This article gives an overview of housing and environmental problems in the metropolitan area of Mexico City. It describes the history of attempts to encourage participation in two particular cases, and discusses the basic elements of the methodology used to conduct these processes.
Exploring the potential for primary environmental care: rapid appraisal in squatter communities in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
This paper discusses the methods of collecting information in a field study carried out in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) a suburb of Salvador. The study was part of a training exercise for students of the "International Course for Primary Health Care Managers at District Level in Developing Countries" based in Italy. The study also aimed to explore the potential for Primary Environmental Care and identify ways by which the local health district could support squatter communities. A rapid appraisal was carried out in three squatter communities. Secondary data was analysed, life history interviews were conducted, a "risk map" was drawn in which local participants geographically located problems, focus groups and ranking, key informant interviews, ten institutions with an interest in environmental issues were interviewed, and a feed-back meeting was held for all community members. It is concluded that RRA is well suited to study fast-changing environments, a potential danger of the exercise is taken to be undue expectation-raising of the local community. Finally "microplans" are introduced as a possible means of making RRA action oriented. Five pages are devoted to illustrations arising from the exercises.
Discusses the methods of collecting information during a field-study carried out in Brazil, in the health district of Pau da Lima. It was intended to provide a learning experience for students as well as to explore the local potential for Primary Environmental Care (PEC) and to produce a number of recommendations to local bodies. Possible actors, conditions, means and resources to promote PEC within the Pau da Lima district were investigated. PEC integrates three components: empowering communities, protecting the environment, and meeting needs. The first step was a preliminary identification of present and future potential actors in PEC in the Pau da Lima district. A Rapid Appraisal (RA) was conducted in three squatter communities within the district, focusing on felt problems; interests and priorities in PEC; forms and conditions of community organisation; and instances and conditions of community-based action. Methods used include: review of secondary data, informal disucssions with informants, direct observations, laboratory analysis of water samples collected during the observation walks, life history interviews, focus groups and ranking exercises, semi-structured interviews. While the study found the RA methods useful, it suggested that they may not be sufficient to identify community-based solutions to specific problems. The techniques in "Making Microplans" (Goethert and Hamdi 1988) provide an example of how this action-oriented phase could proceed.
This paper considers the suitability of a housing project in Cordoba, Argentina for poor women-headed households. The project was designed to rehouse squatters who occupied land needed for public works. The paper considers the planning and the implementation of this project and examines the extent to which women-headed households participated in the project, documenting a considerable number of "hidden" women headed households. The objectives of the research were to make women and their needs visible, and to contribute towards developing a greater understanding of how women are affected by social housing policies directed at the poor urban sectors. Research methods used include interviews with women heads of households and key informants. The paper concludes with recommendations on how housing and human settlements policies can become gender-aware.