International Habitat Encounter in Columbia 2007

NeivaAn international meeting in the city of Neiva the last week of September 2007 focused upon "The Internationalization of Cities", the principal theme of the academic part of the event. Parallel ten "best practices" were transferred and shared with ten areas or districts of Neiva. A team of 30 international specialists in different themes debated and discussed urban development with more than a thousand local inhabitants.

The EcoSouth Network was represented through Kurt Rhyner and Diego Coloma who portrayed the "Ecomaterials in Social Housing Projets" program that recently received the "World Habitat Award" with a project in Cuba. Through two plenary presentations, as well as demonstrations of micro-concrete roofing tile production, many people became interested in these ideas.

A city of 370,000 inhabitants in the south of Columbia, Neiva has a hot and dry climate. Fortunately the event occurred during a cooler week with temperatures around 30 degrees; the previous week the thermometer had climbed to some 40 degrees. Over many years Neiva has invested greatly in infrastructure, whether for automobile or pedestrian traffic. Movement is more fluid than in other cities of a similar size, and pedestrian and bicycle paths have created a friendly and humane ambience. It is interesting to discover that during its entire history Neiva has turned its back to the Magdalena river, but now it has built a pier in the form of a pedestrian park, with craft galleries, kiosks and restaurants. Life in the city appears to have changed, with a great flow of people both day and night. There are certain modest parallels with the pier in Guayaquil.


In the session about " Diversification and positionning of production in a solidary economy," Rhyner presented a conference about the impact small EcoMaterials production workshops have for local economies and in the session "Transfer of good practices," a conference that demonstrated the reach of the different technologies.

It was interesting to see how these themes linked perfectly with the other "Best Practices" presented, especially with the theme of "Architect of the the Community" presented in two applications, one by the director of the Cuban INVI, (national housing institute) and one by the president of the College of Architects of Urguguay.


In front of the convention center a stand was installed with posters explaining the different technologies, as well as a vibrating table to produce micro-concrete roofing tiles. While Germán Reyes de Cali, Columbia taught how to produce tiles, Diego Colomo from Riobamba, Ecuador, responded to the many questions about MCR and the other technologies exhibited. Among the visitors, groups of students alternated with entrepreneurs, architects and constructors, many of whom were able to try their hand at making a tile. Coloma was also interviewed by the local television and radio stations on various occasions.

It is hoped that these actions will yield fruit for the city of Neiva and the surrounding municipalities. It has been possible to interest many people during this event that was magnificently organized by Neiva and the Columbian Habitat Foundation, with which the EcoSouth Network has a cooperation agreement.

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Diego Coloma
Diego Coloma MachadoEcuadorean
Mechanic technician
Spanish, english
Installation, training and setup of workshops: MicroConcrete Roofing tiles, Puzzolanic cement, concrete precasts.


archidona ecuador

"Whatever you can find" is an architectural workshop, with communitary participation, from the Catholic University from Quito.
EcoSur network supports this workshop in Santa Rita community, near Archidona, Ecuador.

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