Dwelling characteristics

Rental units

Sharer units

References & Sources

Local names

Vecindades (Mexico)

Cortiços (Brazil)

Conventillos (Ecuador/Chile)

Cités (Chile)

Some small apartments for better-off & speculative pocket gentrification in older consolidated settlements (2+ bedroom plus integrated private services)

Allegados (Chile)

Arrimados (Mexico)

Lewis, 1966; Gilbert, 1991; Kowarick, 1994; Ward, 1998; Bonomo & Mondragon, 2013; Blanco et al., 2014; Avilés et al., 2015; Ward et al., 2015;

Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y Las Artes, La ruta del Cite, Chile;

Centro de Investigación social (CIS) Chile, 2017.


­ City center—traditional rooming houses, converted C18 & C19 mansions; C20 constructed

­ Intermediate ring and sometimes periphery also (older consolidated informal settlements)

­ Periphery and peri-urban (rentals of vacant

­ housing social interest housing estates)


In separate own home/dwelling

on lot (Mexico) or upper floor (Lima) or with on-site petty landlord (Bogotá)

Eyre, 1972; Gilbert, 1991; Ward, 1998; Clarke, 2006; Blanco et al., 2014; Howard, 2019


Small one or two roomed & cramped, but not necessarily overcrowded individually (because of small families). But variations here—overcrowding does occur.

Small; associated with high levels of overcrowding

(because secondary housing units with expanding households)

Gilbert, 1991; Ward, 1998; Clarke, 2006; Blanco et al., 2014


­ Services (bathrooms, laundry, etc.) shared between units and located in patio

­ Sometimes rental housing has modest services (individual shower/toilet)— usually where landlords develop as mini apartment

­ Access to services & infrastructure generally better for renters

Depends on owner situation

Clarke, 2006; Blanco et al., 2014; Ward et al., 2015


Often heavily dilapidated & distressed and less good building materials


Eyre, 1972; Hanson, 1975; Blanco et al., 2014; Ward et al., 2015; Stiphany, 2019