The CASALATA (Tin House) project started with a short film in Mindelo, Cape Verde.
The film focuses on the issue of the shortage of housing and on the problems the tin house neighbourhoods suffer from. The CASALATA film then evolved into a wider project with the intention of providing a viable strategy to improve the housing problems of Cape Verde. The result is an architectural proposal with the potential for effective implementation.
The shortage of housing in Cape Verde is not a problem that can be easily or quickly resolved. The families living in tin houses will continue to live in sub-standard conditions for an indefinite period of time, even if the resolution of the housing problem is made to be a governmental priority.
The main objective of the Casalata project is to raise awareness of the problem and propose a strategy for improvement of the living conditions of less fortunate families through urban planning. Whilst producing the Casalata film we became aware of the extent of the difficulties endured by the families living in the tin houses. The poor living conditions of the spaces coupled with a sense of hopelessness and social marginalisation felt by the residents who have little choice but to live illegally, lead us to expand the project and establish a line of action divided into three stages:
• Firstly – produce a survey of the methods of construction and social organisation of the existing urban process in order to identify the positive factors and re-use them as tools in the development of the project for affordable social housing
• Secondly – based on the research and data from stage 1, suggest smaller scale and affordable adjustments to the existing houses in order to provide immediate improvements to the residents’ living conditions. Issues such as thermal comfort, ventilation and natural lighting of the living spaces could be addressed and made to be substantially more efficient.
• Thirdly – develop a proposal for an affordable social housing project which incorporates the knowledge gained during stages one and two. This project will place an emphasis on minimising the environmental impact of the buildings and neighbourhoods and also on educating the residents by making them aware of their role in maintaining their urban conditions.