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In Pictures: Housing in Old Havana
Many of the capital's historic buildings are in a dangerous state of disrepair.
Last updated: 25 Jan 2014 10:32
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Since Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982, many buildings have been restored - and though the work continues, critics say the emphasis remains on preserving key buildings rather than improving the lives of the majority of the people who live here.

While certain buildings are fixed to a high standard, the vast majority of homes remain in a dangerous state. Age, decay, neglect, over-crowding and amateur repairs combine with natural factors to threaten the stability of Havana's Baroque, Neoclassical and Art Deco buildings. There are two or three partial or total building collapses in Old and Central Havana every week. And residents have no choice but to continue to live in the rubble.

Seven out of every 10 homes are in need of major repairs, according to official statistics. Some of the main issues faced by Havana's denizens are dangerous, including outdated electrical wiring, basic or even nonexistent plumbing, unstable floors and walls, collapsing ceilings, water damage, mould and unstable stairs.

A shortage of homes means the province around the capital needs some 300,000 more properties.

Most of the once high-ceilinged houses of Havana have been divided both vertically and horizontally to provide more floor space. This puts the already weakened structures under additional strain. It also creates many dwellings with no windows or ventilation.


/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

A crumbling ceiling and staircase in Old Havana.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

Fuse boxes in the entrance of a building in Old Havana. These worn and outdated fuse boxes are dangerous and can be seen in the entrances of most of the buildings in Havana.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

The Capitolio seen from the roof of the former Hotel Bristol in Central Havana. This 1930s hotel was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Former employees of the hotel then decided to live in the building. Every available space is being used, even the shaft of the broken elevator, while the empty and cracked roof-top swimming pool is being used as a kitchen.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

The view from an apartment in the former Hotel Bristol in Central Havana.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

Many homes in Cuba have a Santeria shrine. The walls in this room are marked by a combination of mould and smoke from the almost constantly lit candles.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

A man smoking a cigar is standing next to a building that has completely collapsed. The building next door is still standing and people continue to live and work there.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

A communal hallway of a house in Old Havana. These loose hanging wires can be seen in most of the buildings of Old and Central Havana.



/Alison McCauley/Transterra Media

This building, which houses numerous families, is being supported by metal poles.



Follow photographer Alison McCauley on Twitter: @mccools


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images:
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captions:

A crumbling ceiling and staircase in Old Havana.

;*;

Fuse boxes in the entrance of a building in Old Havana. These worn and outdated fuse boxes are dangerous and can be seen in the entrances of most of the buildings in Havana.

;*;

The Capitolio seen from the roof of the former Hotel Bristol in Central Havana. This 1930s hotel was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Former employees of the hotel then decided to live in the building. Every available space is being used, even the shaft of the broken elevator, while the empty and cracked roof-top swimming pool is being used as a kitchen.

;*;

The view from an apartment in the former Hotel Bristol in Central Havana.

;*;

Many homes in Cuba have a Santeria shrine. The walls in this room are marked by a combination of mould and smoke from the almost constantly lit candles.

;*;

A man smoking a cigar is standing next to a building that has completely collapsed. The building next door is still standing and people continue to live and work there.

;*;

A communal hallway of a house in Old Havana. These loose hanging wires can be seen in most of the buildings of Old and Central Havana.

;*;

This building, which houses numerous families, is being supported by metal poles.

Daylife ID:
1fc03f702a2bb75ec64247dc55234b0e
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media;*;Alison McCauley/Transterra Media
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
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