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Latin American Urban Development into the Twenty-first Century: Towards a Renewed Perspective on the City


  • Dennis Rodgers

    (University of Manchester, UK)

  • Jo Beall

    (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

  • Ravi Kanbur

    (Cornell University, USA)


This article argues for a more systemic engagement with Latin American cities, contending that it is necessary to reconsider their unity in order to nuance the ‘fractured cities’ perspective that has widely come to epitomize the contemporary urban moment in the region. It begins by offering an overview of regional urban development trends, before exploring how the underlying imaginary of the city has critically shifted over the past half century. Focusing in particular on the way that slums and shantytowns have been conceived, it traces how the predominant conception of the Latin American city moved from a notion of unity to a perception of fragmentation, highlighting how this had critically negative ramifications for urban development agendas, and concludes with a call for a renewed vision of Latin American urban life.Cet article plaide pour un engagement plus systématique avec les villes d′Amérique Latine, en faisant valoir qu′il est nécessaire de nuancer les visions de « villes fracturées » qui sont actuellement largement prédominantes, et reconsidérer les contextes urbains du point de vue de leur unité. Il commence par offrir un aperçu des tendances régionales en matière de développement urbain, avant d′explorer la façon dont l′imaginaire sous-jacent de la ville a évolué au fil du dernier demi-siècle, en se focalisant particulièrement sur la manière dont le phénomène des bidonvilles a été conçu. Plus particulièrement, il retrace la façon dont la conception dominante de la ville latino-américaine est passé d′une notion d’unité à une perception de fragmentation, tout en soulignant que ceci a eu des conséquences critiques et négatives pour la notion du développement urbain dans la région. L’article conclut en conséquence avec un appel à une vision renouvelée de la vie urbaine latinoaméricaine.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis Rodgers & Jo Beall & Ravi Kanbur, 2011. "Latin American Urban Development into the Twenty-first Century: Towards a Renewed Perspective on the City," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 23(4), pages 550-568, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:23:y:2011:i:4:p:550-568

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tranchant, Jean-Pierre & Mueller, Catherine, 2017. "Gendered Experience of Interpersonal Violence in Urban and Rural Spaces: The Case of Ghana," MPRA Paper 79533, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Du The Huynh & Richard B. Peiser, 2016. "From Spontaneous to Planned Urban Development and Quality of Life: the Case of Ho Chi Minh City," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 1357-1377, December.

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