The urban growth of Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas has been characterized by the expansion of low-density developments over adjacent rural land. This urban sprawl exemplifies an increasing trend in the subdivision of rural parcels into non-agricultural plots of land, an opportunity that the real estate market has seized upon to develop houses on properties of 5,000 square meters. These cater to high-income families seeking a lifestyle away from urban heartlands. In parallel, incentives in the form of state subsidies for the construction of social housing projects have also become an attractive option for developers. As a result, the search for cheaper land for high-end housing developments and social housing in rural areas has resulted in the dispersal of residential areas, which have been pushed to the urban fringes. Consequently, this urban expansion model has led to the segregation of residential complexes deprived of quality social infrastructure and public spaces; these have already begun to show signs of urban deterioration.
The urban area of Alerce is representative of the socio-environmental effects that residential expansion has had on the quality of life and public space. In the past decades in Alerce, a satellite city of Puerto Montt, housing policies have found that land value provided an opportunity to make the construction of social housing profitable, without incorporating sufficient consideration for the sustainable development of neighborhoods, their centralities, and infrastructure.
The largest percentage of Puerto Varas’ most vulnerable population lives in Puerto Chico. There is a significant lack of community infrastructure, a deficit in public spaces, and high-speed vehicular flow fragments the neighborhood and deteriorates its quality. However, the presence of municipal offices and public services make this area a potential civic space.
December, 2015 to April, 2016
Authors: Sebastian Sattlegger, Lisa Mittelberger, Dominique Mashini, Guillermo Müller Videla, Andreas Hofer, Roland Krebs