Inequality, Territory and Urban Form in South America

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 13:11

Urban Age releases ‘Cities and Social Equity Report’ a research report that assesses the challenges of inclusion in one of the world’s most unequal urban regions


Urban Age is a leading worldwide investigation into
the future of global cities. Initiated by the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, Urban Age’s research and international outreach is creating a new urban agenda for the 21st century. An interdisciplinary network of urban experts around the world are leading on the ground investigations of policies, development and projects which offer up-to-date insights shared through conferences, workshops, seminars and publications.

‘Cities and Social Equity Report’ assessing the challenges of inclusion in one of the world’s most unequal urban regions.

London, UK – The cities of South America are some of the world’s most vital, but also most unequal, urban centres. Urban Age is releasing conclusions from research in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bogotá and Lima to understand and assess how South American cities are responding to the challenges of social inclusion. The report, Cities and Social Equity, highlights the context and challenges facing urban South America, and offers perspectives on inequality in the region that speak to the role cities globally can play in creating more cohesive environments for the day-to-day lives of millions of people.

Cities are playing an increasingly central role to economic growth and sustainable development.
Public services and infrastructure reforms can secure more inclusive and cohesive urban development, but cities face structural and behavioural challenges of social polarisation:

· Unequal access to mobility in cities with minimal public transport, rapid growth of
the number of cars and acute congestion problems

· Violence, crime and the fear of crime in cities where reducing homicide rates mask
sharp contrasts in crime rates

· Urban development and regeneration in cities with declining city centres and limited
histories of inclusive public-private partnerships

With a combined population of nearly 60 million and widening social inequality in recent decades, the five analysed cities are places of mix, change and extreme polarisation. In the report, experts identify implications for future policy development, including that:

· If some level of inequality is inevitable in cities, preserving social mobility becomes

· Planning urban systems, services and infrastructure needs to take into account the
potential impacts on equality – positive or negative;

· Limiting horizontal expansion and increasing the overall compactness of cities while
includes the less well-off within the core urban fabric is a crucial element of social

· Public space (formal or informal) is a vital public amenity, and should be planned
and preserved to meet the needs of all citizens;

· Exclusionary tactics like private security may only displace crime and promote
exclusion – more inclusive approaches may work better in the long term;

· Radical changes, and a removal of privileges provided to private car use, may be
necessary for creating an equitable transport system;

· Partnership with private developers can deliver benefits, but city governments need
to have a clear and inclusive strategy;

· Debates about cities’ future cannot be left to ‘the experts’ but need to involve all
sectors of civil society.

With inclusive planning policies and practices, Cities and Social Equity details how urban
leaders can combat debilitating inequality with opportunities for social mobility and put their
cities at the forefront of sustainable and inclusive growth. The summary report is supported
by a separate detailed analysis that contains extensive data and five extended essays from the
commissioned research teams offering their unique perspectives on inequality, territory and
urban form.

Cities and Social Equity’ was prepared by the LSE research team including Philipp Rode, Ricky
Burdett, Richard Brown, Frederico Ramos, Kay Kitazawa, Antoine Paccoud and Natznet Tesfay, and the São Paulo lead investigators Paula Miraglia, Eduardo Marques, Ciro Biderman, Nadia Somekh and Carlos Leite de Souza.

Download the ‘Cities and Social Equity’ Report here

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3 Responses to “Inequality, Territory and Urban Form in South America”

  1. P. Mimi Poinsett MD says:

    September 8th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    RT @jranck: Inequality, Territory and Urban Form in South America

  2. Mimi Poinsett says:

    September 8th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    RT @jranck: Inequality, Territory and Urban Form in South America

  3. Lyzia says:

    September 22nd, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    Cities and Social Equity Report …assesses the challenges of inclusion in one of the world’s most unequal urban regions

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