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Bogota Humana's climate resettlements: Displacement and the limits of the housing market in Colombia

  • Author(s): Sarmiento, Hugo
  • Advisor(s): Tilly, Chris
  • et al.

This dissertation is about climate resettlements, and the challenges to this practice, posed by the housing market in Bogota, Colombia. Specifically, it focuses on the resettlement strategy proposed by Petro’s city administration in its Bogota Humana development plan (2012-2016). Climate resettlements, unlike other types of resettlements, aim to relocate people who live in areas which climate model projections show are potentially at risk of disasters caused by floods, landslides and torrential rains. Implicated in Bogota Humana’s resettlement outcome are two defining features of the city’s housing market, a large and growing housing deficit, and the informal development of housing in the urban periphery. They raise questions of the particular housing strategy connected to the resettlements. How did the Petro administration negotiate the city’s housing deficit? How did it intervene in the city’s informal housing markets?

Borrowing from political ecology and the emerging critiques of social-ecological systems theory (Adger 2006, Pelling 2011, Hodson &Marvin 2010) this dissertation relies on a political and economic frame to examine the role played by the housing market in this case of climate resettlements. It argues that by considering the role of markets we can not only bring into view how social-ecological contradictions are generated, namely through the existing patterns in the spatial distribution of housing, but also how they might be resolved. The aim of the dissertation is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the political economy of climate resettlements by examining the case represented in Bogota Humana’s resettlement strategy.

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