Spring 2019 - 60135 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
Housing Practices and Policies in Latin America
This one semester course is part of a sequence of classes tied to the Latin American Housing network (www.lahn.utexas.org) and blends sociology, planning and public policy. Since the latter 1970s terminology about informal settlements in Latin America has invariably eschewed referring to them as “slums”, recognizing instead that informal settlements form the mainstream of the built-up area. When supported by programs of regularization (tenure and infrastructure) and upgrading informal settlements show the potential to consolidate – albeit over 15-20 years. In other regions (Africa, South Asia and SE Asia) informal settlement housing conditions often remain squalid with little evidence of improvement and integration into the formal fabric of the city. Here the term “slums” remains widely used by planners, NGOs and international agencies alike.
In the first part of the course we will explore: 1) the links between industrialization, globalization, and slum development; and the social constructionsand nature of slums over time and space; and 2) examine the rationale and substance of public policy interventions towards slums (e.g. eradication schemes, urban redevelopment, squatter upgrading, policies towards landlordism, etc.). Part of the goal will be to analyze and deconstruct the nature of slums temporally and spatially.
This will segue into acounterfactual analysis of Latin American housing processes in which the conventional wisdom of successful housing consolidation appears to be severely constrained or stymied altogether. In the context of self-help ownership and the production of low-income rental housing markets our class goal will be to explain why some types of housing remain as, or over time deteriorate into, slums. Pioneer migrant self-builders who occupied land some 30 years ago experienced some socio-economic mobility through the creation of a housing asset, and yet the mobility prospects for many second and third generation households remain bleak, notwithstanding their higher levels of education. This has important policy implications for their housing trajectories, expectations and living conditions.
The third part of the class will look specifically at “successfully” consolidated settlements 30 years after their formation and which form the LAHN study “innerburbs” (first suburbs) universe where we have argued for new policy imperatives of housing and community rehab (Ward et al 2015). However, despite the apparent success of self-building consolidation since the 1960s, today we observe evidence of active slum creation (“slumification”) due to the failure to rehabilitate deteriorated housing conditions after many years of intensive use. Other triggers of slumification will also be examined: title “clouding” due to informal inheritance; overcrowding; secondary housing etc. In central city locations as well as the “innerburbs” rental housing tenements and petty landlord-tenant sub-letting often also show evidence of slumification.
Assessment will be based upon class participation and paper presentations. The final class product will be a student-authored monograph that will discuss: the nature of slum theory and social constructions over the ages; offer a typology of slums and slum formation in Latin American Cities; provide new and original research findings about ongoing slumification in consolidated settlements; and offer an assessment of public policies to address emerging slumification.