Between Urban Transformation and Everyday Practices – Participation and Co-Production in the City of Tarija, Bolivia

Bayro-Kaiser, Fabio (2020) Between Urban Transformation and Everyday Practices – Participation and Co-Production in the City of Tarija, Bolivia. SHAPING URBAN CHANGE – Livable City Regions for the 21st Century. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2020, 25th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 87-94. ISSN 2521-3938

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By 2050, around two-thirds of the global population will live in an urban environment. Urban growth is currently prevailing in the developing world, and in this context informality is seen as a general mode of urbanisation. The patterns of growth vary regionally, and the resultant urban fabric is expected to become more complex in various world regions in the years to come. In addition, not only are many regions facing dramatic and unforeseeable changes in the environment, but non-renewable resources are also becoming increasingly scarce; thus, concerns regarding sustainable and resilient development have been internationally voiced. Therefore, understanding and managing urban growth has become of general concern to a wider public. In particular in the Global South, a dichotomy between formal and informal urbanisation has prevailed that has hindered a sustainable and resilient development in various ways. What comes to mind, here, is the often-used image of a São Paolo favela segregated from the city's wealthier neighbourhoods—a common phenomenon in many cities of the developing world. Against this background, many efforts have taken a more social and political approach in order to overcome this dichotomy and, thus, to promote more inclusive development—a cities for all approach. At the core of these approaches are co-ordination and communication between top-down and bottom-up approaches, the reduction of tensions between formally and informally developed urban areas, and modes of participation and co-production that consider local action as well as long-term and large-scale effects. However, what does participation and co-production mean and which are the framing conditions under which they can be implemented? The paper pursues these questions for the medium-sized City in Tarija, Bolivia, where a massive urban expansion has overwhelmed formal planning instruments in recent years. Moreover, it aims to contribute with practical experiences to the conference on how social segregation in fast growing city regions could be overcome. The paper describes Tarija's urban expansion from a historical perspective and identifies critical environmental as well as social challenges as well as the shaping dynamics. Furthermore, the literature and development plans review is enhanced by semi-structured interviews and by two transdisciplinary workshops that where held in 2018, in the city of Tarija, in the framework of a real-world laboratory. This paper argues that urbanisation as it transpired in Tarija was highly inefficient and that the main benefactors were land traffickers, which has promoted the formal/informal dichotomy even further. The paper discusses three main points to tackle this issue. First, it identifies an institutional gap between the central and local government, which is considered the main cause for this formal/informal dichotomy. Second, it proposes the real-world laboratory as a more dynamic and adaptive instrument for urban development than formal planning, as well as a mediator between top-down and bottom-up approaches. And third, it discusses the framing conditions under which informally developed urban areas could be further developed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptive urbanism, informal settlements, Latin America, Urbanisation, real-world laboratory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2021 09:51
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2021 09:51

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