Piletones Community Restoration and Development Program, Argentina
Piletones is one of several extremely poor and marginalized informal settlements in the south of the metropolitan area of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The community has been severely impacted by economic and development policies of the city and federal government which has resulted after years of neglect in one of the most contaminated industrial landscapes and waterways on earth. The area is now subject several federal and international efforts which are trying to clean this waterway and improve the lives of those who call this place home. Piletones, one of several informal settlements living in the heart of this environmental disaster area, is a test case for the international and federal aid projects that are being planned. Team of students and faculty from MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, University of Texas and CPID at PSU have been acting as development consultants and architects the last two years in partnership with both the community, the aid and governmental agencies. A key player and partner is Margarita Barrientos, a resident of Piletones and an international figure in the women’s movement for justice to the poor and families. She has over two decades organized the community of Piletones to provide for their own meal programs (now feeding 2000 people three meals a day), health and family planning clinics and micro-industries for local residents. Her strategy of creating community based, self-supporting social agencies is considered a significant model in Latin America, and her role as our primary client has shaped our approach to poverty and development which we are helping to implement in Piletones and likewise affected communities in the region.
The projects of CPID in the region range from community based investment strategies supported by federal and international aid programs to help homeowners improve the condition of their homes and community, to master planning of physical infrastructure, creation of economic incubators and micro-industry incentives, and even the design and building of much needed support facilities such as a day care center and children’s library in 2012 for the Margarita Barrientos Foundation . The work of CPID in Piletones is supported by grants and logistical support from PROSUR, the Planning Ministry of Buenos Aires Metropolitan government, and the Universidad of Palermo, whose international graduate degree program in sustainable development and policy has been a strategic partner the CPID projects in the region.