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exam question.docx

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Jason Hackworth
Study Guide

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1 It has been said that even though the colonial era is formally over in South America, its
cities still tangibly reflect past colonial linkages. Please describe the broad history of
South American colonialization with a particular focus on how it affected the shape,
location, and makeup of cities. Then describe some of the ways that cities have been
affected by powerful countries and institutions (e.g. IMF) since formal decolonization.
Introduction: South America cities are quite diverse in urban form, physical setting, culture,
economic function, political governance and quality of life. Since the colonial era, urban
societies throughout the region have served as important producers and consumers within a
global economy until today. The region‟s cities contrast with cities of other world regions in
many ways. Although similar processes of colonial experience with Iberian urban planning,
historical development, recent globalization, growing socioeconomic polarization and spatial
segregation, and informal economies have shaped urban development throughout the South
American continent in many similar ways, the diversity of national and local experiences
also stands out. Colonial power infused with the presence of indigenous cultures and exhibit
widely different urban forms.
Thesis: South American Cities reflect past colonial linkages in 3 major cultural-ecological
region and is affected by foreign powerful institutions since formal decolonization.
South American Cities can be divided into 3 major cultural-ecological regions:
1) Andean America
Greater indigenous presence which are divided by ethnicity, as large indigenous
and mestizo populations sharing urban space with small elite groups of European
heritage. It is dominated by an “alternative economy” of the informal sector and
popular markets
The most rapidly urbanization region of South America currently. Its cities are
operating in an environment of fiscal constraint and hence are experiencing social,
political, environmental and logistical crisis
2) The Southern Cone
Heavily European in ethnic composition as well as in urban planning traditions.
These cities contend with economic stagnation and a restive middle class
Except Paraguay which is similar to Andean America
Underwent its urban demographic transitions by the mid-20th century.
Urbanization rates in these relatively high-income countries peaked long ago. The
large cities are growing slowly

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3) Portuguese America
Brazil‟s cities have a Portuguese colonial heritage and language, a unique popular
culture and urban forms
African admixture makes patterns of black-white stratification a key urban issue
Brazil is now just emerging from an exceedingly rapid and recent urban transition.
The growth of Brazil‟s largest cities is currently slowing, as the focus of urban
growth shifts to smaller and peripheral cities
Within a century, the rate of urbanization of the countries in South America has risen.
Before, fewer than 10% of South Americans resided in urban centers. By now, all but
one country is more than 60% urbanized.
Due to primarily to urban-based industrial development, South American countries
began their urban transition earlier than other regions of the developing world with a
more developed “core” and the less developed “periphery”.
The intense social and economic divisions have characterized the region in South
America since Spanish and Portuguese colonization. Many urban dwellers are
participating in self-help social movements for housing and social service provision
Colonial Period
In the early 16th century, both the Spanish and the Portuguese established settlements to
exploit and administer their new territories in South America
The Spanish and Portuguese colonies differed in terms of site selection. Spain founded
towns both on the coast and in highland areas. They conquered and rebuild important
indigenous centers to concentrate the indigenous population into arbitrarily created
The enduring importance of the Spanish and the Portuguese is also reflected in the
religious and linguistic landscapes of South America‟s cities.
The Spanish-American City adopted the distinctive feature of a right-angled gridiron of
streets oriented around a central plaza. This served as an effective instrument of social
control. Important institutions were built. Spanish residents clustered around the urban
core, often in houses built with the defensive architecture. Indians and undesirable land
uses were banished to the urban periphery.
In Portuguese America, early settlement in Brazil generally was located close to the
coast, at convenient points of interchange between the rural areas of production and
metropolitan Portugal. Except for Sao Paulo, all the towns established before 1600
were located directly on the coast and functioned essentially as administrative centers

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and military strongholds, ports and commercial, residential and religious centers.
Towns near the coast took on polynuclear and linear forms.
Neocolonial Urbanization
Between 1811 and 1830, independence came to each of the countries of South America.
However, throughout South America, characteristically colonial urban forms perisited.
Until the mid-19th century, when elites embarked on campaigns of economic expansion,
cities remained relatively small. Afterwards, South America became increasingly
integrated into the global economy through the export of primary commodities.
Urban growth proceeded with the creation of new transportation links, rural-urban
migration, urban infrastructures and general commercial development
Internal migration and foreign immigration contributed to South America‟s increasing
rates of urbanization
The percentage of the national population living in the largest city rose in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries
Commercial expansion and demographic growth led to widespread deficiencies in
urban housing, transportation, sanitation, and health problems.
The modern city emerged as entrepreneurs invested in new building projects and
planers mounted ambitious public works projects to rationalize urban form.
Urbanization accelerated as South America moved into the 20th century
With the worldwide depression of the 1930s, demand for the region‟s primary products
plummeted, unemployment soared and poverty spread. Investment were made in the
urban-industrial sector and caused massive rural-urban migration. Cities grew in an
unprecedented rate.
Despite the fact of socioeconomic segregation, national governments throughout South
America continued to finance costly development, especially industrialization and
infrastructure, through borrowing on foreign capital markets.
By the early 1980s, the global economy had experienced a series of unanticipated
shocks that would devastate urban life within the heavily indebted countries of South
America. The IMF forced countries to exercise extreme fiscal restraint at every level of
national life, in order to build up state revenue for debt service and eventual repayment.
This precipitated a sustained period of deep recession and development reversal. This
gave rise to the phenomenon of urban growth without economic growth and to
unprecedented urban poverty.
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