Blog | Thematic Focus Urbanization

16. April 2021

Fluid boundaries of urban living spaces

(By Melissa Bayer) In the city of Antofagasta in Northern Chile, 16,396 people live in around 62 so-called informal settlements which lack basic service provision – with water access being the residents’ main concern. Drawing on extensive qualitative fieldwork carried out between 2018 and 2020, this blog post offers a hydro-social analysis of the informal practices of water acquisition employed by the residents of Antofagasta’s informal settlements. By taking into account both the material elements of these practices as well as their underlying logics and rationalities, the author aims to shed light on the reciprocal relationship between official water access and social belonging, paving the way for a more nuanced discussion of urbanisation processes.

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5. March 2021

Cities in the making: urban politics, agroecology, and peripheral urbanization

(Nicolas Goez) Izidora, a so-called “informal” settlement in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is a laboratory of urban politics and sustainable urbanization technologies. As a self-constructed neighbourhood, it is marked by inequalities as well as conflicts with the municipal authorities. In this text, I portray the politics of Izidora’s dwellers, as they appropriate different agroecological practices, enmesh them in their struggle for housing and citizenship, and pursue an emancipatory logic of urban planning. Activist coalitions with intersectional agendas and political articulations of alternative forms of urban agriculture in Belo Horizonte’s peripheries have led to the creation of Izidora, as well as an array of new urban imaginaries. This text is about Izidora and the politics of a city in the making.

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