Blog | Architecture

Caracas: The Informal City

. 1 min read

Caracas: The Informal City is a documentary directed by Rob Schröder about the sprawling informal developments in the hills around Caracas. It looks at the challenging circumstances under which people have to make a living, but it also documents the adaptation and improvisation characteristic of the informal city

The film portrays the Caracas based architects Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, who use the proceeds from their commercial practise to finance their non-profit Urban Think Tank through which they seek to address the challenges of the slums. Most of the houses in the barrios are self built, without the intervention of an architect or engineer. Occasionally, buildings collapse or slide down a hill. Sanitation is a major problem. Among other things Brillembourg and Klumpner have designed toilets which use rain water.

The film provides fascinating insights into the economics of slum dwellings. For example, the neighbourhoods furthest up the hills are poorest. But, as you climb the hill water gets more expensive, because of the transportation costs. So the poorest people pay the highest price for an essential good. And petrol is cheaper than water. How about that.