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New dimensions of social exclusion in Latin America: From gated communities to gated cities, the case of Santiago de Chile


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Over the last 30 years, one can perceive growth towards sociospatial exclusion in Latin American cities with more than 80,000 inhabitants. Gated communities, hermetically sealed off from their surrounding neighbourhoods by walls and sophisticated security installations, have emerged in nearly all Latin American cities. It started with the closure of streets, went on with the construction of high-rise apartment blocks and resulted in gated neighbourhoods (“barrios cerrados”) of up to 150 or even 200 houses. The tendency towards social exclusiveness and inward orientation for family homes is to be seen as an element of Latin American tradition. Within such a perspective, the enclosures could have been taken for a cultural relic as well. However, over recent years, mega-projects have been launched that, due to their size of more than 300 ha and some 10,000 of inhabitants, can no longer be called “quarters” or “neighbourhoods” but must be understood as new towns. In Santiago de Chile the new trend resulted in the construction of private highways linking several exclusive quarters or cities, accessible not to the public but only to the citizens of these districts. This new development can only be interpreted as a result of globalisation and neoliberalism.
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Land Use Policy 25 (2008) 153–160
New dimensions of social exclusion in Latin America: From gated
communities to gated cities, the case of Santiago de Chile
Axel Borsdorf
, Rodrigo Hidalgo
Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Instituto de Geografı
a, Pontificia Universidad Cato
lica de Chile, Casilla 306-Correo 22, Co
digo Postal 6904411, Macul, Santiago de Chile, Chile
Received 22 November 2005; received in revised form 13 July 2006; accepted 13 April 2007
Over the last 30 years, one can perceive growth towards sociospatial exclusion in Latin American cities with more than 80,000
inhabitants. Gated communities, hermetically sealed off from their surrounding neighbourhoods by walls and sophisticated security
installations, have emerged in nearly all Latin American cities. It started with the closure of streets, went on with the construction of
high-rise apartment blocks and resulted in gated neighbourhoods (‘‘barrios cerrados’’) of up to 150 or even 200 houses. The tendency
towards social exclusiveness and inward orientation for family homes is to be seen as an element of Latin American tradition. Within
such a perspective, the enclosures could have been taken for a cultural relic as well. However, over recent years, mega-projects have been
launched that, due to their size of more than 300 ha and some 10,000 of inhabitants, can no longer be called ‘‘quarters’’ or
‘‘neighbourhoods’’ but must be understood as new towns. In Santiago de Chile the new trend resulted in the construction of private
highways linking several exclusive quarters or cities, accessible not to the public but only to the citizens of these districts. This new
development can only be interpreted as a result of globalisation and neoliberalism.
r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Social segregation; Social exclusion; Gated community; Urbanisation; Latin America
Introduction, problem and methods
Latin American cities—and not just the large agglom-
erations—are undergoing a dramatic restructuring process.
Previously, public space is being sectioned off and
accessible only to a few. New residential quarters are being
erected behind high walls and fences, with sophisticated
security measures. Shopping centres and business parks are
equipping themselves with similar or even more perfect
security mechanisms and are making sure that undesirable
‘‘elements’’ cannot gain access. This privatisation of
previously public space is accompanied by sociospatial
segregation processes that, unlike in former years, no
longer create a spatial divide between a ‘‘rich town’’ and a
‘‘poor town’’, but rather ‘‘islands’’ (Janoschka, 2002b,in
the title) of the rich and islands of the poor within the
urban organism itself. Such enclaves of the rich are often
seen as archipelagos of the globalisation winners (Svampa,
2001) and many commentators identify globalisation
and neoliberalism as the real causes of these phenomena
(de Mattos, 2002).
Current urban development in Latin America is char-
acterised predominantly by an increased sealing off of the
residential quarters. This sealing off has therefore been
rightly taken into account in models of today’s urban
structure and has been identified as a new phase of Latin
American urban development of the last 500 years
(Borsdorf et al., 2002).
It must be said that it is not just the social classes with
the highest income that enclose their quarters but also the
middle and lower classes. One can even find individual
marginal quarters, surrounded by a fence with guarded
gates, for instance in Pen
alolen, Santiago de Chile’s largest
shanty town.
As yet no one term has been agreed on for the
phenomenon. In Latin America, expressions such as
condominios, urbanizaciones cerradas or conjuntos cerrados,
0264-8377/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +43 512 507 5400; fax +43 512 507 2895.
E-mail address: (A. Borsdorf).
Author's personal copy
fraccionamientos cerrados and others are common, with
different terms being linked to different legal definitions.
The segregation of private territories from public space is
of course a problem in all countries, with jurisdiction
reacting in quite different ways. A general term that is
gaining currency is barrio cerrado—closed residential
quarter—denoting a set-up of at least two residential units
surrounded by a wall or fence with separate security
systems (cf. Borsdorf , 2002b). This covers both vertical
units (apartment blocks) and horizontal units (quarters of
individual family residences). Often the term barrio privado
is used synonymously (Janoschka, 2002b; Janoschka and
Borsdorf, 2005).
During the period of import substitution-led develop-
ment strategies ending in the 1980s, one of the distinctive
principles of Latin American cities was the strong
polarisation of urban spaces. Differentiation in social
status was heavily bound to location within the city.
Urban space was divided into polarised sectors creating a
strongly differentiated rich city and poor city (Gilbert,
1998). This changed during the last two decades. Settle-
ments of poor and rich people moved closer to one another
due to the occupation of suburban and formerly poor areas
by high-income populations. Poor families also installed
themselves in abandoned, formerly homogeneous, middle
and upper class districts. This process has been accom-
panied by a stronger delimitation of small areas (micro-
neighbourhoods) often accompanied by private security
services. This helps explain the function of gated commu-
nities in Latin American cities. They are homogeneous,
highly segregated and protected areas allowing the middle
and upper classes to co-habit increasingly scarce space
(Borsdorf, 2003b). They are re-shaping the physical and
social ecology of urban space (Sabatini et al., 2001;
Parnreiter, 2004). They have become the new mod el of
Latin American urban agglomeration (Janoschka and
Glasze, 2003).
For a long time, the phenomenon of fencing in certain
areas did not receive any attention in urban geography
research. However over the last 5 years, various research
groups and individuals have taken up the subject
(cf. volume of essays Cabrales, 2002 ). Many issues are still
the subject of great controversy and thus being continu-
ously developed, for instance questions of causality (result
of globalisation: de Mattos, 2002 versus culturally im-
manent phenomenon: Borsdorf, 2002), of classification
(Kohler, 2002; Borsdorf, 2000; Hidalgo and Bor sdorf,
2004) or of modelling (Borsdorf et al., 2002; Borsdorf,
2003a versus Mertins, 2003).
One of the reasons for this situation is the fact that
empirical resear ch into this phenomenon is still in its
infancy. Up to now, complete databases of all enclosed
quarters wer e only available for Quito (Kohler, 2002, 2003)
and Mexico City (Kanitscheider, 2002). This gap has now
been filled for Santiago de Chile, where a complete
georeferential database of all condominios and ciudades
valladas has been drawn up within the framework of a
common research project (Fondecyt 7040113) and accom-
panying nationally funded projects (FWF 14883 and
Fondecyt 1030472). The methodological framework is
documented in Borsdorf et al, (2006). For the actual
research the database was complemented by numerous
interviews with local authorities and urban developers.
What has emerged here is the fact that the capital of
Chile is about to make a quantum leap in the development
of enclosed quarters. Until recently they were confined to
smaller and medium-sized areas of up to 100 or at the most
150 residential units. Now residential quarters of the size of
towns are being erected. They can no longer be called a
barrio cerrado (closed residential quarter), but must be
termed a ciudad vallada (fenced-in town).
In Santiago de Chile Ciudades Valladas are under
construction in the communities of Colina and Lampa
(north of the core city), but more are planned in other
peripherical areas, thus countermining the thesis of the
predominance of ‘‘large scale segregation’’ (social housing
projects, depending from low building site prices, are only
realised in the periphery, segregating the poor far away
from the city centre and the rich close to some preferred
communities) against ‘‘small scale segregation’’ ( ¼ social
fragmentation) (see f.e. Sabatini, 1998; Sabatini and
ceres, 2004, Fischer and Ja
ger, 2004). It will be
demonstrated that in recent years the processes of
fragmentation are gaining more and more importance,
thus transforming the traditional model of large scale
segregation in form of the dichothomy of a ‘‘rich’’ and a
‘‘poor city’’.
On the basis of this research and taking into account the
findings of field work in individual quarters, we wish to
investigate whether the emergence of mega-projects—such
as had previously been encountered only in mega-cities like
o Paulo (Alphaville: Po
hler, 1999; Coy and Po
hler, 2002)
and Buenos Aires (Nordelta: Janoschka, 2002a, b) with
over 10 million inhabitants (cf. also Caldeira, 2001; Torres,
1998; Svampa, 2001), and that are now also springing up in
the Chilean capital, which, at 5.5 million inhabitants, is
considerably smaller—does not point to a dramatic
development that is no longer partly rooted in indigenous
culture (as the authors were trying to prove only recently
(Borsdorf, 2002; Borsdorf and Hidalgo, 2004, 2005))
but can only be explained as the result of globali-
sation processes. However, it must be stressed that by
now gated communities are also being built in medium-
sized and smaller Latin American cities (Toledo et al.,
Unlike in other countries, walled residential quarters did
not start to spread in the Chilean capital until the late
1980s (cf. Borsdorf, 2000; Meyer and Ba
hr, 2001)—despite
the fact that Chile was the first Latin American country to
open up to neoliberal models of the economy in 1973 or
1974 and to this da y counts as a paragon of neoliberalism.
This makes the speed of this development—unlike the
situation in Sa
o Paulo or Buenos Aires—f rightening: in
only two decades the tendency towards sociospatial
A. Borsdorf, R. Hidalgo / Land Use Policy 25 (2008) 153 –160154
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exclusion has grown stronger and now results in the
construction of whole towns that are inaccessible to the
public. This article aims to close the existing gap in
research on this phenomenon.
Gated communities–a result of globalisation and
One of the preconditions for worldwide globalisation is
commonly understood to be the transition from Fordism
to post-Fordism that has been observed since the 1970s.
Flexible production methods, internationalisation of in-
vestment capital and a new division of labour count as its
distinguishing marks (cf. Parnreiter, 2004). Within the
traditional ‘‘ind ustrialised nations’’ this has brought on
de-industrialising mechanisms and increasing tertiarisation
at a high level, particularly for business-orientated and
internationally tradable services (Marcuse and Kempen,
2000; Sassen, 1994, 2003). National or regional, cultural or
mental interests and peculiarities are dwindling under
pressure from globalisation.
Within an urban context—but not confined to it—the
mutually conditional and supporting processes of globali-
sation and (neoliberal) deregulation have eroded rules,
norms and later also planning and building regulations.
Under economic pressure, zoning plans and spatial
development plans could be repealed, as could acts of civil
law. The ‘‘rule of recognition’’ (Garzo
n Valdes, 1994)of
the legislature had never been very strong in Latin
America, and since then respect for the law has virtually
disappeared. Plans can be changed or abandoned at any
time, the market in plots is completely free, unrestrained
speculation rules, formerly accepted norms are being
trampled on (Harvey, 1989).
The city—represented by urban politicians, urban
administration and urban planning—has ceded agen cy to
private or individual economic actors. What has got lost in
the process is the ‘‘total view’’, fragmentation and
segregation ensue. The rule of the ‘‘world’’ over nation
and municipality is reflected in the stylistic idiom of the
architecture: ‘‘UFOs’’ are landing—malls and shopping
centres, but also office blocks or business parks can be
described as ‘‘unidentified flying objects’’, given their
futurist architecture, their limited functional life in one
place and their coincidental localisation (cf. Schumacher
and Koch, 2004, p. 59). ‘‘Clones’’ are being put up—family
residences in Texan style, Tennessee style or other
transmitted shapes appear cloned. International brands
are ubiquitous in restaurants and shops (cf. de Mattos,
2003). These artefacts are what makes globalisation so
obvious. One must not overlook the fact that they can of
course make use of regional peculiarities. Incorporating
churches into very secular functional units of globalisation,
as has been done in Chile or the Philippines, can be
interpreted as one such, albeit rather cosmetic, concession
to regional culture (Salcedo, 2003). Such adaptations are
also necessary with regard to the legal system, where the
global model is homing in on unoccupied spaces and niches
and is forced to adapt somewhat as has been shown in
several comparative studies (cf. Borsdorf, 2002a).
The influence of real estate capital on the city is of course
nothing new (Capel, 2002). However, until the 1970s it was
subject to the regulations of the urban administration
and did not make such a massive appearance. Thes e days,
large projects are important players in the urban power-
game and have created space for themselves within which
they are able to act in very flexibly in economic, political
and spatial terms.
Gated communities and their creators in Santiago de Chile
Until the 1970s, residential building in the Chilean
capital was characterised by four different organisational
private, individual building by the inhabit ants (often
carried out by families), characterised by great varia-
bility of building materials and shapes,
social housing, with ready-to-use residential units, units
that were to be finished by the residents and even units
to build yourself, characterised by standardisation of the
building units,
rented housing. Not very wide-spread today, renting
and subletting flats, rooms and in former times even
beds, plays a certain role among lower and marginal
shanty towns, some standardised with one-room-houses
made of wood (so-called mediaguas), others varying
greatly in building materials and shapes, more even than
in the districts of the autoconstruccio
With the exception of social housing, the actors were
mainly individuals who were restricted in their actions by
the reglemented urban market in plots, by urban planning
and by the legislation. In 1979, a ‘‘National policy on
urban development’’ was proclaimed that revoked the
concept of urban space as a ‘‘scarce resource’’ and
potentially freed all open spaces for development, leaving
the land prices to the forces of the market. One could have
expected that the sudden abundance of building space
might have caused the land prices to drop, but powerful
urban development companies acted immediately. They
bought up land wherever possible, also with speculative
intent, and had the opposite effect: land prices rose
Another result was the fact that those urban districts
where there were large reserves in building plots and the
price levels were therefore low compared with other
districts became prime targets of development and building
activities of the developers. Overall, a patchwork of newly
built quarters with some concentration in peripheral
districts emerged.
The fragmentation was exacerbated by sociospatial
segregation: the new units were walled in and secured,
A. Borsdorf, R. Hidalgo / Land Use Policy 25 (2008) 153 –160 155
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hence even the super-rich could settle in Barrios Cerrados
that were surrounded by poor neighbourhoods. This
muddled the formerly clear separation of Santiago into a
‘‘rich city’’ and a ‘‘poor city’’. Today one cannot make any
guesses from the address to the income level of a
With deregulation of the market in building land and of
urban planning, the real estate sector developed into a
motor of the national and also the urban economy. As
‘‘key industries’’, the real estate and building sectors today
are extremely dynamic industries with strong multiplica-
tory effects on the added value and the employment in
other sectors too (cf. Romero and Toledo, 1998).
The newly creat ed development companies are often
vertically integrated: either they themselves or a subsidiary
company buys the land, develops it, builds on it, distributes
it and eventual ly sells it. Large profits are being made and a
lot of it is reinvested, thus further encou raging the building
boom. The city has become the playing field of these
actors. They define urban policy and urban interests to a
considerable degree.
In the beginning, the real estate companies had Chilean
associates. This changed in the mid-1990s when more and
more US, Mexican, and Spanish investors appeared on the
scene and, sometimes on their own, sometimes in joint
ventures with national partners, gained a foothold in the
building sector. The most important are Habitaria, a joint
venture of the Spanish Ferrovial group and the Chilean
Luksic group, and Geosal, also a joint venture of the
Mexican group Geo and the Chilean Salfa. A third
powerful actor is the Pulte company, which since 1999
has been fed by Chilean and US capital (Hidalgo, 2004).
Habitaria, Geosal and Pulte have since developed mainly
mega-projects at the urban periphery on an ever-larger
scale. The first Barrios Cerrados created by them already
contained more than 100 residential units. They were
erected in Pen
alolen, La Florida, Puente Alto, San
Bernardo and Huechuraba, i.e. in urban districts formerly
considered part of the ‘‘poor city’’.
At the same time the real estate companies also spotted a
big opportunity within the peri-urban and the rural areas.
There the law forbids the subdivision of agricultural land
into units smaller than 5000 m
, but since the act no. 3516
of 1980 came into force, building is allowed on such plots.
This led to marketing the so-called parcelas de agrado for
very rich people who wanted to build and did indeed erect
houses on these huge plots, perfectly developed and
secured by the real estate companies. This affects mainly
the communities of Pirque, Calera de Tango, Padre
Hurtado, Lampa and Colina, as they are situated on the
edge and sometimes just outside the metropolitan area.
The barrios cerrados with such parcelas de agrado clearly
have a specu lative aspect too, since the owners of the
land trust that their plots will be declared building land
in a few years or decades and can then be divided and
resold at high prices. But for the moment there is a large
reservoir of half-hectare plots. Between 1994 and 2002
alone, 156,251 plots of this size have been created by
division in the districts mentioned above. However, the
census of 2002 lists only 9943 houses on these plots.
From gated communities to gated cities
Over recent years, mega-projects on quite another scale
have sprung up in greater Santiago and its northern
neighbouring province Chacabuco. Future sites, hermeti-
cally sealed off from their surroundings just like the smaller
barrios cerrados, will offer residence for up to 30,000
inhabitants on at least 300 ha per site. Overall, the plan is
to build residential units for 300,000 people. Due to their
enormous spatial demands, such mega-projects can only be
realised in peri- urban districts. The main difference to the
classic barrio cerrado, apart from size (between 1000 and
5000 residential units), is the comprehensive provision of
central services not normally found in such peripheral
locations. They are not ‘‘central’’ in the classic sense, i.e.
orientated to providing for a larger incoming area, but
available exclusively to the inhabitants of the ciudades
valladas. Added to the exclusion from public space, this
exclusive provision with goods and services marks the most
decisive break with the idea of the city.
In Buenos Aires such a massive estate is already in
operation. Nordelta is designed for a population of 80,000
(Janoschka, 2002a), Alphaville near Sa
o Paulo is planned
for 30,000 (Coy and Po
hler, 2002). We now want to take a
closer look at the Chilean mega-projects of the Ciudad
Vallada type.
The legal basis for developing mega-projects of the
ciudad vall ada type was laid with the creation of the
so-called conditioned urban development zones (Zonas de
Desarrollo Urbano Condicionado, ZODUC). They have a
minimum size of 300 ha and wer e defined in 1997 within the
inter-communal development plan of Chacabuco province.
This means that such ZODUCs can be created in the
communities of Colina, Lampa and Til-Til in the north of
the metropolitan region. No fewer than 130,000 ha have
been earmarked for urban development, albeit not just for
residential buildings. Still, a large number of plots—42,247
in Colina, 22,253 in Lampa and 15,554 in Til–Til—were
designated and promise very lucrative business for the real
estate companies, since the neighbouring communities in
the north border on the more affluent residential quarters
of the metropo litan area. The ZODUCs are intended for
people with high incomes.
The optimism of the developers is based on the dynamics
that could and still can be observed south of Santiago.
There, as far ba ck as 1994, brisk development on parcelas
de agrado in the communities of Pirque and Calera de
Tango caused these communities, which do not fall under
the administration of the metropolitan region, to be
included in the development plan of Greater Santiago
(Plan Regulador Metropolitano de Santiago)(Poduje and
ez, 2000). Something similar could happen in the north
once the new mega-projects have been completed.
A. Borsdorf, R. Hidalgo / Land Use Policy 25 (2008) 153 –160156
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For the agricultural plots the minimum of control
afforded by the plan regulador seems to be an urgent
necessity. There can be no doubt that such wasteful use of
space with a very low density of development makes no
sense either economically or ecologically (cf. Hidalgo et al.,
2003a, b). Avoiding such a prospect will have played a part
in the decision of Chacabuco province to allow large urban
projects on such land. As precondition for the development
of ZODUCs, the density of development was prescribed as
well as a minimum of infrastructure that had to be
provided by the development companies. This is to ensure
among other things that here a density between 60 and 125
inhabitants per hectare will be achieved unlike in the
parcelas de agrado with a population density of 10 ha.
A median of 85 in h ha is intended (Poduje and Yan
2000), but individual projects can reach a higher density
(e.g. the Hacienda Urbana Larapinta with its relatively
small residential units, see Table 1).
Given the scale and the orientation towards a relatively
narrow market sector, i.e. that of the affluent, one must
question whether such optimism is justified. The continuing
trend among the affluent to flee the city supports the view
of the developers. This trend is one of the reasons why the
metropolitan population today grows more slowly than the
overall population of Chile. The developers also bet on a
certain reverse trend away from the large plots of the
parcelas de agrado, which, because of their size, are labour
intensive to maintain and difficult to protect despite all the
security installations, to smaller, easier to keep urban
fortresses, which are more secure because of the closeness
of the neighbours and offer considerably better provision
in the vicinity of one’s home.
The private road Pie Andino was only completed in 2003
and links the area of Chicureo and the ciudades valladas
planned or under construction there with the upper-class
districts of La Dehesa/Lo Barnechea, thus creating a direct
and private interface with the affluent residential areas.
Numerous other private tracks are being planned, for
instance an Autopista Nororiente, which is to link the
traditional upper-class residen tial district of Vitacura with
Chicureo via a long tunnel.
These roads, inaccessible to the public, are selling
propositions for the developers of the ciudades valladas in
the north. The first of these mega-projects is Piedra Roja,
the destination of the new road, with more projects to
follow (see Fig. 1 for localisation). All of them have
optimistic and glossy names: Hacienda Chicureo, La
Reserva and Terrazas de los Co
ndores. Table 1 lists the
current projects in Chicureo and La Dehesa, i.e. in the area
where province and metropolitan region overlap.
In Piedra Roja a man-made lake with marina, a riding
club, a golf course but also schools, service and shopping
centres are planned. Large investors from the retail sector
have expressed their interest, for instance the hypermarkets
Lider (D&S) and Jumbo (Condesud). If these market s can
really be successfully established within a closed, exclusive
residential area that is not open to the public, it would
mean a new dimension of economic exclusion, sealing
poorer sections of the population off from specific facilities
of provision and consumption.
Table 1
Mega-projects north of Santiago de Chile (Lo Barnechea, Lampa and Colina)
Project name Hacienda
Piedra Roja Valle Norte La Reserva Las Terrazas de
los Condores
Hacienda Urbana
Developer Immobilaria
Immobilaria Manquehue Fernandez
Wood, ECSA,
Almagro S.A.
Manquehue &
Location Chicureo Chicureo Chicureo Chicureo La Dehesa km 14, Camino
Community Colina Colina Colina Colina Lo Barnechea Lampa
Total area 1600 ha 730 ha No information No information
Number of plots 440 12000 No information 5000 560 8500
Size of plots (m
) 1224–4820 700–900 700–1000 700–5000 No information 200
Living space of
the houses
From 320 m
170, 189, 193, 223 and
227 m
140–193 m
No information No information 55–96 m
Timeframe of
No information 20 years No information No information 8 years 25 years
Infrastructure Golf and riding
10 schools, 2 uni-
versities, 9 sports centres,
17 shopping centres, 2
hospitals, 5 places of
worship, man-made lake,
school, club
Tree nursery,
currently 100
pilot houses
No information Shopping and
service centre,
electricity cable
Transport links Private road Pie
Private road Pie Andino Private road
Private road Pie
Andino, A.
Vespuccio Expres
Private road Pie
Colectivos from
the city centre
Investment 50 million dollars 1.8 billion dollars No information No information 140 million
No information
A. Borsdorf, R. Hidalgo / Land Use Policy 25 (2008) 153 –160 157
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Fig. 1. Gated communities and gated cities in Santiago de Chile, 2005. Elaborated by the authors on their own database.
A. Borsdorf, R. Hidalgo / Land Use Policy 25 (2008) 153 –160158
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There can be no doubt that the new dimension of
sociospatial exclusion and segregation in Santiago de Chile
can no longer be explained with reference to cultural roots
and mentality. The creation of private roads and motor-
ways accessible only to privileged residents, of towns on a
scale of medium-sized European cities that are out of
bounds for the public, creates large self-sufficient ghettos
that are taken out of the public space and the state as an
Parents have a legitimate desire for a safe residential
environment. The wish to secure property and to
protect life and limb is understandable too, but the
question remains whether it is permissible to privatise
public space on such a scale with reference to these justified
Here there is a decisive role for the state, which is being
undermined by these developments and reduced in its
sphere of influence. Deregulation and neoliberalism have
evidently weakened the normative force of the state. It
shrinks, wherever it is put under pressure, from the strong
economic actors who, in the Chilean case, have an
impressive track record in reducing unemployment, raising
demand and stabilising the currency. Gated communities
and gated cities are a challenge for urban planning, but
they are also, along with privatization of public spaces, a
challenge for social policy.
However, the large developers and real estate companies
have not been owned by Chileans for quite some time.
Usually they are joint ventures of Chilean, North-American,
Mexican, Brazilian or Spanish enterprises. They think and
act globally and therefore the latest developments in Chile
must be interpreted as results of globalisation. This does
not mean to say that their overwhelming success is not—as
claimed elsewhere—facilitated by cultur al traditions in the
It is hardly surprising that the so-called ABC states
Argentina, Brazil and Chile are the bearers of innovation
here. Due to their size and/or economic might but also
because of their openness for neoliberalism they are
predestined to serve as playgrounds of international
The new development trends prove the thesis that the
former polarised structure of a rich and a poor city (large-
scale segregation) is changed to a much more fragmentated
model: New cities for the rich are rising in the periphery
and ‘‘barrios cerrados’’ are now spreading out all over the
metropolitan region.
Patterns of segregation in small and large scale in Latin
American cities have, since they began to grow rapidly
during the last decades, been marked by lack of effective
urban planning. Neoliberalism and deregulation may have
weakened urban planning, but the main fact is, that I have
put more resources into private developments. It is the
greater ease with which foreign capital can invest and
private urban developers can act, but it is the creation of a
very affluent class, who have the money to buy luxury
accommodation and services.
This is not a phenomenon concentrated to Chile, but it
must be taken into consideration that this state is
characterized by high levels of income inequality. The
new service class earns a great deal and creates a market to
entice real estate speculation.
This research was funded by FONDECYT (Chile) N
7040133, N1 1030472 and FWF (Austria) N1 . 14883.
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... However, other world regions such as Latin America have shared the same interest in proximity, as demonstrated by the case of Chile (Steiniger et al., 2020;INE, 2021). In Chile, a highly unequal country in an unequal region (Borsdorf and Hidalgo, 2008;Dobbs et al., 2019), accessibility to urban opportunities is related to the socioeconomic level of the population (Vecchio et al., 2020), as well as urban green spaces (Krellenberg et al., 2014). While more than 80% of Chile's population is concentrated in cities, inhabitants often lack walking access to urban green spaces (Steiniger et al., 2020(Steiniger et al., , 2021. ...
... The concept of proximity is nothing new, but the pandemic has once again shown the importance of being able to get to relevant places within short spatial and temporal distances, reducing travel times and the risk of contagion associated with the use of public transport or long times spent in closed public spaces. The concept of a 15-min city has been widely discussed, especially in relation to European cities, where compact form and mixed land use facilitate the promotion of proximity; however, in expansive and segregated cities such as those found in Latin American, proximity is more difficult to promote and only available to few, often affluent areas (Borsdorf and Hidalgo, 2008;Steiniger et al., 2020; see for example Guzman et al., 2021). Nonetheless, mid-sized cities may prove more suitable for the promotion of proximity-based urban planning strategies: not only their limited dimensions reduce the distances to be covered, especially for peripheral areas, but their specific socio-spatial patterns do not necessarily reflect the same forms of segregation as found in metropolitan areas (Vergara and Salazar, 2021). ...
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Urban green spaces have shown to be beneficial for the physical and mental wellbeing of the general population—which particularly holds true during an unprecedented, stressful situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In urban settings characterized by structural inequality, scarce access to green spaces in a neighborhood can affect the wellbeing of its inhabitants and lower overall resilience of a community. Assuming that the effects of confinement and working from home produce an increased demand for recreational and sports activities, this paper looks to assess the level of preparedness and accessibility of green spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, considering individual and public measures to avoid contagion. The assessment is carried out through an online exploratory survey and accessibility calculations that are applied to two Chilean cities with a Mediterranean climate, Talca and Chillán. The study considers the quality of green spaces based on (i) official statistics and (ii) a questionnaire directed toward residents. We found that high-quality urban green spaces are accessible to residents of both cities, but rather limited in December 2020 due to low levels of preparedness. Considering the qualities of existing urban green spaces allows for a more precise estimate of their contribution to the wellbeing of neighborhoods, and consequently facilitates better recommendations for urban plans and policies.
... La mayoría de las inversiones se han dirigido hacia los nichos de mayor rentabilidad, a escala interurbana o intraurbana. En este último caso, algunos sectores de la ciudad -espacios centrales, zonas residenciales de mayor calidad en la periferia, renovaciones del centro, costaneras-pasarían a atraer con más fuerza a los inversores, en un proceso que se ha expandido desde los países anglosajones hacia el sur de Europa y Latinoamérica (Borsdorf & Hidalgo, 2007;Janoschka & Sequera, 2016). ...
... El primero hace referencia a la ciudad latinoamericana como mestiza, en tanto resultado de la superposición de distintos modelos (agroexportador, desarrollista y neoliberal), lo que se reflejaría tanto en el agravamiento de las desigualdades sociales, económicas y territoriales gestadas en los años noventa, como en la fragmentación a causa de la creciente selectividad territorial de las inversiones inmobiliarias y productivas. El resultado sería un modelo altamente desigual, similar al referido anteriormente (Borsdorf & Hidalgo, 2007;Janoschka & Sequera, 2016), pero que incorporaría la herencia de los modelos anteriores y la idiosincrasia de las ciudades de la región (Ciccolella, 2016). ...
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El peso del sector inmobiliario en la economía y el crecimiento urbano es un tema que ha atraído crecientemente la atención de los investigadores. Sin embargo, la mayoría de trabajos provienen de Europa, Estados Unidos y, recientemente, de las principales ciudades latinoamericanas. Este artículo contribuye a cubrir la ausencia de estudios sobre la red de ciudades secundarias de esta última región. Con tal fin, desarrolla un análisis e interpretación de las dinámicas de crecimiento urbano en el Área Metropolitana de Concepción (amc) en Chile, contextualizándolas entre procesos generales y especificidades locales a partir del estudio de sus procesos, mecanismos y morfologías. Se utiliza para ello una metodología cuantitativa-cualitativa que recurre al análisis espacial y entrevistas en profundidad.
... In this way, most of the neighbourhoods for the middle and upper classes have been located on the periphery, promoted by a few real estate agencies in the form of condominiums with green areas and common services (op. cit.; Borsdorf and Hidalgo 2007). Another modality pointed out by the same authors has consisted of dividing agricultural land into plots of 5,000 square metres, called parcelas de agrado (rural residential properties), which allow the generation of individual dwellings on lands where construction is restricted. ...
This manuscript reviews the urban growth process in the Temuco-Padre las Casas conurbation (Chile) on indigenous land, highlighting three topics of great interest. First, the ability of legislation to regulate the protection of indigenous land. Second, the role played by the real estate sector as the main protagonist of urban expansion on indigenous land. Finally, the subsidiary role of those who should be the main actors: indigenous communities. The consequence is a process of material and symbolic dispossession of the Mapuche population, which reinforces the dynamics of settler colonialism existing in the region and presents parallels and divergences with other international cases. For this, the methodology used combined quantitative data with qualitative information, spatializing the former and giving greater weight to the latter as an interpretive key. The results reflect a disagreement between a legislation incapable of regulating urban growth and responding to indigenous demands, and a reality marked by increasing pressure on the Mapuche population and lands. This shows a situation that is present in Chile but can be extrapolated to other countries in the region.
... El nuevo modelo residencial ha dado lugar a la proliferación de espacios relacionales internamente homogéneos pero externamente heterogéneos. En esa línea, se ha señalado que las ciudades latinoamericanas ya no están separadas por la distancia física, sino reforzadas por barreras y muros que restringen los encuentros entre múltiples grupos sociales (Borsdorf y Hidalgo, 2008). Asimismo, este modelo tiene un doble efecto sobre el espacio público. ...
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Las zonas centrales de las ciudades latinoamericanas experimentan hoy una metamorfosis causada por el desarrollo de proyectos inmobiliarios dirigidos a las clases medias y altas. Este fenómeno ha provocado la llegada de gru-pos sociales más acomodados y el desplazamiento físico o simbólico de los grupos sociales menos acomodados de los barrios centrales de la ciudad. Siguiendo los efectos socioespaciales del boom inmobiliario de 2007 a 2017 en Lima, este artículo presenta los resultados de una investigación sobre el con-flicto que surgió en torno a las diferentes expectativas de los diversos grupos sociales que tuvieron que compartir el espacio del Parque Castilla en Lince, un distrito central de Lima que enfrenta un proceso de gentrificación. pAlAbrAs clAve: gentrificación, espacio público, boom inmobiliario, luchas ur-banas, derecho a la ciudad The Park Where Dancing Is Forbidden: The Struggle for Public Space in Lima The central areas of Latin American cities are experiencing a metamorphosis caused by the development of real estate projects aimed at the middle and upper classes. This phenomenon has triggered the arrival of more affluent social groups and the physical or symbolic displacement of less affluent social groups from central neighborhoods of the city. Following the socio-spatial effects of the 2007-2017 real estate boom in Lima, this article presents the results of a research about the conflict that arose around the different expectations of the diverse social groups that had to share the space of the Castilla Park in Lince, a central district of Lima that is facing a process of gentrification. keywords: gentrification, public space, real estate boom, urban struggles, right to the city El parque donde está prohibido bailar: la competencia por el espacio público en Lima MIRTHA LORENA DEL CASTILLO
... For all these waterfront redevelopment t is commonly argued that the precedent of the revitalized waterfront is "the industrial city, the shock city of the 19 th century" (Ley, 2012, p.49), the industrial port, usually derelict due to technological changes, de-industrialization, containerization or an overall decline in port activities 16 Helbrecht and Dirksmeier also mention the need of New Downtowns to include "flagship architecture" (2012a). 17 Others are analysing large-scale urban development projects in Africa (van der Westhuizen 2007; Croese 2018; Watson 2014) and Latin America (Borsdorf and Hidalgo 2008), though these are also not of a comparative nature. 18 The first category was developed in North America in the 1960s in a process of learning by doing. ...
... GCs not only emerged as an innovative form of living catering to residents' various demands (e.g., security, highquality housing, all-inclusive lifestyle and conspicuous consumption) but also revolutionized neighborhood governance [2][3][4][5]. Despite the growing popularity, GCs have been harshly criticized by urban theorists for producing negative social effects, for example, exacerbating segregation and exclusion through erecting walls and gates, and their encroachment into public space [1,6,7]. ...
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left a strong imprint on many aspects of urban life. Gated communities (GCs) in China are less commonly perceived as a negative and segregated urban form of community compared to other contexts, owing to their wide variety and relative openness. Yet, the enhanced security zone function and the popularity of GCs, along with the heightened segregation and exclusion effects, mean they are most likely to emerge in post-pandemic urban China because of the perceived effectiveness of GCs in preventing health risks by excluding outsiders during the pandemic. Drawing on empirical data from Beijing, this research presents strong evidence for a strengthened perceived ‘security zone’ effect of GCs during the pandemic. Given that rigid pandemic control measures were organized at the community level, a large-scale household survey in Beijing suggests that residents commonly recognise the effectiveness of GCs in security control and show a strong preference for GCs over open communities after the pandemic, even though there is a lack of direct evidence of reduced COVID-19 risk in GCs. The heightened perceived ‘security zone’ function of GCs has shown a significant impact on the housing market, evidenced by an increase of 2% in the housing prices for GCs, compared with those of open communities. The rising popularity of GCs is also evidenced by a significant increase in property viewings by potential homebuyers and smaller price discounts in actual transactions in gated communities vis-à-vis open communities. We argue that the rising risk-averse sentiment in the post-pandemic era has given rise to the popularity of GCs. This study provides timely and fresh insights into the changing meaning of GCs in post-pandemic China.
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Although the effects of mining activity on the real estate sector in cities that depend on mining is already an issue analyzed, the progressive development of a long distance commuting in Chile supposes a different panorama, by enabling the expansion through the territory of investment in real estate. In this sense, this work analyzes and interprets this phenomenon in the metropolitan area of Concepción through the combination of sur- veys to workers who regularly travel to northern Chile from Concepción with in-depth interviews with local experts. The results show a reality that, although it is highly unknown to many, contributes to reinforce the horizontal growth of the Concepción metropolitan area and generates some contrasted developments, between an investment in first housing and that combines savings from mining with public aids, and other investment “of luxury”, but minority in the most exclusive areas.
The representation of social phenomena has been associated with substantial conceptual and operational difficulties. Social phenomena have a complex multidimensional nature that leads to different conceptualizations and measurements. This problem makes it difficult to choose the sub-indicators to be considered in the composite indicator of the phenomenon. In addition, sub-indicators can be normalized, weighted, and aggregated in different ways. There is no answer in the literature about which combination of methods is most appropriate to represent a given phenomenon. This research aims to answer which normalization and aggregation methods combination offers the best representation of the social exclusion process considering its multidimensionality. Fifteen sub-indicators of social exclusion were aggregated and normalized by different methods, generating thirty-one composite indicators. Three criteria measured the performance of the composite indicators: External Validity with the average household income indicator, the actual conditions of the environment observed by the Urban Landscape analysis, and the Prediction Errors of the composite indicator. The results show significant differences in the capacity of a composite indicator to represent situations of social exclusion. However, it is possible to represent social exclusion more consistently from sub-indicators normalized by the min-max technique and aggregated by the geometric mean.
Cette thèse de géographie analyse les rapports mutuels de production entre les espaces ouverts et la double métropole constituée de Valparaiso et de Santiago du Chili. Devant les fortes pressions urbaines que connaît la région centrale du Chili depuis les années 1970, la permanence de nombreux espaces de superficie différente mais tous encore peu bâtis et aux usages faiblement intensifs à une vingtaine de kilomètres seulement des centres des deux principales agglomérations de ce pays émergent peut en effet paraître paradoxale. Mais le processus de métropolisation a besoin des ressources que représentent les espaces ouverts pour s'alimenter et à l'inverse les espaces ouverts ont besoin de la métropole pour exister à travers ses infrastructures, ses acteurs, ses lois. Dans une démarche de géographie sociale inspirée des travaux d'Henri Lefebvre et en se fondant sur un travail de terrain approfondi autour de trois zones d'étude de la troisième couronne périurbaine de Santiago et de Valparaiso (une littorale, une de moyenne montagne et une dans la dépression centrale), cette recherche développe une méthodologie plurielle permettant de saisir au mieux la triple dimension conçue, vécue et perçue des espaces ouverts en lien avec la métropolisation. Pour marginaux et divers qu'ils soient, les espaces ouverts constituent des enjeux stratégiques pour la métropolisation qui expliquent à la fois les conflits qu'ils créent et qu'ils subissent ainsi que la nécessité pour les autorités de les prendre en compte dans leurs aménagements.
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The objective of this analysis is linked to the discussion of urban residential segregation marked by the Brazilian urban land structure and perpetuated by urban planning instruments at the municipal level. The spatial focus of the study is the municipality of Londrina (state of Paraná/Brazil). We aimed to analyze the relationship between urban zoning and the dynamics of residential segregation, unfolding two foci: verify to what extent the objectives presented in the municipal instrument translate the objectives of the instrument at the federal level (the City Statute–CE) and the national program “My Home, My Life” aimed to provide housing to socially vulnerable populations; the second focus, aims to assess how the planning instrument—the Special Zone of Social Interest (ZEIS), contemplated in the Land Use and Occupation Law and in the Municipal Master Plan of Londrina (PDPML, 2008)—materializes in practice the objectives of promoting equity in access to housing. The results show that although the objectives defined at the federal level are transposed to the municipal level, demonstrating a theoretical coherence between the instruments, there are flaws in their implementation. The case study results show that the urban zoning of Londrina has as a guideline a segregationist territorial ordering, leading to a residential segregation of the population with low purchasing power. On the other hand, the planning instrument that could change this reality is the ZEIS that, on the contrary, reinforced social housing in the periphery, conditioning the right to the city and perpetuating the social vulnerability of disadvantaged groups, in a process common to other Brazilian cities. Such constraints make relevant the establishment of land reserves for social housing based on clear roles of a social and functional mix, reinforced by the combat of vacant spaces and the definition of minimal housing and infrastructure densities to allow urban occupation.
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Seit Mitte der 1970er Jahre verbreiten sich in den brasilianischen Städten abgeschottete Wohnviertel der Privilegierten. Diese sogenannten condomínios fechados lassen sich nach unterschiedlichen Kriterien (Genese. Lage, Größe, Ausstattung, Bautypologie sowie Sozialstruktur) typisieren. Drei Akteursgruppen nehmen Einfluss auf ihre Verbreitung: Die Immobilienfirmen, denen sich mit der neuen Wohnform ein attraktives Marktsegment bietet, die Zielgruppen, für die insbesondere ein gesteigertes Sicherheitsbedürfnis und steigende Ansprüche an den Wohnkomfort ausschlaggebend sind, und die öffentliche Hand, für die die condomínios eine neue Herausforderung bei der Steuerung der Stadtentwicklung darstellen. Am Beispiel von Barra da Tijuca, dem neuesten Privilegiertenviertel von Rio de Janeiro, werden Ausbreitung, funktionale Differenzierung, interne Organisation sowie neuere Erscheinungsformen der condomínios fechados behandelt. Des weiteren wird die kleinräumige Nachbarschaft zu den Marginalvierteln der Favelas aufgezeigt. Die Ausbreitung der condomínios fechados während der letzten Jahre ist insgesamt die sichtbare Konsequenz der sich vertiefenden sozialen Disparitäten in der brasilianischen Gesellschaft und der damit verbundenen Fragmentierung der brasilianischen Stadt.
Structural changes in metropolitan labour markets under the process of reestructutration- informationalization-globalization, had become a central issue for the study of the transformation of the cities during the last decades. According to this perspective, this article analizes the impacts that the capitalist modernization in Chile has had on their labor market and the evolution of income distribution, and upon this base, observes their effects on socio-territorial estructuration of the Great Santiago, specially discussing the pertinence of the dualization theory for this particular case. For that, main characteristics of this theory are drawn; at the same time, the basis with that has been presented and the causes that are attributed to it are analized. In the second part, main transformations that had occured in this period of capitalist modernization in Chile are examined, along with the evolution of social inequalities and urban segregation in Great Santiago, under the transformations occured in labor market. In the third and last part, discussion about the pertinence of the dualization theory to the Chilean case is posed.
Condominios began to appear in Latin American metropolises as early as the 1970s, but initially little research was devoted to them. In the 1990s they spread enormously and a great deal of different types emerged. Recently the first German-languages studies of condominios were published. Pöhler (1999) investigated the phenomenon in Rio de Janeiro using Barra da Tijuca as his case study. Evangelisti (2000) and Borsdorf (2000) looked at condominios in Santiago de Chile, and Janoschka (2000) examined the situation in Buenos Aires. This paper presents the results of a study on Santiago de Chile carried out in August and September 2000 as a preliminary to a larger comparative investigation of condominios in Latin American metropolises.
Since the 1990s there is a rapid transformation process going on within Latin-American metropolises and megacities, related to global restructuring and neoliberal economic policy, that has led to an increasing polarization of urban economics (formal-informal, rich-poor). One effect is an equally increasing socio-spatial fragmentation and segregation. A typical expression are the gated communities of upper-, middle- and partly under-classes within the urban and suburban regions and the class-related shopping-centres, which are becoming the nodal points of spatial action within the fragmented city.