Overcoming urban exclusion using rural participatory strategies

Authors: Manuel Rivero-Villar*, Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico
Topics: Urban Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Urban exclusion, Socio-spatial justice, Urbanization from below; Right to the city, Mexico
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Mexican cities are highly unequal and heterogeneous spaces where small pockets of development coexist with exclusion. This is materialized in substandard neighborhoods that are largely built and improved by their own inhabitants, relying on the collective action of grassroot organizations combining local participatory strategies and negotiations with the state and other political actors. A case is that of Oaxaca city. Oaxaca city is the capital of a culturally diverse state where indigenous
towns are ruled by traditional practices based on self-determination, public participation, collective work and widespread solidarity. In Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, a traditional community that has been absorbed into Oaxaca city, residents of new neighborhoods are excluded from participation in local politics as well as from benefiting from urban infrastructures and public services. To overcome exclusion, residents of five peripheral neighborhoods utilize rural strategies of collective work in an
urban context to develop and manage public infrastructures (water supply and drainage). Recently, this organization evolved into a political platform to bridge political exclusion. Methods to document this case included participatory mapping and semi structured interviews to community leaders of the five neighborhoods. Results of this investigation suggest that socio-spatial justice can be advanced imagining new forms of governance from below able to mobilize local solidarity and political action to advocate for the right to the city, and the right to have rights of excluded urban dwellers.

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