Community participation and housing innovation in the Yucatan coast

Community participation and housing innovation in the Yucatan coast
2002. Before and after the hurricane, San Crisanto Yucatán (Mexico) Mª Teresa Castillo © Mª Teresa Castillo

Community participation and housing innovation in the Yucatan coast

In 1993 the geological and topographic conditions of the Yucatan coast and the practices of urban expansion and housing construction in areas of the swamp filled, causing them to flood, as in the port of San Crisanto, again flooded by Hurricanes Opal and Roxana. There, a community work group, linked to professional researchers, used the so-called Participatory Action Research (IAP) to solve community problems. One of the participants said: “I am annoyed that my house floods every so often. I’m going to do a stilt house. ” He explained that, as he had seen on television, a palafitte is a house built on pivots.

With that seed and the foundations of IAP, we analyzed the idea and found it interesting to build test palafitos and see if they were viable housing alternatives for local environmental conditions, similar to most of the Yucatecan ports. We designed a research project, we overcame the skepticism of its evaluators, we got the necessary funds and three prototypes of stilt houses were built, which saved their inhabitants from flooding, adapting to environmental conditions, avoiding filling the area, and maintaining environmental conditions. similar to the previous ones to the construction of houses: one in the area of ??landfill, another 50 meters from the swamp and another in an area that is flooded annually. The communal participation allowed characterizing the response of each palafito to the diversity of local environmental conditions.

 

Mª Teresa Castillo Burguete and Federico Dikinson, professors and researchers from the Department of Human Ecology. Cinvestav-Mérida (Mexico)