Violence in Colombia in the 1950s and 1960s led to internal displacement of people from rural areas. Political unrest in neighbouring Latin American countries also saw an influx of settlers. The residents settling in homegrown settlements of Bogota are therefore usually migrants. Today, a lot of the residents of homegrown settlements either build with the help of local contractors, or those who already work in the construction sector and use their experience to build. People may have also learnt construction skills from their parents who worked in the formal construction industry.
Community & local innovation
Like many homegrown settlements across the world, the settlements in Bogota have a strong community presence. Communities utilize various spaces for social and organisational purposes. One such space is the terraza or the terrace- the top most floor of a house which can be used for domestic activities such as washing and drying laundry, for rainwater harvesting,and gatherings to socialise and communicate.
These spaces are used by various individuals but still belong to the household. Communal spaces are exclusively present in homegrown neighbourhoods and hold great importance for the inhabitants. Each neighbourhood has at least one community center which is a space where residents can gather to conduct activities, participate in political discussions, and planning of neighbourhood projects. Some communities also decide to build schools or parks that would benefit their neighbourhood.
The process of housing in the homegrown settlements of Bogota follows a progressive routine. The procurement of essential and necessary structures and facilities is the starting point of households. Similar to Dharavi, residents in barrios of Bogota generate their own housing solutions and adopt sustainable practices within their daily life. Ciudad Bolívar provides a good example - where residents use different systems of rainwater harvesting to meet their water needs. While resident’s innovation and practices contribute, community organisations have played a large role in building resilience for these neighborhoods.