Interesting Case Studies

An innovative element in the LAHN methodology was to select “interesting” cases that were identified from the random household survey of selected “innerburb” settlements. Here we sought to undertake and intensive case study of the households living on the lot or in the dwelling, membership of each, the genealogy of the pioneer household and the dwelling buildout over time. We also gathered materials in order to later prepare 3-D sketch-ups and photographic record of rooms and site, identification of major physical problems of the dwelling, etc.

The criterion of what constituted an “interesting case” was defined as selection of a household case that potentially would offer deep insights and understandings about key issues and challenges confronted: such as lot sharing with multiple family members and separate households; renting and subletting; inheritance conflicts and intestacy; remittances and dwelling build-outs; particular physical challenges (e.g. inundations or collapse), etc. Thus selection was purposive and two or three examples case were identified in anticipation that we might be successful in gathering intensive data and insights for at least one case. The aim was not to make generalizations, but rather to develop greater awareness of the underlying processes, views and expectations of stakeholders, and the trajectory of household(s) development to in site self-building.

Not all cities in the LAHN had the resources to undertake intensive case studies. However, we did apply this methodology to similar studies in Texas colonias (see Texas Colonias Database for access to various projects, reports and databases, as well as for a small number if intensive case studies that several of us conducted in Starr County).

As you review the case studies, please refer to our LAHN Cities section for further information about the methods and templates used, as well as a published paper about the methodology for intensive case studies. In each case an individual template was prepared and is presented in each folder. This describes the rationale for selection of that case, as well as providing a summary (with all metadata removed to mantain confidentiality).

Readers are permitted to use and reproduce materials contained in these case studies in their publications, theses and working papers, with the provision that full acknowledgement be given to the Latin American Housing Network and to the corresponding project leader for that particular city. If in doubt, or as a courtesy, please contact the lead author for permissions.