This photograph was taken in 2008 from a 64 story building in Punta Paitilla (Panama City). It was right before the big world financial crash, and Panama was living the construction “boom”. Somehow I still feel this photo represents strongly Panama City today, with all these constructions everywhere. Still, real estate construction never really stopped during the world crisis. Instead, it continued, even if slowly. I wonder how it will look like in 10 years!
Many poor families have been living for generations in most of Casco Viejo’s old [unrestored] buildings, and some of them are forced to leave their homes at a certain point, due to restoration needs and their costs.
Most of these buildings were abandoned by the owners who let them fall apart: these houses have received no maintenance for years (some of them up to around 40 years) and many of them became dangerous to live in.
It’s a hard reality in Casco Viejo, where most of its charm comes from these local residents and their lifestyle. When they leave their rented homes, the property is usually restored by the owner or promoter, and then sold or rented to someone with better financial facilities, since the cost of construction is now so elevated. Usually it’s a foreigner or, who just wants to have a beautiful colonial house in the Old District of Panama.
Unfortunately, the government doesn’t help much either to promote Social Housing in Casco Viejo, in order to maintain a higher percentage of locals living in the area.