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Service Learning Project And Technology Transfer To Benefit Developing Communities

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Sustainable Engineering

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1121.1 - 11.1121.8



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Paper Authors


Martha Garcia-Saenz Purdue University-North Central

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Associate Professor of Building Construction Management. Engineering Technology Department. Purdue University North Central Campus.

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Maria Consuelo Garcia Alvarez Universidad La Gran Colombia

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Professor, Civil Engineering School, La Gran Colombia University. Bogotá, Colombia.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Service-Learning Project and Technology-Transfer to Benefit Developing Communities


This paper presents student’s experiences from a service-learning and technology-transfer project that helped a poor community in Bogotá, Colombia. The project connected science and technology to help solve the social issue of poverty. This paper discusses the student’s knowledge prior to the project and the impact the project had on students learning. Additionally, it will expand on the topic of student empowerment by making a difference in poor communities through the application of solar energy.


In 1997, 35.1% of the population in Bogotá, Colombia lived below the poverty level. By 2003, this statistic had increased to 52.3% due to population displacement from small, rural towns to urban areas. This displacement of population was primarily due to violence and people seeking to better their lives through improved jobs and educational opportunities.

Local government projections forecast a deficit of 500,000 housing units in Bogotá by the year 2010. At least 55,000 new housing units per year are needed to satisfy the current demand, maintain the current deficit, and avoid illegal activity by pirate developers. In the past, illegal activities have occurred when city authorities did not expand the city limit and new land to develop was in short supply. This led groups of displaced people to invade county land and pirate developers to sell land without utilities.

To solve the housing shortage, Bogotá’s authorities are doing two things. First, they created Metrovivienda, a company owned by the city to develop land within the city with all of the necessary utilities, recreational and social areas. Metrovivienda buys land and once developed it sells it to organizations, cooperatives and builders. Secondly, the federal and local governments are providing a one time subsidy for families that qualify for it. The subsidy was created in March of 2003 by the National Housing Fund (Law 555, 2003) and is based on the minimum monthly wage of US $150 dollars per month. If the house cost less than US $7,250, the subsidy is US $3,800 and if the cost of the house is between US $7,250 and US $12,700, the subsidy is US $ 2,500 dollars.

Housing is a complex concept that responds to one of the most basic necessities for a family. The housing structure offers lodging, shelter, protection, intimacy, satisfaction, and comfort. In every part of the world, it is known that humans need better quality of life where they can interact in a safe and comfortable environment. Government function is not to provide living space, but to specify the minimum requirements to guarantee quality of life, a comfortable space to interact with the family and other members of the community.

Garcia-Saenz, M., & Garcia Alvarez, M. C. (2006, June), Service Learning Project And Technology Transfer To Benefit Developing Communities Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--805

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