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last updated: October 5, 2005


The colonisation of Madrid's periphery by rural immigrants from the rest of Spain during the 1950s is a unique situation in terms of quantity and poor quality of housing. Franco's regime built complete social housing neighbourhoods in these areas in order to palliate demand needs. They were called Minimum Absorption Towns or Poblados Mínimos de Absorción. Most of them were renovated or rebuilt under the restructuring process developed in Madrid since the 1980s (Plan de Remodelación de Barrios). This operation was financed by public funds and managed by the Instituto de la Vivienda de Madrid (IVIMA).

Located in the Eastern part of Madrid, San Blas was developed at the beginning of the 1960s under Franco's campaign of social housing. Two Poblados Minimos de Absorción were built them, structured in several eight-floor buildings. Although the project plan contained public equipment and green spaces, the reality was quite different: in fifteen years, serious structural problems were detected. Statistics about inhabitants denote 34,000 people in the whole district, of which six per cent is in a situation of extreme poverty.