PARTICIPATORY INTEGRAL UPGRADING IN LATIN AMERICA: The Importance of Participatory Practices for Urban Upgrading Programmes

by Rico Susana Restrepo

Institution: Technische Universitt Darmstadt
Year: 2017
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2222116
Full text PDF: http://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/6900/


The proliferation of informality in the past four decades has affected the formulation of urban policy and poverty reduction strategies in Latin America. Informality expanded throughout Latin America in the 1980s, providing shelter to the urban poor in the shadow of economic crises and market liberalisation (Zanetta 2001; Abbott 2002; Moser 1995). The reaction of Latin American governments to the growth of informality was to implement poverty reduction strategies focused on eviction, then evolving to sites and services and the shelter approach. The results of these anti-poverty policies evidenced the inefficiency of relocation strategies. The objectives of relocation strategies of addressing only the problem of shelter while neglecting the real causes of urban poverty and informality resulted in the strengthening of informal actors in cities. Informality covered the basic needs of the urban poor for shelter, public services and employment, but at the same time it increased their vulnerabilities and stigmatised the informal residents. In the late 1980s, the changes in legal frameworks and decentralisation initiatives in many countries in Latin America encouraged the formulation of more holistic urban upgrading programmes which also consider social development and citizens rights as important factors for improving the quality of life in informal settlements. In the 1990s emerged the enablement approach and with it the Integral Approach including legalisation of tenure, spatial improvement, and social development (Brakarz & Engel 2004; UN-Habitat 2016, p.94). The Favela-Bairro in Rio de Janeiro is an example of the integral approach, and The Proyecto Urbano Integral in Medellin is one of the descendants of the Favela-Bairro (Rojas 2011; Clichevsky 2006). The programmes reduced vulnerabilities of informal populations and acknowledged the right to housing of the urban poor, while the spatial projects improved the conditions of the built environment. However, the dependence on political will that characterises these programmes along with the changes in the local governments resulted in the disengagement of the municipality from the responsibilities for project completion and maintenance. The Favela-Bairro and the Proyecto Urbano Integral are considered best practices in in-situ urban upgrading in Latin America. This research has selected these two programmes as case studies for identifying the main objectives, components and results of implementing the integral approach. Understanding the planning processes in these case studies led to the identification of a lack of participatory practices in the formulation and implementation of integral upgrading programmes as the main obstacles for project completion, as well as the reasons for the deterioration of project results. Therefore, the emphasis of this research is the analysis of the participatory practices within the planning and implementation process of the programmes, in order to understand the obstacles for participatory urban upgrading. The researchAdvisors/Committee Members: Rudolph-Cleff, Annette (advisor), Peterek, Michael (advisor).