Creating livable urban communities for low-income Colombian families by providing affordable housing and green living spaces
Manufacturing, Construction & Housing
Region of Initiative
Latin America & Caribbean
SDG 4: Quality education, SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation, SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Construction company Constructora Bolívar joined Business Call to Action in June 2019 with a commitment to improve the quality of life of more than 190,000 low income families – or around 600,000 people – by 2022 through the construction of affordable and decent housing, while also improving living standards by connecting people to public services, shared recreational areas and roads.
Currently more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and by 2050, it is estimated this figure will rise to 70 percent. This trend is not foreign to Colombia – where already more than 75 percent of people live in cities. However, Colombian cities have tended to take a reactive, rather than proactive, approach to the challenges of urbanization, which has resulted in increased spatial, social and economic segregation.
In response, some Colombian cities have developed real estate projects that promote horizontal property development[AB1] (low cost condominiums), which addresses the lack of public space, affordable and decent housing and access to other infrastructure that often plagues urban development. Often those who are hit hardest are low income earners, who are priced out of the housing market.
To help tackle this housing inequality, Constructora Bolivar specialises in urban projects that serve all socio-economic backgrounds, with over 280 housing projects and one hotel business in Colombia. An impressive 85 percent of its urban housing projects are ‘social housing’, which is means they are built to guarantee the right to housing of low-income households.
This type of housing can be accessed by Colombian families whose income ranges from one to four times the legal monthly minimum wage. The National Government provides a cash subsidy that is delivered only once per beneficiary through the Family Compensation Funds. Customers must pay an initial fee, equating to 30 percent of the value of the property, which must be paid over the construction period. The remaining 70 percent is covered by a mortgage loan and the subsidy granted by the government.
Alongside this, Constructora Bolívar has been working for over 20 years with more than 30 public and private allies in the creation of social capital for communities, reflected in projects aimed at solving everyday problems such as lack of security, disharmony among neighbours, and noise pollution, which all affect people's daily lives.
Constructora Bolivar promotes the peaceful resolution of conflicts within and outside co-ownership, strengthening neighbourhood relations and healthy coexistence, especially in spaces for community integration. The company supports recycling, the reasonable use of public services and natural resources, good management of pets and the management of disaster risks in the groups, promoting resilient, responsible and environmentally sustainable communities.
The company also encourages sustainable use of economic resources of families under co-ownership, imparting knowledge to co-owners of horizontal property law and promoting good practices of corporate governance within groups, contributing to financial stability and administrative understanding of co-ownership.
The clients not only receive a housing unit that complies with all safety and quality standards required by Colombian regulations, but also access to urban infrastructure, such as roads, parks, public spaces and other common areas. This aspect is highly valued by clients as many of them come from rural areas or who have lived in informal housing.
About Constructora Bolivar: Constructora Bolivar S.A. is a leading Colombian company in the construction of urban projects. Constructora Bolivar builds housing for the Colombian population under the principles of social responsibility, economic viability and care for the environment, and is a major player in delivering affordable housing across Colombia. Constructora Bolivar S.A. is a member of The Bolivar Group, a business group more than 70 years old comprised of companies from various sectors, including finance, insurance and construction, among others.