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Summer School House

Summer School House

The social housing configuration that we will refurbish this summer is located in the popular district of Bonfim, in Travessa Campo 24 de Agosto.

The summer school house is currently occupied and includes a total of approximately 70m², divided on two floors. A spacious backyard, covering 33m² plus a 13m² terrasse are part of the property. The place needs complete renovation and lacks of the most basic housing conditions, such as access to running water or sanitary facilities.

The house is part of a so-called ilha (island), which is a typical kind of housing that emerged in the city of Porto in the late 19th century for the working class citizens. The industrial uprising of Porto caused a high demand of houses, not least because of the mass migration of people from the rural areas of Portugal during this time.

An ilha is usually configured in rows of small houses, connected by a long corridor with one main entrance from the street. The street facing side has usually a width of 5.5m and a typical ilha has a length of approximately 100m, whereas the first 30m are being occupied by the landlords residency, usually a big privately owned house. There are different types of ilhas, including generally between 8 and 20 dwellings. Each house is approximately 16m².

The high density of the habitat makes it nowadays impossible to get a renovation or construction licence from the authorities without expelling a lot of inhabitants. For this reason, the Junta de Freguesia do Bonfim cannot make use of public subsidies to intervene in these contexts.

The average number of inhabitants per house is 2.1 people, usually occupied by 53 years old couples without children (study from 2000, As “ilhas” do Porto, Estudo Socioeconómico, ed. Câmara Municipal do Porto). These houses are mostly rented by social disadvantaged people with a low educational level, and the average rent is 85 euro per month. The condition of these houses is often very problematic, since most of them do not have sanitary facilities nor a supply of running water. Health problems, such as asthma, high blood pressure or heart conditions result from the poor hygiene standards and are not uncommon among the inhabitants.

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