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Tierra Nueva Farm Labor Housing
Alamosa, Colorado, USA 2005

 

The development of new settlement types for workers has always seen an overlap in social-reformist and economic interests. Taking demographic change into account, a current initiative by the Colorado Rural Housing Development Cooperation is focusing on migrant agricultural laborers from Latin America— granted they have a residence permit. An alternative to nomadic life in cars and trailers is offered in the form of inexpensive rental apartments and terrace houses with plenty of room for the whole family in four-room, single-story duplex apartments or threeroom maisonettes. Keeping the migrant laborers locally situated is also meant to maintain spending power in regions hard-hit by rural exodus, a crucial factor for the municipal authorities. The controlled appearance of the social housing buildings is intentionally conformant to the single-family-house composition of the surrounding area so that the market value of the neighboring lots is not compromised—a common philosophy in the U.S. and one adhered to by the Hope VI program. This achievement in conformance is viewed by many residents as an opportunity to move up the social ladder.

 

Angelika Fitz

 

Terrace houses for migrant laborers


architects:
Faleide Architecture Studio

 

 

 

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Foto: © Lee Bey, 2008

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Migrants No More Alamosa, October 2008

 

The life of a migrant farmworker in Colorado’s San Luis Valley is typically exhausting, hardscrabble, living in shelters, and traveling up to one thousand miles a year to chase the labor—and pay—that comes with each growing season in the region and in neighboring New Mexico.

 

But things are easier for the people of Tierra Nueva, a housing development in Alamosa, Colorado. The US$4.1 million, thirty-seven-unit complex of rental townhouses and two-story apartment buildings provides a permanent home for the workers toiling in the southern Colorado valley and their families. Rather than living in cramped temporary housing, or automobiles, Tierra Nueva residents have a colorful, scenic community that is within twenty miles of the area’s agricultural businesses.

 

Tierra Nueva is part of a larger ongoing effort in Colorado to build housing in the area that would attract, and retain, much-needed workers to the region. The state’s agriculture business is a US$7 billion a year industry, with much of that revenue coming from the fertile San Luis Valley where the city of Alamosa and Tierra Nueva are located. Providing clean and comfortable housing makes for a better worker—and it’s not a new concept. In the eighteen-nineties, American railroad car builder George Pullman built a model town for his workers just south of Chicago. Sir Titus Salt in the eighteen-seventies created the village of Saltaire to provide quality housing for employees of his textile mill near Bradford, England.  ...

 

Lee Bey

 

for entire text see catalogue


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