Former office now world’s tallest slum
Venezuela is a country that has seen real struggle during tighter economic times, despite having great opportunity in the form of vast natural resources. Currently boasting some of the largest achievable oil reserves in the world, the state is using much of this money to develop the country’s infrastructure. Sadly, Venezuela also boasts some of the worst crime figures in the world. It currently sits top of the table for homicides per capita and is constantly struggling with gang culture.
This crime rate has created some of the most difficult living conditions imaginable, as the population outgrows the housing available. With many having no place to call home, desperation is causing people to look for alternative housing.
El Torre de David, a towering 45-story skyscraper in the centre of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, is one of the most popular alternatives in the country. This building started life as a future hub for one of the country’s largest banks, but construction ground to a halt following the death of the developer. It then lay dormant for many years, as investors struggled to restart construction following the global banking crisis.
The building may have been forgotten by its investors, but it hasn’t been forgotten by the large population of Caracas, with over 65% of them living in slums throughout the city.
For the last 12 years, it has slowly become populated by people looking to build a community, which has helped make the building habitable. The building is complete with its own infrastructure and economy – residents pool money to maintain electricity and running water, and there are working stores, a church and even a gym located on the roof of the building.
Although much of the media has portrayed the structure as an incubator for crime, many feel it is a good alternative to the other surrounding slums. Until the government can address the shortage of housing, it’s clear this building will stand as a beacon to those looking for a better way of life.