Nurturing neighbourhoods to sustain quality of life in megacities and large city regions An interdisciplinary reflection on planning for sustainable and socially just cities, from Santiago, Chile

Authors: Lake Sagaris*, Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Chile
Topics: Planning Geography
Keywords: metropolitan, governance, civil society, sustainability, right to the city
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In Chile, rapid urbanization began in the 1950s, with massive rural to urban migrations. These movements reshaped cities, establishing a socio-political mould of conflict, conciliation and — often — conflagration, military coups, and human rights violations. Democracies have been hotly contested and remain deeply flawed. Nonetheless they provide significant arenas for action. Recent developments regarding citizen movements and efforts to democratize urban governance raise key questions about managing complex metropolitan regions. Important rural and wilderness areas within urbanized areas raises questions about how natural ecologies fit into more sustainable cities. How important are local, particularly neighbourhood initiatives, and where should they fit into megacity development patterns? How could sustainable transport and land use policies contribute? What role does the “meso” or in-between scale play? How should governance arrangements evolve? As Metropolitan Santiago has expanded, neighbourhood organizations have influenced governance to include heritage, sustainability and equity within planning agendas. These experiences suggest that strong neighbourhood participation could be crucial to sustainable cities. This research combines methods from experiential, planning, geographic and transport engineering perspectives to explore these questions, using the Bellavista neighbourhood in Santiago Chile to ground theories, concepts and conclusions. In recent decades, Bellavista has been the crucible for innovative approaches to recycling, sustainable transport, and public life/space, although its neighbourhood associations have experienced almost as many defeats as substantive victories.

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