General Issues
Planning & Development
Social Welfare
Lo Espejo
Scope of Influence
Parent of this Case
Neighbourhood Recovery Programme "Quiero Mi Barrio" (Chile)
Start Date
End Date
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time


"I Want My Neighborhood" Program in Santa Adriana, Chile

General Issues
Planning & Development
Social Welfare
Lo Espejo
Scope of Influence
Parent of this Case
Neighbourhood Recovery Programme "Quiero Mi Barrio" (Chile)
Start Date
End Date
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time

Problems and Purpose

The specific objectives of the I Want My Neighborhood Program consist of recovering deteriorated public spaces, improving environmental conditions, strengthening social relations and promoting more socially integrated neighborhoods. In this sense, the interest of the Program is not limited to the physical and planning aspects of the neighborhoods, but rather seeks an inclusion of citizens in urban development (Aguirre, Aravena, González, Morales and Sandoval, 2008).

In this direction, PQMB promotes a physical and social reconstruction of the city, which considers the specificities of each neighborhood based on the participation of local (community and municipality) and institutional (public or private) actors present in the daily life of the city. neighborhood during the implementation process.

Background History and Context

The Santa Adriana neighborhood comprises one of the three neighborhoods with the greatest operational complexity in the Metropolitan Region, located in the Lo Espejo district, south west of the Metropolitan Region, Chile, with an approximate population of 11,409 inhabitants. Santa Adriana is surrounded by three urban highways (Autopista Central and Vespucio Sur) and the railway line. Such condition of communal periphery configures a situation of little intracommunal connectivity.The formation of Santa Adriana began in the 50s and 60s, based on the settlement of settlers who had illegally occupied land in La Legua, April 5, Germán Riesco , Julio Dávila and other towns in the southern sector of Santiago. This group of settlers appropriated agricultural land from the former Santa Adriana Estate and organized themselves based on the satisfaction of demands, mainly for housing (Searle, 2008).

Santa Adriana presents a territorial configuration of the population divided into four sectors: B, C, D and Villa Las Palmeras. Each one presents organizational dynamics, identities and specific leaderships linked to the history of its inhabitants (settlement of origin, common history, military repression, etc.).

Among the social problems that Santa Adriana presents, we can highlight its level of poverty, marginalization, concentration of low educational levels, levels of unemployment, job insecurity and informal work, violence and drug trafficking. This level of social vulnerability is increased by high levels of insecurity and mistrust, both at the neighborhood level and towards institutions, which has generated social fragmentation, materializing through a retreat towards private spaces (Searle, 2008; Aguirre et. al. 2008; SERVIU MINVU, 2007).

In addition, the sectorial division of the neighborhood has promoted sectorized organizational dynamics, the neighbors only interact with the residents of their sector. This has made it impossible to develop a sense of belonging to the neighborhood and makes it impossible to create a global vision of the territory.

In sum, these elements feed a process of social and spatial stigmatization by residents of other areas. At the same time, inland its residents suffer insecurity (drug trafficking and violence) which produces a withdrawal towards private space and a scant appropriation of public spaces that have been damaged.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

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Participant Recruitment and Selection

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Methods and Tools Used

The Program is carried out through the development of three work stages, preceded by a “zero” phase where the Program is formalized.

The first phase where the PIRB is drawn up, the result of a participatory diagnostic process between neighbors and technical teams. The completion of this stage of the Program includes the formation of a CVD and the signing of a Neighborhood Contract signed between the representatives of the SEREMI MINVU, the Municipality (Mayor) and the president of the CVD, which establishes the responsibilities of the parts, implementation phases, sources of financing and maximum costs of the projects.

During the second phase, the PIRB is executed, through the development of the Works Management, Social Management and Complementary Resource Management Plans.

Finally, in the third phase, the Systematization and Evaluation of the PIRB takes place, once the execution of the programmed initiatives of the three recovery instruments or plans has been completed.

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

PHASE 1: Creation of the participatory diagnosis

The Neighborhood Team carries out a survey and characterization study of Santa Adriana together with the neighbors from the territorial tables in each of the 4 sectors. For this, quantitative (surveys) and qualitative tools (focus groups for children and young people) are implemented. Regarding the level of participation of the residents, it is neither significant nor representative, due to the problems of mistrust present, with the public institution as well as among the same neighbors from other sectors of the population. Community and social organizations and neighborhood associations participated mainly (previously existing associations), achieving a quorum of 15 people, through the CVD.

After carrying out these activities, the Neighborhood Team organizes and systematizes the citizen proposals, based on the transversal axes established in the Program, working on specific dimensions that account for the type of perception and problems of the neighborhood from its residents. These dimensions are applied in all neighborhoods, both in physical and social aspects (Sustainable Neighborhood, Safe Neighborhood, Friendly Neighborhood and Neighborhood with Identity).

A) Sustainable Neighborhood

In relation to the quality of the houses, there is a deficient evaluation of the insulation of the houses and their size, however the evaluations regarding the construction quality are acceptable. The lack of space (overcrowding and closeness) has caused many families to expand their homes, thereby altering the use of common spaces and consequently causing problems of coexistence among neighbors (UAH Social Observatory, 2007).

Due to the lack of recreational and leisure spaces, the street is used as a public space, becoming a space for multiple use (parking lots, games, youth meetings, etc.), which has progressively deteriorated it. (Searle, 2008).

This has generated a high level of confinement within homes and a low level of appropriation of shared use spaces by residents.

With regard to the environment, there is a shortage of green areas and problems with garbage, due to the existence of abandoned sites, which have become garbage dumps (UAH Social Observatory, 2007).

B) Safe Neighborhood

Insecurity, especially in public spaces (an unprotected place), is a great concern for them, due to the existence of drug traffickers who unleash acts of extreme violence. This deteriorates the quality of life, inhibits the relationship between neighbors and increases the stigmatization of the neighborhood (Searle, 2008).

Cooperation and self-protection strategies have been developed between neighbors, based on trust, avoiding violence and facing the fear of crime together (traveling in groups at dangerous hours, avoiding conflictive places).

C) Friendly neighborhood

Neighbors bond with those who live closer to or on the same street, within each sector, evidencing a fragmentation between sectors (Searle, 2008). Community organizations and spontaneous events strengthen these links (death of neighbor, catastrophe, etc.).

This level of participation is caused by its neighborhood history of collaborative accumulations, but despite this, there is a certain nostalgia for active participatory life in the neighborhood (Searle, 2008).

D) Neighborhood with identity

In this neighborhood, half of the homes are native and around a third have lived there for more than 10 years (Searle, 2008). This is why, for its inhabitants, having organized into camps and gradually building the population is a collective effort that has endowed the neighborhood with great identity.

Although the image of the neighborhood for them is negative (unsafe, dangerous and dirty), they have developed self-protection strategies, reactivation of the participatory culture of ataño (older adults), construction and valuation of a sense of belonging (by sector). This stock of social capital is relevant when implementing and providing sustainability to any participatory process.

PHASE 2: Intervention process

Once the neighborhood characterization phase is completed, phase 2 of the PIRB implementation begins, based on the Works Management Plan and a Social Management Plan. In the Social Management Plan, four areas of intervention were defined: participation and organizational strengthening; community welfare; public space and environment; identity and culture.

During this phase, it is expected that the territorial tables and the CVD would maintain their ties by supervising and contributing to ongoing projects. This stage is currently in the middle of the execution process, so its completion is scheduled for 2013.

For El Equipo de Barrio, this stage has been very revealing of the positive progress of the participatory process, once the works have been materialized, the neighbors have gone from a demanding attitude to a collaborative behavior, internalizing themselves about the Program and committingly contributing to the process. Thus, Phase I was characterized by an organizational participation where its first CVD only had 15 members, in the last election it reached 300 members (2010). As the commitments assumed in the Neighborhood Contract are fulfilled, confidence in the Program is strengthened and progress is made towards strengthening citizen participation among the sectors.

In 2007, the works for the physical recovery and maintenance of the infrastructure were started, such as, for example, the repair and construction of pedestrian paths, streets, parks and sports areas, green areas, lighting and a new kindergarten. The program has also invested heavily in the re-articulation of the community by offering different workshops: training for educators to complement their training; training workshops for students and school directors in order to promote coexistence, the creation of conditions that allow the acceptance and value of it, respect for others, the acceptance of differences and the use of dialogue to resolve conflicts; training of community monitors in group work methodologies and techniques; contact and coordinated work with psychosocial care institutions and dissemination of the existence of these institutions and their services to the community; the support of the cultural organizations of Santa Adriana in their actions in order to strengthen the collective space with cultural activities, public art exhibitions; the generation of communication opportunities for the neighbors to recover the history and memory of Santa Adriana and with a view to publishing a book with their stories; the development of art workshops and artistic interventions in the public spaces recovered in Santa Adriana, as well as the strengthening of the management capacities of social administrators and new leaders in order to train them to carry out projects that improve the quality of life in Santa Adriana (Barrio Santa Adriana Team 2009). These processes are still ongoing.

On the other hand, the Technical Team acknowledges having made a mistake in the way of communicating and disseminating the Program at the neighborhood level, manifesting itself in a low number of applications in the first phases, but this has improved during Phase 2. For example, the Technical Team rendered accounts in front of the community (end of 2010), achieving that the neighbors were much more informed.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

By way of illustrating the progress achieved so far, the data obtained through a Survey carried out with the residents of Santa Adriana in July 2010 on the assessments of the Neighborhood and the Program are interesting. The results of the survey were compared with a census carried out on the same population in 2007. In this sense, for the purposes of this trial, three of the dimensions studied are selected.

  • General evaluation of the neighborhood: A better evaluation of the neighborhood in general and of its individual attributes in particular is perceived; conviviality, beauty and privacy are the most outstanding characteristics. The best rated elements are the streets and lighting. The best evaluated aspects of the neighborhood (score from 1 to 7) are Image of the neighborhood from 4.1 to 4.7, Coexistence from 4.3 to 5.1, Cleanliness from 4.1 to 4.9, Beauty from 4.0 to 5.1, Participation from 4.0 to 4.3 and Privacy 4.5 to 5.1.
  • Identity, coexistence and social relationships in the neighborhood: There is an increase in pride in the neighborhood from 32% to 36.3% (not proud: from 21% to 10.9%), in inter-personal trust (better disposition to relate to others) from 21.3% to 37.1% (they did not trust anyone: from 27.5% to 13.7%), and in greater responsibility in caring for the environment from 21.6% to 78.4%. The use of public spaces has also increased (64.9%) and 52.8% perceive that people are more united.
  • Security: 52.6% of those surveyed state that neighborhood security has improved, while 12.6% say it has worsened.
  • Evaluation of the management and the works carried out: The Program is evaluated positively, 52.4% see the management as good, 15.7 regular and 3.6% bad. There is also an improvement in the knowledge of the Program (58.8% have heard of it, against 49.2% in 2007), better evaluated works: paving streets and passages.

Drug trafficking and associated violence are still significant in Santa Adriana and many residents prefer the alternative of leaving the area or neighborhood entirely rather than working on their recovery. (Lunecke Reyes 2012) However, the Quiero Mi Barrio program and the work already carried out have shown some effect in the reconnection of neighbors and the creation of a community, showing the importance of the joint work of the state with the population in the improvement and maintenance of general well-being and quality of life of residents.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Santa Adriana represents an example of a participatory process that matures as social networks based on trust are built: the materialization of promises and the beginning of collective intersectoral activities.

The comparison of results between the 2007 Census and the 2010 Survey shows progress in the participatory process associated with trust in the Program, as the projects of the Neighborhood Contract materialize.

On the other hand, this type of experience should not neglect the design and implementation of communication strategies appropriate to the characteristics of the target population. A communication measure designed without taking into account the social and cultural weaknesses of the population, inevitably limits a highly representative call. This hampered progress, extending the duration of Phase 1. Currently the communicational difficulty is being addressed through more effective measures, generating empathy with the participatory culture of the neighborhood. For example, the rendering of accounts carried out in 2010.

See Also

Neighborhood Recovery Program "I Want My Neighborhood"


Aguirre, D; Bustos, C; Morales, N; Vio, A. (2009). Neighborhood Recovery Program: An experience of citizen urbanism, Social Work Magazine Perspectives, 20, 163-181.

Aguirre, D; Aravena, S; González, MA; Morales, N; Sandoval, A. (2008). "I Want My Neighborhood Program": Progress and Challenges. In: Social Issues, 60, 1-12.

Aguirre, D; Cuts. S; and González, A. (2007). General Program Guidelines. In, Morales, N, Aguirre, D; Bustos, M; Searle, M; Severino, F and Tarud, J. (Eds) Recovering Barrios de Santiago, (3-7). Santiago, Chile: Social Observatory of the Alberto Hurtado University.

Angle, L; Aravena, S; Cannobbio, L; Jeri, T; Jiménez, F; Rodríguez, A; Sandoval, A; Sugranyes, A. (2009). Institutional Monitoring and Analysis Study of the Neighborhood Recovery Program. Executive Summary. Santiago, Chile: SUR Professionals Consultants.

Opinion survey to neighbors I Want My Neighborhood Program, Santa Adriana Population. July 2010, Government of Chile.

Gerson Mac-Lean interview. Former Member of the SEREMI MINVU Technical Team, Neighborhood Recovery Program, Santa Adriana Population. May, 2011.

Barrio Santa Adriana team (2009). Social Management Plan. Ministry of Housing and Urbanism, Government of Chile. Digital access: http: // -...

Barrio Santa Adriana Team (2007) Technical Baseline Study Executive Summary Santa Adriana Population Lo Espejo Commune, SEREMI MINVU, Government of Chile.

Lunecke Reyes, GA (2012). Urban Violence, Social Exclusion and Ghettoization Processes: The Trajectory of the Santa Adriana Population. In: Invi Magazine, 74 (26), 287-313

Social Observatory (2007). Third Report Santa Adriana study of social and physical-territorial characterization of three critical neighborhoods of the Metropolitan Region I Want My Neighborhood Neighborhood Recovery Program, Alberto Hurtado University, Chile.

Searle, M. (2008). Santa Adriana, Las Viñitas and Villa Portales. In, Morales, N, Aguirre, D; Bustos, M; Searle, M; Severino, F and Tarud, J. (Eds) Recovering Barrios de Santiago, (12-35). Santiago, Chile: Social Observatory of the Alberto Hurtado University.

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