Revista Granito de Arena

Cementos Progreso, Committed to Decent Housing

As part of the World Habitat Day commemoration activities, Cementos Progreso participated in the XIV National Social Housing Forum organized by Habitat for Humanity. For two days, six thematic segments were addressed, related to: zoning, neighborhood improvement, and new financing options for social housing.

These topics were approached by representatives from public, private and social sectors. Conversations included the country’s current urban development. Additionally, growth was analyzed foreseeing a spike in «intermediate city» growth.

Architect José Solares, Market Development Manager, participated on the first day of the event with the topic «Housing as an engine for economic transformation». The presentation was moderated by Gabriela Cruz, CEMPRO’s Urban and Housing Solutions Advisor, who discussed the importance of generating employment, and strengthening the labor force to meet construction and urban expansion challenges.

The challenge: Meeting 2023’s target

Arquitect José Solares pointed out that the housing deficit is growing, therefore as a country, social transformation through the construction of housing must be encouraged.

«Construction must be understood as an economic chain, because behind each construction other processes are activated, such as employment. The housing deficit is growing, but the country is turning to housing development,» he said.

In addition, our Institutional Relations Manager, architect Eduardo Aguirre, participated as speaker and moderator in the subject matter «Impact of National Housing and Human Settlements Policy». He pointed out that, at present, nearly 840 thousand homes still have dirt floors, which fosters malnutrition and affects capacity of poverty-stricken families to partake in economic growth.

Another interesting fact was that from 2002 to 2018 the number of intermediate cities has increased, from 4 to 15. This intensifies the need to strengthen municipal urban planning. Alongside this situation, the rising migrating population towards these intermediate cities must be addressed. Therefore, it is important to solve for these circumstances to avoid overpopulation.

He also highlighted the ambitious challenge of building 1.3 million homes by 2023, in which, he said, the participation of the public, social, and private sectors is crucial.

Architect Eduardo Aguirre

Valuable Technical Debate

On its second day, the Forum focused on work tables and contributing ideas for the topics at hand. Eduardo Aguirre participated as the president of the discussion table on municipal zoning, with emphasis on housing. He has been an active part in preparing current legislation for the National Policy on Housing and Human Settlements (PNVAH, by its acronym in Spanish) group.

«The challenge is to find a space where people can live so they stop migrating to the cities. Every year billions are invested in infrastructure, but none for housing. To help solve for this problem, we need a comprehensive plan to connect intermediate cities, in that regard, no new highway has been built in the past 40 years.» he said.

To close the event, Aguirre emphasized the need for a strong regulatory body focused on housing, backed by an adequate budget. This responsibility must be a collaborative undertaking which should include several government ministries including the Ministries of Health and Social Development, as well as social organizations, and the private sector. The private sector should be committed to the country’s development and, particularly, to social housing development, and this is where Cementos Progreso stands out.

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