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Precarious Neighborhoods: Interclass Spaces and Interactions in Contemporary Buenos Aires

By Max Reinhardt


This thesis examines relationships between adjacent but unequal neighborhoods in Latin\ud American cities, a recent phenomenon of increasing frequency. Drawing on a case study from Buenos Aires where Barrio Rodrigo Bueno, a squatter settlement facing the threat of eviction,\ud and Puerto Madero, a luxury neighborhood for the elite, share a border, I examine how Latin America's urban lower class, despite fragile living conditions, may try to use elite development\ud projects to claim a right to the city. To do so, I provide two case studies of interstitial spaces: the church and a green space. I found that while people of different economic classes are\ud brought together in these spaces, their interactions are limited. I then contrast these instances of interclass contact with those of the workplace, which are more consistent, but more hierarchical. I found that the people of Barrio Rodrigo Bueno repurpose these spaces to fit their needs, habits, and desires, but they do not establish strong alliances with their wealthy neighbors. Nonetheless, this ability to re-purpose urban spaces may be one of the final connections Latin America's increasingly "severed" (Auyero 2001) shantytowns have to the city as a whole

Year: 2014
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