August 08, 2017

Staying a Step Ahead: Institutional Flexibility in the Rehabilitation of Social Housing in Oaxaca, Mexico

Davi Parente Schoen

The Mexican National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute, or Infonavit, is the most important actor in the nation’s housing market. As of 2015, it was the leader in mortgage origination, accounting for roughly 74 percent of all housing loans. The institute was founded in 1972 with the mission of fulfilling the right to housing provided to workers as established in the Mexican Constitution, primarily through the provision of credit for the purchase of formal housing. Today, roughly one out of every four Mexicans lives in a home financed or built by Infonavit. Success for the institution has traditionally been measured in terms of the number of houses built: the more the better. Through the first decade of the new millennium, Infonavit experienced tremendous growth in the number of loans originated. This expansion coincided with a transition from Infonavit’s historical role as an organization that designed and constructed thehousing they financed, to one reliant on private developers for the production of housing. 

This paper was written by Davi Schoen while he was a graduate student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). Diane E. Davis, Professor of Regional Development and Urbanism in GSD’s Department of Urban Planning and Design was the Principal Investigator for this project, which was carried out with funding provided by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies via its Student Research Support Program and by Fundación Hogares. The author is responsible for the facts and accuracy of the information in the paper, which does not necessarily represent the views of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Fundación Hogares, or the Graduate School of Design.

Category: Student Work

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