Published in DASH#12-13 – Global Housing
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Urbanización Caja de Agua

LimaJunto Nacional de la Vivienda

The Caja de Agua development was initially proposed by the Peruvian state housing agency in 1961, as part of its programme to create a new kind of housing  project: the Urbanización Popular de Interés Social (UPIS, or Low-Income Social Housing Subdivision). The UPIS offered organized urban development to a  minimum standard, substantially below previous government-sponsored housing projects, in an effort to accommodate low-income residents. The urban layouts were to be prepared by the state housing agency, with a range of basic services, and the residents committed to purchasing a core house that they were expected to complete over time using self-help labour. The design of the dwellings followed the concept of the casa que crece (growing house), first proposed in Peru by  architect Santiago Agurto in his entry to a 1954 housing competition, and subsequently implemented on a trial basis in a state-sponsored project at Ciudad de  Dios, Lima, in 1957. Such projects borrowed and systematized the techniques of barriada (squatter settlement) housing – progressive development, resident  participation in construction – but aimed to circumvent ad hoc building through technical assistance and carefully conceived expansion plans . . .