Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Edesio Fernandes Presents on Informal Urban Land Development

February 28th, 2013

On February 25, 2013, Tulane's Center for Inter-American Policy welcomed Edésio Fernandes to discuss urban land development, particularly the issue of informal settlement on land in urban areas. Fernandes opened his lecture by identifying informal urban settlement as a phenomenon that is international in scope and one of considerable longevity in the urban history of Latin America. He gave the example of Brazilian favelas, the large, informal shantytowns that have been in existence for more than 100 years in Brazil, as well as Peruvian laws dating back to 1961 that attempted to redress the problem of informal urban settlement in Peruvian cities. However, while Fernandes explained that informal urban settlement is not a new phenomenon, he underscored how the scale of these settlements has increased considerably since the 1980s, which adds a greater degree of urgency in formulating a resolution to the issue.

Fernandes provided impressive statistics conveying the drastic extent to which the world, and Latin America in particular, is becoming more urban by the day. Currently, more than 50 percent of the global population resides in urban areas, while in Latin America, around 80 percent of the region's population is now urban. A total of 1.5 billion people currently reside in informal settlements in these urban areas, which has led Fernandes to broadly classify contemporary urban land development as a process of informal land development in urban areas. Some consider informal settlement as a positive occurrence rather than a problem because it is often the only available avenue through which impoverished individuals and families can access housing in urban areas. However, Fernandez argues that in the long-term, informal settlement presents grave problems for its residents, problems that include lack of secure tenure and heightened vulnerability to unforeseen evictions due to the absence of a formal regulatory framework; increased vulnerability to political patronization; excessive population density and a lack of sanitation; increased fire hazards due to overcrowding and structural instability; and more devastating consequences from landslides and earthquakes due to the structural precariousness of many of the buildings of these informal settlements.

Considering the recent explosion of informal urban settlement and its negative consequences, Fernandes offered a critique of past and current attempts to remedy the problem. While in the past, many policymakers have turned towards regularization of informal settlement as a solution, Fernandes considers this remedy to be somewhat myopic in its approach because, in his words, it legalizes the illegal without closely examining the motivation behind bypassing legality in the first place. Until now, regularization has not been accompanied by preventative policy, the formulation of which would entail the close analysis of how the structural lack of sufficient, affordable, accessible and adequate land and services in urban spaces fuels the cycle of informal settlement. Until such issues are acknowledged and adequately redressed, Fernandes argues that regularization will prove futile as a preventative approach in and of itself because structural inequalities and lack of access to services and land will continue to encourage the bypassing of the legal, formal system of land tenure. Fernandes closed his lecture by reiterating that for regularization to be a sustainable solution, policymakers must develop a more consistent approach to social obligation with explicit acknowledgement of the lack of access to land and services in urban areas that fuels the ultimately problematic cycle of informal urban settlement.

-Hannagan Johnson

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Connecting Day of the Dead Traditions Across the Americas: Haiti

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Learn about Day of the Dead traditions in Haiti in this teacher workshop. The teacher workshop will be followed by an optional class on Traditional Haitian Folkloric Dance. Monique Moss, adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater and Dance at Tulane University, will lead a teacher workshop about Day of the Dead traditions in Haiti. Day of the Dead traditions in Haiti have their roots in Haitian Vodoo and hence show both similarities and differences to Day of the Dead traditions in other areas of Latin America. The workshop will focus on the performance of Day of the Dead as well as connect the tradition through to New Orleans.

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Univeristy of New Orleans Presents: Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference

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Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference
UNO – Latin American Studies

Friday, October 24, 2014: 3:30-6:00 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2014: 9:15 AM-3:15 PM

Milneburg Hall 351 – UNO Campus

The 2014 Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference explores the meanings, forms, histories, and futures of North-South solidarity in the Americas. What kinds of transnational ties have groups from both sides of the North-South divide established with each other? What kinds of strategies have they used, and toward what ends? How have these political projects varied across time and space? In what ways have cross-border solidarities shaped and been shaped by imperial power?

Conference Program is attached to this email. This conference is open and free to the public. This is a workshop: papers are circulated and read before the conference. If you would like to access the papers, please send an email to: striffler@hotmail.com

INVITED PARTICIPANTS INCLUDE:

Marc Becker, Professor of History, Truman State University, and author of Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous
Movements.
Jonathan C. Brown is Professor of History at the University of Texas and is completing a book on how the Cuban Revolution changed the world.
Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies, Salem State University, and author of Linked Labor Histories: New
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Lesley Gill, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, and author of The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political
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Eric Larson, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and author of Jobs With Justice: 25 Years, 25 Voices
Elizabeth Manley is Assistant Professor of History at Xavier University where she is completing a book, The Paradox of Paternalism: Women,
Transnational Activism, and the Politics of Authoritarianism in the Dominican Republic, 1928-1978.
Teresa Meade, Florence B. Sherwood Professor of History and Culture, Union College, and author of A History of Modern Latin America.
William Schmidli, Assistant Professor, Bucknell University, and author of The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights in U.S. Cold War Policy Toward
Argentina.
Megan Strom is a PhD Candidate in Latin American History at the University of California, San Diego and will defend her dissertation on Uruguayan

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The conference will be held October 24-26th on Tulane’s Campus.

Please visit the conference website for more information and be sure to check back for updates in the near future!

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Currently a social specialist from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Carlos Pérez-Brito is responsible for managing social and environmental safeguards in the public and private sectors projects. Before joining the IDB, Mr. Pérez-Brito was a human development specialist for the World Bank and USAID. He has a bachelor degree from Loyola University, New Orleans and a Masters in Latin American Studies from Tulane University with emphasis in international development. He was also a visiting scholar for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Mr. Pérez-Brito’s talk will describe the evolving practice of using social and environmental review criteria as conditions for bank-related projects.

Co-Sponsored with the Tulane Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR).

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For more information please contact Jane Marie Dawkins, 504.539.9650, music@ogdenmuseum.org.

Sponsored by Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans.