Imagine a skyscraper meant to hold all the employees of several large financial and banking institutions. Imagine postmodern architectural designs and intricate technologies. Now imagine the construction of this building was halted. Imagine the skeleton of this skyscraper left standing, empty and unfinished, next door to buildings that house businesses and corporations, in the heart of a bustling metropolis.
Now imagine the Tower of David. Located in Caracas, Venezuela, the Tower of David is the world’s tallest slum. The third largest skyscraper in Venezuela, the unfinished Tower of David is home to over 2,500 people, referred to by the Venezuelan government as as “squatters,” people who occupy an abandoned area.
Construction on the tower began in 1990, before stopping abruptly in 1994, when a banking crisis resulted in a widespread government takeover. Today, the Tower of David has become a separate community, with residents abiding by a set of laws outside of the jurisdiction of Venezuelan authority.Without access to basic amenities, occupants improvise access to necessities such as water and electricity, while going about their daily activities in a 45-story building without an elevator. Ordinary tasks, like shopping for groceries or visiting the (unlicensed) dentist, all occur inside the Tower’s walls.
Without outside intervention, the residents of the Tower of David have carved out a place for themselves in this abandoned structure. To the rest of the world, the skyscraper may seem to be nothing more than the world’s tallest slum–but to the people living there, it is a home.
Thanks to VocativVideo for the glimpse into the Tower of David
– Sagar Jay Patel