THE EVERYDAY EFFECTS OF URBAN PLANNING: EXPLORING PERCEPTIONS OF VIOLENCE, INSECURITY AND URBAN SPACE IN TWO MEXICAN CITIES.

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Natalia Garcia Cervantes

Abstract

Urban violence represents one of the greatest development challenges for Latin American countries. During the past two decades, Mexico has witnessed an alarming increase of violence levels heavily associated with homicides and crimes related to drug trafficking. The way this extreme violence problem has been framed has had implications regarding the focus of studies which, from a variety of disciplines, are concerned in understanding the socio-economic causes, the regional security, and governance consequences as well as the national, sub-national and local government policy responses to this phenomenon. In this context, the multifaceted ways in which daily violence manifests in the urban space have been less studied. Aiming to shed light on how varied types of violence and insecurity are experienced at the local level, this research adapts an ecological framework in an attempt to disentangle the impact that urban planning has on the perceptions that citizens living in inner cities and peripheral settlements have of their own urban space, and what the implications for future violence reduction policies may be. Through a comparative study of two Mexican cities, and using participatory methods including transect walks, auto-photography and risk mapping assessments, the research explores the perceptions of violence and insecurity and their link to urban space, highlighting the role that physical and spatial interventions have played. A main finding of the research is that, while these interventions are seen by policy makers and city planners as an answer to violence, failing to include residents’ perceptions of violence and insecurity in the design and implementation of these responses limits their effectiveness and outcomes. Moreover, implementation of generic socio-spatial solutions in Mexican cities tends to obscure the real causes of violence, and in some cases, worsens residents’ feelings of insecurity. In this sense, urban planning seems to have exacerbated the experiences and manifestations of insecurity and violence.

Details

Original languageEnglish
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Supervisors/Advisors
Award date1 Aug 2018