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Equity and Empowerment in Medellín's Informal Settlements

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Medellín's recent governments have invested massively in a design-led physical upgrading of the city's public spaces with the goal of increasing both spatial justice and the city's competitiveness, tackling inner-city areas as well as peripheral informal settlements. Through a landscape architectural case study in one informal settlement using a multi-method qualitative approach, this paper questions whether the current programme's focus on image creation and international competitiveness has detrimental eff ects on the empowerment of the settlement's residents. It shows the conflicts between equity and empowerment measures in the various stages of the participatory process accompanying the upgrading initiative, revealing major factors limiting its transformative quality. Arguing for the re-politicization of participation, I aim to foster a more nuanced understanding of this well-publicized example of urban upgrading.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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