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Building/Project Details

Building/Project NameUrbanización El Paraíso Construction / refurbishment date01/05/2019 Building/Project Size12,767.91 sqm
Building/Project Typeresidential multi unit Address 12-01 12th Street Valparaíso Antioquia 56030 Colombia Region americas

Performance Details

Health and Wellbeing

Existing buildings or developments that demonstrate outstanding performance in improving the health, equity and/or resilience of people in local communities.

Other Achieved Certification Scheme and Level: Nivel excepcional en Sostenibilidad Cinco Estrellas by Certificación Casa Colombia (CCCS) Verification Year: 2020

Tell us your story

El Paraíso is a social housing project that achieved high environmental standards, with excellent community flourishing and habitability characteristics. This project, located in a small city in Colombia, is an example of residential development designed to enhance local community life quality. El Paraíso resolved a large part of the quantitative housing deficit in the municipality, a notable result in Colombia, where the housing deficit for people of lower socio-economic status is approximately 35%. This project allowed its residents to become homeowners, achieving financial sustainability with adequate access to subsidies and mortgage loans. 

Habitability and Comfort 

El Paraíso obtained the highest score in the ‘Wellbeing’ category of the CASA Colombia Certification. The housing units and buildings have natural ventilation systems, guaranteeing thermal comfort in a region that reaches temperatures around 27°C all year. These ventilation characteristics prevent diseases caused by factors such as indoor air pollution and mold. The housing unit’s design improves the residents’ quality of life through natural lighting and ventilation systems. 

Most of the residents are homeowners (67%) of their housing unit. The project allows and encourages the residents to improve the interior design of their house, a condition that differs from most social housing projects where changes are not allowed. 

Community and Connectivity 

El Paraíso is located on the main municipal transport route and is within walking distance of various service facilities and the central park. The project is proposed as a new municipal centre due to its generous open spaces for social interaction, recreation, and commercial areas. Also having an ecological trail for the enjoyment of the entire community. 

Within El Paraíso, there is an area for an urban agriculture project, benefitting the project and the community by contributing to financial sustainability. This is also planned as an initiative for food and nutritional security in the future. 

The project contributes to developing technical and financial capacities, and increase of local population participation in the project’s construction. Through the National Learning Service (SENA) and the CESDE Academic Institution, the project had 26 people from the local community training and participating in the project. 

Through a social strategy called SYMA CULTURE, leadership skills and community organisation processes are developed. These skills contribute to developing security conditions, a sense of belonging, care, and protection of the acquired common heritage. 

Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change 

Recovery of the surrounding forest and the Yalí creek. Planting native species adapted to local conditions, adding ecological corridors that promote natural diversity to the internal landscaping. The care of the Yalí creek, the respect for its hydric ground and the reforestation processes will generate the conditions to adapt better to possible flood events in the rainy season. 

Differentiated networks for domestic wastewater and rainwater, prioritising green areas and built rainwater infiltration and storage strategies to reduce peak flows and preserve the water balance. 

The project rated 100% in the flood risk mitigation criteria from extreme weather events. It meets earthquake resistance criteria, exceeding those required by Colombian law for this type of project. 

Resource Efficiency and Circularity 

With appropriate practices in block-cut modulation, classification, and proper maintenance. More than 688 tonnes of CDW have been reused and have contributed to the project’s landscape enrichment. 

99% of waste diverted during construction, and more than 18,000 tonnes of solid waste material recycled during the construction phase and the first operational year, with 100% organic waste composted. The waste collection system, with classification at the source, has allowed the use of more than 7.1 tonnes of organic material during the Project’s construction and first year of operation. 

Passive and active energy efficiency measures lead to housing unit energy efficiency of 18.95% [ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standard], with 25% reduction in water consumption through efficiency measures.

Economic Accessibility

The Project has created local jobs and contributed to the sector’s formalisation. El Paraíso generated 120 formal jobs, with high diversity and equal employment opportunities, directly linked by the company. Within the new jobs created, 20% were people over 55, 25% were under 25, 10% were indigenous, 5% were women, and 3% were disabled people.

For 91% of homeowners at El Paraíso, this was their first home. 15% of the collaborators of the project became owners of the houses they were building. 

SYMA conducted workshops for the local community on financial capabilities, saving strategies, and mortgage credit. Families with incomes of less than $15 USD a day can access the benefits of the social housing policy; therefore, SYMA guided and supported the families in their application for housing subsidies from the national and departmental governments, and family compensation funds.

Mortgage instalments were obtained on a very low average of USD 68.3, while the rental value ranges from $91 USD, which means savings of surplus for the owner families.

Colombia has a maximum value of social housing of $30,733 USD. However, the total value of the housing in the urbanisation project was just over $25,000 USD, ensuring the construction costs were accessible to the local market.


Recognised by Construimos a La Par awards for the Women in Construction category. 

National Camacol Corporate Social Responsibility Award – Best Environmental Management programme 2022 – Integral Habitats in the Province. 

CASA Colombia Certification Exceptional Level of Sustainability – 5 Stars. 

Winners of the Corantioquia Sustainability Seal in Category A. 

More information and awards:

Submitter's Details

OrganisationDeveloper:  SYMA Consultores y Constructores S.A.S. Beneficio de Interés Colectivo “BIC” Member of GBCConsejo Colombiano de Construcción Sostenible (CCCS)