Builders Give Back: Los Castaños de Choloma

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Los Castanos de Choloma is a first-of-its-kind housing development, providing unmatched affordability and homeownership opportunities to Honduran families living in extreme poverty. The target market and virtually all of Los Castaños’ current residents earn between$350-$1,000 per month (1x-3x minimum wage).Thanks to inexpensive, long-term financing, vertically integrated construction, and innovative design features, the working poor in Honduras can now achieve the dream of homeownership. Los Castanos boasts public and semi-private recreational areas, youth development programs, a first-of-its-kind police community training center, the first and only bilingual public school in Honduras, and affordable, small-scale commercial space for entrepreneurs.

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The project size totals 3,629 residential units, distributed among 35 gated sub-communities within a larger gated community. Community design and planning draws upon principles of New Urbanism – such as connectivity and a mix of uses – and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) – such as public lighting and pedestrian circulation – to provide a safe and secure living environment within what is considered to be the murder capital of the world, according to Mexico’s Civic Council on Public Security and Criminal Justice, and the epicenter of the child migration crisis.

Individual homes are delivered with “rough finishes,” allowing residents to independently finish their homes, leaving the developer to focus its upfront investment on infrastructure and communal amenities. Unique design elements include an innovative dry stacked block building technique that utilizes compression rods to deliver a durable product that is comparatively less expensive than using mortared joints, and pavers strung together in large mats that can be placed into streets with cranes, reducing costs and accelerating delivery schedules. Within individual homes, sink-topped toilets conserve water by using fresh water from hand washing as greywater for flushing.

 

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