In Brazil’s rural areas, the population suffers from a housing deficit of more than 1.7 million residences, according to a federal government survey. This figure represents around 24% of the country’s overall housing deficit.
The InovaRural project, developed by the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Federal University of São Carlos, has sought a cheaper alternative for the construction of rural housing.
The average cost of each unit built by the project comes to US$ 2.4 thousand (6,500 reais). The houses have 65-75 square meters of floor space.
According to an estimate made by the Ministry of Cities, a 35 square meter house in the rural area of the state of São Paulo normally costs around $3.4 thousand (9,000 reais).
What makes the difference in the InovaRural is the use of recycled materials and the collective building effort of local residents.
The project is being developed in a rural settlement in the municipality of Itapeva, in the state of São Paulo. 49 families are involved. Each house has 2 or 3 bedrooms.
The system of collective construction includes the production of building materials, such as doors, windows, and even furniture. For this purpose, a collective carpentry shop was set up in the settlement.
Besides reducing construction costs, this initiative has provided people the chance to learn a new trade. The expectation is for the carpentry shop to remain in operation after the housing construction is concluded. Under community administration, it will provide a source of employment and income.
The InovaRural is financed by the Financial Agency for Studies and Projects (Finep) and the São Paulo State Foundation for Research Support (Fapesp).
According to the head of Finep’s Department of Social Technologies, Carlos Sartor, the project could become a model for rural housing policies in Brazil.
“The project unites the activities of researchers in social, economic, political, and environmental spheres, developing solutions to meet the country’s housing requirements,” Sartor said.
Translation: David Silberstein