Terra Infirma: Critical Studies of Land and Housing

Meeting | April 9 | 5:30-6:30 p.m. | 370 Wurster Hall

 College of Environmental Design

Assessing Housing Quality in Bogotá: The Universidad de los Andes’ Housing Observatory and the path toward the housing industry’s adoption of quality indicators

With Jaime Gómez, PhD candidate, UC Berkeley Architecture

Come join the conversation on housing and land rights with colleagues and invited guests!


Since 2006 the Universidad de los Andes’ Housing Observatory has been developing housing quality indicators for Bogotá´s housing market. As of today, over 1,000 housing projects have been evaluated, half of them social housing. The observatory’s ultimate goal is to produce a widely-known comparison template that allows home buyers in Colombia to make well informed decisions. Although since its beginnings the observatory has worked closely with one of the leading construction companies in Bogotá, getting the housing industry’s interest has been a difficult task. Moreover, the observatory has yet to find a better way to socialize its quality indicators among home buyers. This presentation tells the story of the observatory, its housing quality indicators, its failures, and the task of convincing the housing industry to change its paradigm of quality.


Jaime Gómez is a PhD candidate in Architecture at UC Berkeley. He holds a professional degree in architecture from Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) and a MArch II from McGill University (Canada). Before enrolling the PhD program he was a full-time professor in the Universidad de los Andes’ Department of Architecture where he also directed the university’s housing observatory.


Terra Infirma speaks to the fractured and unstable nature of the human relationship with land in urban contexts. Through engagements with cultural studies, social theory, and the humanities, this group brings together students and faculty interested in, or otherwise concerned with, the critical study of land and housing.

This talk is organized by the Townsend working group Terra Infirma together with the Latin American Cities working group, and it is sponsored by the Townsend Center for Humanities, Center for Latin American Studies and Global Metropolitan Studies.