Constructing houses: creating home.
Informal building and dwelling practices in Colombia
Peter Kellett (Newcastle University)
Increasing proportions of the world’s urban population create their own dwellings through a range of informal processes. In this presentation I explore the social, spatial and material practices of house construction and the concomitant processes of home creation. Informed by Heidegger’s understanding of building and dwelling I analyse an ongoing ethnographic field study of families living in two squatter settlements in northern Colombia which I began over 30 years ago. I will recount some of their stories and examine how despite challenging economic constraints and a context of violence, many households create supportive, personalised dwellings which go well beyond the resolution of basic shelter needs, and speak of the significance and agency of home in processes of self-realisation and identity reconstruction.
(Photo source: http://db.world-housing.net/building/199/)