Exploring urban transformations in Latin America

AMS Citation:
Romero-Lankao, P., and D. M. Gnatz, 2013: Exploring urban transformations in Latin America. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5, 358-367, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2013.07.008.
Date:2013-09-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Exploring urban transformations in Latin America
Abstract: The question of how to transform behaviors, systems, cultures and institutions to move to more sustainable and resilient cities has received increased attention among scholars and decision makers. However, while sustainability and resilience are increasingly becoming core issues for different strands of scholarship, the strategies for affecting change toward more sustainable and resilient urban centers remain elusive. We use a combination of elements from socio-technical transition theory and political ecology and two Latin American cities (Mexico City and Manizales) to suggest a framework for an analysis of urban transitions in Latin America. The two cities were faced with similar triggers and pressures to create sustainability and resilience and each acted within a time of sweeping international movements. In both cases, networks of actors introduced innovative responses to their own particular set of pressures, constraints and opportunities and attempted to expand nature's life-supporting features such as ecosystem and hydrological services, while reducing threats from hazards such as floods. Yet the innovations that took place in the two cities presented very different results with regard to regime transition. Interestingly, Mexico City's success at creating an urban regime change seems to have been based on the use of a top-down approach as it was driven mainly by actors within the existing power structure with access to the power and the resources of an authoritarian state. By contrast, actors in Manizales have been largely outside the power structure and had less success in creating a city-wide transformation. This highlights the importance of power structure dynamics that can promote or prevent transformations from within or impede transformations from without.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2013 Elsevier
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7c82b5f
Publisher's Version: 10.1016/j.cosust.2013.07.008
Author(s):
  • Patricia Romero-Lankao - NCAR/UCAR
  • Daniel Gnatz
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