From the specificity of urban risks to the challenges of urban governance in Latin-American cities

Abstract : Metropolitan governance concerns rise in Latin America following a period of decentralization, promotion of democracy in most countries of the region, and promotion of local powers from the 1970. I will use governance as an analytical category, and not a normative one, depending on the way it is implemented. As for me, it corresponds to the process of decision-making, and the implementation and assessment of action in a context of emerging “voices”, emerging actors in the local stage.

At the same time, risk concerns have been emerging from the late 1970 and are now faced at a local scale. Using a broad definition, risk is a combination between hazards and vulnerability. I assume it is embedded within the socio-spatial system. Risks are consistent with urbanization and metropolization processes.

- In my first part, I will put forward 4 main links between urbanization and construction of risks I could figure out in my PhD work in Caracas.

- Second, going ahead with such a co-construction, I will wonder about the importance of urban management regarding the social and spatial distribution of conditions of risks. Following the case of Recife, I will address the dilemma global city Vs sustainable city.

- Third, urban governance is challenging the way urban societies are facing risks. It is challenging the copping capacity – institutionally; but also the construction of risks, it means the way risk conditions are distributed socially and spatially. Finally, I will develop the political and democratic challenges of urban governance regarding risk issues by putting forward its connections with environmental justice.

So away from any normative definition, and in addition with conditions of vulnerability, risk governance must address social justice and democratic concerns regarding urban environment and its management. As for me, such aspects of social construction of risks are under-estimated. My current research is trying to give a framework to these issues regarding urban risk assessment, through what I am calling “territorialization of risks”.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 3:16:43 PM
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Julien Rebotier. From the specificity of urban risks to the challenges of urban governance in Latin-American cities. Megacities: Risk, Vulnerability and Sustainable development, Sep 2009, Leipzig, Germany. ⟨halshs-00418156⟩



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