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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BURGOS, Soledad; KOIFMAN, Rosalina Jorge; MONTANO ESPINOZA, Rosa  and  ATRIA CURI, Jorge. Residential typologies in Chilean irregular settlements with precarious housing conditions. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.1, pp.32-40. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To identify residential parameters that characterize the physical and social environment in Chile's irregular settlements, and to construct typologies that will allow to develop profiles with those distinctive residential attributes. METHODS: The study examined the universe of irregular settlements (n = 122) in Chile's Metropolitan Region, based on the 2007 national inventory of irregular settlements conducted by the "Un Techo para Chile" foundation. Information about the communities and their locations was obtained from key informants, and these variables were modeled using factor analysis to identify residential parameters, which were then refined by k-means clustering. RESULTS: The factor analysis pointed to three underlying parameters: local social response, the environment beyond the community, and basic services. The key variables shaping these categories were the existence of housing projects, the urban area involved, and access to electricity. The cluster analysis generated four profiles that combined the three parameters: an urban profile with relatively reliable basic services (n = 30), an urban-rural profile with high potential for local social response (n = 32), an urban profile with a high level of environmental threat (n = 43), and a rural profile with low potential for local social response (n = 17). CONCLUSIONS: The residential parameters formed are consistent with the revised theoretical model and suggest relevant indicators for monitoring these communities. Definition of the profiles facilitates assessment of the heterogeneity of residential situations, which helps in the prioritization of areas with deficits or risks that may be present in each cluster. This, in turn, opens the door to further investigation and to exploring opportunities for action.

Keywords : Human settlements; poverty areas; vulnerable groups; censuses; environmental health; social organization; communitarian organization; Chile.

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