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Urban Sprawl and Spatial Planning



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Urban Sprawl and Spatial Planning by Cecilia Marengo
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This book proposes to study spatial planning in a context of high social inequity. The analysis is focused on the possibilities that spatial planning has to attenuate conditions of inequity in urban development derived from urban growth process; in the framework of a neoliberal policy orientation and new consensus on strategic planning developed in the last decade. The new socio-spatial form derived from globalization has been very uneven, evidencing a process of increasing global inequality as one main outcome. The spatial expression of the social conditions of restructuring process derived from globalization has been called the dual city. In the case of Latin America the urbanization of poverty is quoted as main urban problem that demands political action. In Argentina, the restructuring of labour markets and the opening of economy has been introduced simultaneously with structural adjustment reforms, (partly as consequence of the pressures of higher external debt) decentralization, the privatization of services, and focalization (this means the progressive reduction of welfare oriented policy and the shift to social priority criteria on policy implementation). Undoubtedly the effects these decisions have on society and space is the initial point to analyze the role spatial planning has on urban development. In a context of high social inequity (as is the case of Argentina) the debates are between those that defend the position that only through free-market initiatives should it be possible to achieve better living conditions and those who argue that the intervention of the State is required to balance the driving forces of economic actors and community interests in urban space. The detailed analysis of the case-study of Cordoba Municipality contributes to provide arguments, and to present the driving forces behind spatial planning in the local context. It presents the central issues of the current spatial planning that impedes achieving greater equity conditions in urban growth. The conclusions demonstrate that the intervention of the State in the redistribution of costs and benefits derived from urban growth is necessary if the objective is to attenuate deep conditions of socio-spatial inequity. However, overcoming this problem would entail not only spatial planning techniques, but also the social and political context in which such planning is implemented.
Release date NZ
March 1st, 2009
Country of Publication
United States
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