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Federico Ruiz Carvajal: Life after fences: Negotiating low-income gated communities in Bogotá

Location: Bogotá, Colombia
Mentors: Luiz De Carvalho Filho, Birgit Hausleitner
Keywords: Gated communities, Bogota, social housing, negotiation

In the early 2000s gated communities became the main growth cells of Bogotá, and in 2018 they housed 38% of the city’s households. The case of low-income gated communities, which accounts of more than half of them, is especially complex; their inhabitants, who see homeownership as the first step in their trajectory towards middle-class, are the first enforcers of their condominiums’ written and unwritten codes of conduct. This unexpected alignment of government, developers and residents defines a “closed city”, where the possibility of an open and productive relationship between public and private spaces is denied. Nonetheless, this complex apparatus for control is constantly challenged by those same residents. This “overflow” is evident in the productive activities carried out within the gated communities and in the informal services and products offered in the streets around them. This project explores the ways in which this negotiation can be translated and enhanced into a spatial and regulatory “framework for negotiation.” The goal is to create the conditions for the growth of open living environments through actions that prioritize horizontal interaction and spatial flexibility. In this scenario, residents should become the main agents of production of social, political and economic complexity of their neighbourhoods.

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