackle the challenges that we had.

Speaker 7:

Hi. Juan, so I was working at the USD institute, until a few months ago, I'm doing master's degree here now and I would really like you to talk a little bit more about the sustainability aspect of housing. We were giving housing that we were not ourselves sure that people are going to be able to sustain it because of the financial situation, you yourself said it, the train is not moving and it's not moving and it's not moving and it's not moving in the city of Buenos Aires. So we have all these good ideas and know that there's so many things that we would like the neighbors to be accomplishing. And there is an economic development team, and there is also, we have teams that sort of walk the families through the post relocation process, but it's not...

Speaker 7:

I think we do need to problematize this a little bit more because it's starting to be a huge issue for the families that we are working with. We're also, I think that the political eye has not put in the job that the post-relocation team is doing. So sometimes there is a big pressure of like, "Okay, we need to move people because that's what we can see." We can see it's very obvious that the people are accessing this new housing, but the sustainability aspect sometimes is sort of left behind in the holistic approach to the process. So I would really like you to talk a little bit more about that.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

First of all, I completely agree. That's why I said that's the main challenge that we have. I just received the survey that we did in San Antonio Alkara. And it's good. I mean, and in the end, even though it's tough, it's good news. I mean, in the middle of a crisis in the middle of a terrible situation, I think everyone that we moved is still living there. The buildings are as good as they were once we moved them. All of them say that they are living in much better conditions than they were years ago. And even when we moved them far away from their houses in that case, which is not what we want to do. So what I'm saying is, we need to radically change the approach and on this issue, I agree with that. We depend a lot on what happens at the national level too.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

I believe we have some more things to do. I think we should integrate the social policy of the government. And I think that's going to help a lot. And we may or may not have some news regarding in the next three, four days and weeks, but that happens. I think we're going to have a fair chance to work better in the sustainability process. Like I said, I think there's a huge thing, where have to pay or not for the house. We are not pushing nobody that's not paying out of the houses too, that's a political decision too. But I do believe it's a huge thing that we have to work on.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

If we managed to integrate the social policy of the government, and if we manage to get a lot of resources that the government has, to be focused on slums, for example, instead of having only the Housing Authority, hiring people to build new houses, if you have the entire government with the premise of the 10, or 20% of the people that work for the government, in maintenance and construction, having to come from slums, we would inject a huge amount of money to the people of the slums, that's something that we are considering. But again, I do believe it's the main challenge that we have in the next few years for sure.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

She raised an issue that it's problematic all the time in USA and I want to speak about that too because I think one of the key aspects of leadership if you want to achieve these transformations, there's three interest and times that are not always aligned, that keeps crashing into each other. On the one hand, you have the time and the needs and the face of the community, and what the community can and cannot do and can and cannot decide at a given moment. Generally, politics don't care much about that. And we build houses and we want everyone to be moved very quickly so we can have a good picture and say, "Okay, we did this on this slum." Then you have the bureaucratic and the administrative times and the phase of the bureaucracy of government.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

You can have an agreement with the family, but if you didn't prepare all the papers well, you're not going to be able to move them and to give them the tenure. Somebody asked me about the tenure and I didn't answer, where everyone gets a title and they secure their tenure in the new houses. And we're preparing a lot to create kind of an intermediate title for the rest of the slum. So You have the phase and the time of the people of the community, you have the phase and the time for bureaucracy, and then you have the political time that you also have to listen to, if you want to keep working and getting funds. We didn't finish the construction and if we didn't move some of the people, at some point, probably the mayor will have said, "Okay, you're not going to keep in that work and we're going to have our people there."

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

The fact that you have to put all of that together, is a huge challenge. She was part of the team that hated me because I was the guy saying, "We have to move because the mayor is going to come and he's going to say, you're not going to keep on that project." The good thing is that you won. We actually finished the first time we didn't need to move. We moved around 55 or 60% of the people. We still have 40% to go. And that was mainly because we never broke... In several moments there was options to, instead of doing the entire interview process and the entire participatory process just to move people that we kind of believe that we should move. And we always took the decision to eventually pay a little bit more political course, but don't do it.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

What I want to state is that if you're leading an authority like the one that I have the chance to lead now, if you don't have this few things in consideration, eventually you lose. I think it's kind of a triangle, that for political management is fundamental. You need to understand the bureaucracy world and what you are going to achieve, You need to understand the pace of the people that you have to work with, and you need to understand the politics of what you're doing and what the political system demands from you because if fail at either one of those three, you may fail in general.

Candelaria Garay:

Oh, yeah.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Yeah, yeah.

Candelaria Garay:

Yeah, we have another five minutes. So yeah.

Speaker 8:

I just wanted to build on this question of how do you operationalize this, including inter-agency collaboration. So you mentioned what's next is thinking about the economic development and the jobs. Buenos Aires has the Ministry of urban development and transportation, but you have a separate ministry that has the economic development and entrepreneurship activities. How are those two working together? Any other that need to be... How are they currently working together? And how do they need to be working together for this to succeed from the sustainability lens?

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

It's much worse than that. We have the Urban Planning Authority in ministry of urban planning. We have the Housing Institute, it's independent from the Urban Planning Authority. We have the Ministry of Social Development, who has many of the training programs that it could actually get the people hired. You have another unit working in a separate slant, and I'm just saying this because this is one of the main challenges that we still have under sea level, the organization of the whole social policy area and the habitat area. It's very poor you have to improve that.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

What I believe should happen is that you should integrate the Ministry of Development with the Housing Authority, so you could have a more holistic approach, like the one that I showed you at the beginning, but with the entire tool kit, to do that. And you need to have something similar to a social cabinet, where you have the Ministry of Social Development, and the Housing Authority there, the Minister of Education and the Ministry of Economic Development too. And within that team, you should establish three or four lines of work that are fully covered.

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

And I think that's one of the huge debts of governments around the world. The guy who asked the Finance Minister for [inaudible 00:51:42] in Chile, I don't remember his name, but he has a great phrase for this thing. He says, "Governments organize in terms of ministries or sectors. And universities organize themselves in terms of departments. People have trouble and problems and nobody thinks in terms of trouble and problems. You have this like vertical stuff and all is thinking horizontally. What I'm saying is that you can improve that with a social cabinet, and by some of the merger that I just discussed. But at the end, I think all of us who like politics and public policy, we still have a debt on, how can we organize governments better in order for the individual actors not to have agendas that are against...

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

For the Minister of Education, I'm just 7% of her problem. And it's very, very hard to solve my 7%. It is much easier to focus on the middle classes that have other problems, but they do have them. So to get a few minutes with her, I mean I can get her, but it's harder to have her full attention. What I'm saying is that we still have a lot to do that issue. At the beginning of the government we built a social cabinet. The problem is that the guy who was coordinating the social cabinet ended up as the President of the Housing Authority. So nobody is going to be coming in right now. But I do believe it's a debt that we have.

Speaker 8:

And it's not unique to Buenos Aires, as you it but I guess, without a full, reorganize and restructure, what are the more immediate operational... The mayor standing up saying, "This is a priority?"

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

Okay.

Speaker 8:

How is that playing out in the weekly, bi-weekly cabinet meetings, say, "How are we doing on this together?"

Juan Ignacio Maquieyra:

To me, the most important thing that we should do rapidly is to unify all the training programs that the city has. Some of them are on the immediate developments. We have some and some are in the Ministry of Finance or Economic Development. That's task one. We need to organize too the link with the private sector to get a combined [inaudible 00:53:49] upgrade in slums. And finally, we need to change the way which the government in general hires people because I do believe that a lot of people who live on the slum could actually work with the companies that are contracted by the government. And that will mean a real improvement on... Those three things are some of the three things that I am preparing in the name of who the mayor, for that to happen in the next four years.

Speaker 8:

Well, thank you very much for your wonderful presentation.