Caracas the informal city

In this documentary Rob Schröder portraits the created self-built constructions of six million inhabitants who live in the informal conditions of the barrios in Caracas.

Caracas: The Informal City is a portrait of a city that is rapidly becoming the prototype for the exploding urbanization witnessed above all on the African, Asian and South-American continents. Here, a completely new socio-political and architectonic reality has been developing. Shot on location in the barrios of Caracas, the slums where Commandante Chavez has his powerbase, this documentary provides a unique perspective on the practice of the informal city.

Over the last decades, Venezuela's capital has been a powerful magnet, drawing in millions of migrants. Now, more than four out of its six million inhabitants live in self-built constructions in the informal conditions of the barrios where the only law that counts is the law of self-preservation.

In Caracas, the most dangerous megacity on the South-American continent, petrol is cheaper than water, yet the rich spend billions of dollars on private security only to end up behind their own barbed wire fences. As the concept of the city disintegrates, as the architect Rem Koolhaas claims, it is up to architects to come up with answers. That is exactly what architects Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner are finding in Caracas; for them, the practice of the informal city points forward to architecture's only possible future: a renewed commitment with the potential of a city built by its inhabitants.

Director: Rob Schröder
Producers: Submarine and VPRO Backlight (Ymke Kreiken and Judith van den Berg)
Editors in chief: Doke Romeijn / Jos de Putter / George Brugmans