Women, immigrants and youth: forms of informal access to habitat in the city

Abstract The urban settlements population in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (Argentina) grew a significant 52.3%, between 2001-2010, according to the National Population, Household and Housing Census 2010. Part of this process was manifested by the proliferation of an informal market of rental rooms offered for women, immigrants and young people in precarious situation, which provides access to a home in the lack of housing options via the formal market. Based on a survey of 5 slums and in-depth interviews with key informants (public officials, neighborhood referrals and academics), this article is a sociological approach to understand the socioeconomic profile of the tenants, the living conditions of the rented spaces and the characteristics assumed by the commercial dynamics of those involved in this informal market. We hypothesize that most of the effective demand for informal rental market in slums comes from those with most vulnerable profiles and without access to the habitat in the city – which combine class position, gender, migratory and intergenerational dynamics. This is a consequence of neoliberal urban policies that favored the deregulation of the formal land market and encouraged the informal, causing, in the latter, greater socio-spatial segregation on an intra-neighborhood scale.