Legalization of settlements in Armenia, pilot plan began with Patio Bonito Alto –

Author: Natalia Trujillo Varela

The UNHCR supports the legalization of this settlement because the majority of displaced people who are victims of the armed conflict live there.

The inhabitants of Patio Bonito Alto, once legalized, will be able to access housing improvement subsidies in the neighborhoods and will be able to count on legal provision of basic public services.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Ministry of Housing together with Opción Legal, the Armenian Housing Development Company, Fomvivienda, and the team from the administrative department of Planning, socialized with the community of the Patio settlement Bonito Alto the route to legalize the settlement, as part of a pilot project that will be carried out in the Quindian capital.

Tania Alejandra Cifuentes Henao, Planning contractor in the environmental area of ​​urban control and environmental leader, explained that in the plans of the municipality of Armenia they found that in the urban conformation of the Patio Bonito Alto settlement there was a lot owned by the municipality, they found areas of environmental protection and some risk areas, but there are other areas that do not have any restrictions.

“In this sense, Fomvivienda has already begun a titling process for our property. What these organizations provide us with is legal, technical and study support, so they could provide us with studies regarding the conditions of high-risk areas. , it is a great contribution that they give us because it is an important scientific input,” said Cifuentes Henao.

Furthermore, there is currently an exceptional case in the process of legalization, promoted by the owner of the property where the Santiago Galindo settlement is located, which is already making good progress and has the technical studies, legal advice, topographic surveys and all the inputs and routes.

“This case is exceptional because the owner of this lot began to have contacts with the community for several years and its purpose is to support them in legalization. We in the Planning Department received all the information last year to be able to grant them legalization now. because they already meet all the requirements,” explained Cifuentes Henao.

According to the Planning official, the settlements in Armenia are mostly located in the south of the city and within the same settlements there are other informal occupations that constitute a challenge for legalization. “For now we have 100 informal occupations, but within this figure more homes are included because we find settlements that look as if they were one, but as we delve into the field work to investigate, there are sectors that, due to antiquity, have a name , being from the same settlement there are other houses and they are called differently only because these people arrived after those who were already in the settlement, which would lead one to think that there would be two settlements, when in reality they constitute one.” .

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Risk profiles

In order to determine which other settlements have the profile to be included in the legalization route, we must wait for the Risk Management studies, since with these it will be possible to determine the level of natural threat that the homes may have and thus verify if, for On the contrary, the restriction is increased.

“The majority of the settlements are in environmental protection zones, after the Territorial Planning Plan was published in 2009, many settlements began to appear and to date, many of these are not in the cartography that was adopted in 2009, That is why it is so important to have basic Risk Management studies and thus be able to know whether or not the settlement can apply, or if a high-risk area is determined,” commented Cifuentes Henao.

“We are waiting for the government to provide us with the studies, we have been in this process for more than 5 years or more to, through royalties, finance this instrument to the municipalities of the department in order to update our Planning Plans Territorial”.

The regular update that must be given to the POT in the long term is intended to be carried out once the basic studies are in place, because this way it will be possible to verify how the settlements are and will provide clarity as to which settlements can be legalized, “because one of the first conditions is that they are not located in environmental protection zones nor in high-risk areas, it is also very important to verify how the housing is structured in the face of natural threats such as landslides, which is the natural threat that occurs most in Armenia.


Horacio Granada, president of the Patio Bonito Alto Community Action Board, stated that some homes are already being legalized and this process means a lot because from previous administrations they felt that there was no political will, although they charge property taxes.

“There are people who pay a lot of money in property taxes and at this moment we can’t even do a project with a participatory budget, or even pave a subway in the neighborhood, we can’t because the municipality has denied us everything, on the other hand, since we are already legalized, yes “We can make improvements,” Granada pointed out.

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For the people who live in the Patio Bonito Alto settlement and for other settlements that have the green light on the legalization route, it means a lot, since they can access public services legally, access housing improvement subsidy resources or national subsidies, to subsidies for comprehensive neighborhood improvement from the Ministry of Housing, would also be an important environmental contribution since the settlements mostly generate environmental pollution.

“With the legalization of neighborhoods and settlements with incomplete development, they are already formed in terms of public services and access roads, it is possible for them to access municipal resources and there is an improvement to the social fabric,” said Cifuentes Henao, leader of the process of legalization of Municipal Administration properties.

In the settlement of Patio Bonito Alto there is a significant number of displaced population victims of the armed conflict, however, the figure is not clear since the people who live there fluctuate because they are people in poverty and they are people who do not They have sufficient financial support to pay rent in a stratified neighborhood.

“There is another population that comes to the property and “sublots” – divides the lot into several parts – that is, they tell other people that they can make their homes in that place, but they demand sums of money from them and that is when it grows. the settlement,” said Cifuentes Henao.

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