Urbanization And Inequality In Latin America

A recent World Bank report notes that Latin America is the only region where income inequality declined during the last decade. This significant and hopeful finding cannot hide, however, a complex situation: Latin America is the most urbanized and most unequal continent in the world. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to reflect on the links between urbanism and inequality in times of globalization, looking at the evolution of some major Latin American cities in the last two decades.

I will underscore the need for regulation of land use as a policy aimed at reducing inequality. On the one hand, in the last decade many countries in the region have implemented policies that succeeded in reducing income inequality. On the other, simultaneously, there continued the expansion of fragmented in the metropolitan areas that increases inequalities in access to the city and its services.

In this context, I will point out that we must to think about the place of urban space and urban policy in the Latin American States’ commitment to reducing inequality in the region. This paper argues that the challenge for the political processes in the region towards a reduction of social inequalities is to intervene not only in income distribution, but in urban settings through regulations of land uses, equal distribution of goods and services, and equal opportunities of accessibility and mobility in the city.

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Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 4 No. 3

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