2023-2024 Finalist

Rodrigo Bueno: Climate-Resilient Housing

"Inclusive housing, resilience and economic opportunity"


Housing Institute of the City of Buenos Aires


Other Contributors

Co-financed by both national and local governments and a loan by the Development Bank of Latin America and Caribbean-CAF


Buenos Aires, Argentina


Residents of Rodrigo Bueno were physically and socially disconnected from adjacent neighborhoods and the urban economy, with precarious housing, hazardous flood risk, multi-dimensional poverty and lack of access to basic urban services.

The Big Idea

A participatory process between residents and the city to socially, economically and physically integrate the neighborhood with the wider city, achieved through secure and improved housing, neighborhood planning upgrades, integrated economic opportunity, and ecological preservation.

Life Changing Impact

Hundreds of new energy-efficient homes for thousands of residents, greater protection from climate risks due to planning upgrades and ecological protection, and new economic opportunities through housing subsidies and integrated economic programs.

Ripple Effect

The participatory, resilience-focused development process is part of a transformative housing program impacting over 70,000 people across Buenos Aires.

In Buenos Aires, the capital and most inhabited city of Argentina, the city’s Housing Institute tackled the challenge of providing safe, climate-resilient housing to informal settlements through a voluntary process. The Rodrigo Bueno climate-resilient housing project demonstrates that participatory, resilience-focused development can integrate housing security, economic opportunity and ecological preservation.

Buenos Aires experiences significant inequalities in access to decent housing and is pocketed by villas – informal, dense settlements that first appeared in the 1930s. Villas have grown over time into communities of vibrant, often self-organizing and self-advocating groups. However, most have almost no access to urban services and are marred by high poverty, crime and drug problems. Informal settlements are also heavily impacted by climate hazards due to their high densities, non-code compliant structures and lack of resources to recover from damages.

For more than 10 years, legal battles between residents of Rodrigo Bueno and the city raged over efforts to displace and evict residents. In 2016, a new government led to a strategy for upgrading the villa based on principles of equality, spatial justice, integration, social inclusion and non-discrimination.

In 2017, a new city law initiated the Rodrigo Bueno project, leading to intensive public consultation efforts by the Housing Institute, gradual construction of eight new blocks of multi-family dwellings and residents voluntarily moving into the new units.

The “historic neighborhood” of original self-built dwellings is still part of the community, occupied by families who have chosen to not move into new developments. Many of these homes have received structural and service upgrades (the process is ongoing) along with the entire neighborhood receiving paved streets and house numbers, further aiding in the formal integration of residents into urban life.

Through mixed-use development, 57 new retail spaces have been created, largely reserved for local businesses. There is also a plant nursery run by women residents, and a “gastronomic patio” where visitors to the adjacent Costanera Sur ecological preserve can stop for food from a variety of vendors.

The integration of Rodrigo Bueno is a part of a portfolio of slum integration projects across Buenos Aires impacting over 73,000 people across four neighborhoods. The concurrent projects share the same integration methodology.

There is no prior existing relationship between the project and WRI. For full disclosure, please visit here.

By The Numbers

2,600+ people benefit from new or improved housing and amenities

3,500,000 people benefit from the Costanera Sur ecological preserve

611 new energy efficient homes, featuring solar-powered water heaters

8 new streets constructed between new and old parts of neighborhood

57 new commercial spaces