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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Emergence of Gated Communities in the Poor Periphery: Reflections on the New Urban Segregation and Social Integration in Santiago, Chile


The economic and political restructuring in Chile, carried out under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), had its urban expression in a series of measures associated with the liberalization of land markets and the dominance of a subsidiary policy of public housing. Since then, poorer households have been settling mostly at the peripheries of Santiago where public infrastructure and social services are deficient. However, the same market logic brought middle and upper-income families to some traditionally poor municipalities, by means of a specific kind of urbanization: gated communities. Some contemporary Chilean planners affirm that this spatial proximity between different social groups will promote social integration. Rejecting these claims of urban integration based exclusively on the objective dimensions of urban segregation, the author argues for the importance of symbolic dimensions in any analysis of socio-urban integration.

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