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

LATEST SITE UPDATES

NEWS

EVENTS

BLOG POSTS

MEDIA

More

Upcoming Events

Festival Herencia Hispana

View Full Event Description

Come on out and celebrate the true Latino Heritage- HERENCIA LATINA- in Nueva Orleans! Great Latino festival at Easton Park. The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) is celebrating Latino Heritage in New Orleans. Come enjoy delicious food, fun, games, live local latin music and more! Free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by NORDC and Puentes/LatiNOLA.

Featuring the music of:

  • Los Poboycitos
  • Merengue4-Four
  • Casa Samba
  • Julio y Cesar
  • Danzas Folkloricas Internacionales
  • Bailes Garifuna de Honduras
  • Pianistas
  • BlackoutBeatz Rodriguez
  • NOHA New Orleans Hispano America Dance Group

For more information, please visit the event’s Facebook page or call 504.821.7228

Congreso internacional de literatura y cultura centroamericanas (CILCA XXIII)

View Full Event Description

Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, y Purdue University Calumet tienen el gusto de invitar al CONGRESO DE LITERATURA y CULTURA CENTROAMERICANAS (CILCA XXIII) que se llevará a cabo en la ciudad de New Orleans, Louisiana, del 11 al 13 de marzo del 2015 en el campus de Tulane University y Loyola University New Orleans.

Desde el primer congreso realizado en Nicaragua 1993, CILCA se ha caracterizado por ser un espacio de intercambio intelectual y de amistad para académicas/os, escritoras/es y lectoras/es. El congreso se ha efectuado en todos los países centroamericanos y por primera vez en su historia, CILCA se realizará en los Estados Unidos. La ciudad escogida es Nueva Orleáns, puerta de entrada hacia el Caribe y los países de América Central. El intercambio cultural entre Nueva Orleáns y América Central ha sido intenso por muchísimos años, y la ciudad alberga una de las comunidades de origen hondureño más grandes de los Estados Unidos. Tulane University tiene estrechos lazos con la región a través del Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Library, y the Middle American Research Institute. Loyola University New Orleans se ha distinguido por el trabajo con las comunidades hispanas que realizan varias de sus unidades académicas, incluyendo the Law School y el Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

La organización de CILCA XXIII la realizan la Dra. Maureen Shea y el Dr. Uriel Quesada, expertos en literatura y cultura centroamericanas, con el apoyo del Dr. Jorge Román Lagunas, creador y promotor de CILCA.

La convocatoria será publicada en agosto 2014.

Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, and Purdue University Calumet invite you to the Congress on Literature and Culture of Central America (CILCA XXIII) which will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana March 11-13 2015 on the campuses of Tulane and Loyola New Orleans.

From the first conference, held in Nicaragua in 1993, CILCA has been a space for intellectual exchange and friendship for academics and writers. The conference has been held in all of the Central American countries and for the first time in its history will be held in the United States. New Orleans, the gateway to the Caribbean and Central America, has been chosen as the location. New Orleans and Central America have a longstanding cultural exchange and New Orleans has one of the largest Honduran communities in the United States. Tulane has long connections with the region through the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Latin American Library, and the Middle American Research Institute. Loyola New Orleans works closely with hispanic communities particularly through the Law school and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

CILCA XXIII is organized by Drs. Maureen Shea and Uriel Quesada, experts on the literature and culture of Central America, with the support of Dr. Jorge Román Lagunas, creator of CILCA.

Call for papers coming in August 2014.