Who am I ?

Learn more about Hurbanity’s founder, Melanie Lutz, and the birth of the social enterprise.
Mélanie Lutz has always had the soul of a “builder”. This state of mind allows her to move from an idea or a conviction to their realization.

“Conquer yourself and you will conquer the world” – Gautama Buddha.

Tattooed on her arm, this quote is her life drive. Following this philosophy, she always kept in focus her teenage project: working in the humanitarian field.

Committed to building the future of women and men

Construction manager in Switzerland for 5 years

As a construction manager, during five years at one of Switzerland’s leading construction companies, Mélanie Lutz has developed her skills in the construction of commercial buildings and housing. She worked in particular on a complex of 5 buildings, including 3 historic ones, or 25’000m2 in the center of Geneva for the UBS bank. Working in a predominantly male job, she learned how to manage teams and collaborate with different trades.

Cooperative civil engineer in Nicaragua for 2 years

While working as a construction supervisor, she keeps in mind to go to Central America to support a Swiss NGO Eirene, which organizes exchanges with its local partners. She concretizes her dream in 2016 with the Roncalli Juan XXIII Association in Nicaragua. This association allows economically disadvantaged families to have access to decent housing. In Nicaragua, she accompanies civil engineers and foremen to improve site monitoring and construction quality.

A new diploma and 7 month trip to South America

Melanie sees families on a daily basis fighting for worthy housing and asks herself a lot of questions about the notion of dignity. She wonders if dignity stops at the door of the house, and what is the impact of housing on our evolution as a citizen?
Her conclusion is that dignity extends to other spheres of life than housing alone. She thinks that dignity is about having access to life opportunities.
She then graduated a new diploma in Development Policies and Practices, in parallel with her mission with the NGO. To confront her vision of housing worthy to reality, she goes to meet communities in South and Central America for 7 months.

Production of the documentary “Podemos vivir juntos?”. Sebastian Contreras and Mélanie Lutz interview Liliany Obando, ex-FARC, and Daira Quiñones, mother of a displaced family from Tumaco. In front of the camera, they wonder if they could live together. April 2019, Colombia.
 

The UNICEF-UCA volunteers group organises entertaining activities with the children of the primary school in Nindiri, to remind them that playing and having fun are part of their fundamental rights, as children. August 2017, Nicaragua.

After collecting school material, the UNICEF-UCA group distributes exercices books, pencils and scholar books to the students of the primary school of Nindiri. October 2016, Nicaragua.
Mélanie Lutz and one part of the Association Roncalli Juan XXIII’s building team, the day they finished the construction of 20 houses for the housing cooperative Manos amigas, in León. December 2016, Nicaragua.
An emocional housing delivery for Margine and her daughter, in Sebaco. Construction site Associación Roncalli Juan XXIII. July 2017, Nicaragua.
Presentation of the housing model and its construction material, built by Asociación Roncalli Juan XXIII, for the future residents. Organization of the community to create a management committee. April 2017, Nicaragua.
Construction site in progress… Asociación Roncalli Juan XXIII, May 2017, Nicaragua.
Encountering residents of the housing project Ciudadela MIA, in Quibdo. May 2018, Colombia.
Visiting the self-build co-operative housing Fe e Esperanza. May 2018, Guatemala.
Visiting the self-build co-operative housing ACOVIAMET and ACOVICUPA. February 2017, El Salvador.
Thesis project presentation. January 2018, Switzerland.
An afternoon with Cristina and her daughters. A family who’s living in one of the 35’000 houses of the biggest brazilian favela, Rocinha. January 2019, Brazil.
In Lima, the housing cooperative Virgen del Carmen del Quinto Patio never stopped fighting against the new metro line, and could build their houses. August 2017, Peru.
Living in the suburbs of Bogotá city is not easy every days. Even so this family fights daily to improve its neighborhood. June 2018, Colombia.
The cooperative housing Fe e Esperanza, in front of their houses. May 2018, Guatemala.
An emotional encountering in Pasto, with this community made of displaced families, victims of the colombian armed conflict. June 2018, Colombia.

Hurbanity, a social enterprise for housing and property development : an innovative and integral concept.

It was after this journey that Hurbanity was born. Its vocation is to help the human, by anchoring its roots in the social entrepreneurship, while maintaining a flexibility in its concept, and by integrating the local actors.

Manuela Brasil Cabral

– Arquiteta e Urbanista Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro –

A Melanie me foi apresentada pelo professor orientador do meu trabalho final de graduação, o Wagner. Ele acreditava que nossas pesquisas eram semelhantes e que meu trabalho podia contribuir com o dela.
Quando nos encontramos no Rio, numa cafeteria, Melanie já tinha lido sobre minha pesquisa e projeto, e me falou que o trabalho descrevia o conceito da Hurbanity em vários pontos, sobretudo, na idéia de produzir habitações com diversidade social, mais próximas as redes urbanas centrais de comércio, serviços e transporte, e portanto sociedades mais justas.
Me impressionou com quantas pessoas a Melanie já tinha conversado, sua pesquisa foi a fundo em entender nossa realidade, em diversas partes do país.
Fiquei muito feliz de ver a correspondência dos nossos trabalhos e a materialização pelo olhar empenhado e dedicado da Melanie em fazer tudo isso acontecer.

A Hurbanity responde a debates in voga internacionalmente sobre habitação, pois promove a diversidade social e compreende a moradia como célula de desenvolvimento laboral e social do indivíduo. Dessa forma, dialoga diretamente com as necessidades atuais das nossas cidades.

O conceito da Hurbanity aproxima o indivíduo das redes urbanas e promove o contato social deste com a cidade. Além disso, possibilita a busca por terrenos mais centrais, pois se baseia também num plano econômico de desenvolvimento e assim, pensando na realidade brasileira, teríamos menos bairros sazonais (que funcionam exclusivamente durante o dia e se esvaziam durante a noite) e, portanto, mais seguros.

 

Ricardo Del Rosario

– Head office Organization of American States (OAS) –

Para mí Hurbanity es una empresa con corazón de organización social y un llamado de atención a quienes nos dedicamos al mundo humanitario para transitar desde el taller hacia lo concreto. Es una rebeldía que busca derribar muros de indiferencia para construir comunidad. Hoy Melanie Lutz nos hace repensar la sostenibilidad desde lo cotidiano, lo urbano y, sobre todo, desde lo humano.

Patricia Carron

– Program Manager Eirene Suisse –

Mélanie a collaboré deux ans avec notre association Eirene Suisse comme volontaire ingénieure civile auprès de l’association Roncalli Juan IIXXX au Nicaragua. Elle a accompagné brillamment notre partenaire dans sa réflexion pour passer d’un statut d’ONG à celui d’entreprise sociale. En plus de ses compétences en ingénieurie civile, Mélanie a aquis des connaissances poussées en ce qui a trait à l’entrepreunariat social, lors de ses études et sur le terrain. Mélanie est passionnée par les thématiques du logement social et du bien être des personnes. Curieuse, elle est allée à la rencontre de nombreuses communautés qui font face à des problématiques de logement en Amérique latine, afin de mieux connaître leur réalité. C’est une personne fiable, qui tient ses engagements et met toujours tout en action afin d’atteindre les objectifs qu’elle s’est fixé. Infatigable, je suis certaine qu’elle mettra toute son énergie dans la réussite de ses projets et d’Hurbanity.

Antonio Ezequiel Morais

– Membro da coordenação estadual do MNLM (Movimiento Nacional de Luta pela Moradia) –

Ao me encontrar na cidade de Porto Alegre com a representante da hurbanity Melanie conversamos sobre a realidade brasileira sobre acesso a cidade e como cada vez mais se torna insustentável a vida nos grandes centro .
E a importância de arranjos econômicos e sociais para o acesso a moradia se faz nessesario e por isso acredito e tenho quase que certeza que a proposta hurbanity de conciliar uma transição entre a incapacidade de hoje o estado brasileiro de resolver o problema de moradia no Brasil, leva a hurbanity através de parcerias ser o meio real de solução para famílias que não tem como adquirir um imóvel e criando também a aproximação entre as classes sócias em uma real vivencia coletiva .

Laure Vivé

– Field officer chez Mission de vérification des Nations Unies en Colombie –

Hurbanity est avant tout un projet novateur, car c’est une entreprise sociale qui oeuvre pour construire une société plus humaine, en cassant les codes de la ségrégation sociale et en tissant des communautés solidaires et durables. Mélanie, brillante conceptrice d’Hurbanity, qui allie professionnalisme et engagement social, a su s’entourer de partenaires locaux pour mener à bien ce projet. En Colombie ou ailleurs, c’est un outil concret qui apportera sa pierre à l’édifice de la construction d’un paix territoriale, où la déstigmatisation et la réconciliation émergeront progressivement de cette promotion du vivre ensemble.

Get in touch with us, and get involved.

To join a Hurbanity community is choosing to take advantage to improve his everyday’s life. It’s living in a dignified house, benefiting from a model that builds and strengthens the social relations of the community, by benefiting of vocational training and of the opportunity to develop his own business activity to improve his everyday’s conditions of life and the one of his family.
But you can also get involved in Hurbanity helping with her financial development.

Sentier des saules, 1205 Genève, Suisse

carrera 5 #26a -47, Bogotá, Colombie

Tél.: +41 78 613.99.56

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