The Changing Barrio Brasil.Gentrification a la chilena?

The Barrio Brasil is a historic inner-city neighborhood in Santiago de Chile which has been subject to several changes during the last and present century. Specially the recent developments are interesting to be observed from an urban analytic perspective. The area has been influenced by the action of private investment, city-planning entities and civil movements in such a way that it rises the question about what theoretical umbrella could be span over it, in order to determine this transformation.

by Camilo Betancourt

The renewal of built environment and the exchange of population groups is commonly linked to the gentrification theory. There is a controversial debate about what fits in this theoretical frame and what not, nevertheless, it might be possible to get a bit closer to the former aim by means of this theoretical approach. Furthermore, is “western” literature applicable to “non-western” Santiago de Chile city phenomena?

The first part of this work will consist in describing spatially, historically and socio-economically the Barrio Brasil in order to impart a clear image of the studied territory and its characteristics. Continuing from that, I will focus more extensively on the recent changes within the area and refer to the role played by the public and private sector, but also by the (new) inhabitants themselves. Further then, there will be an exposition about different debates and theories around gentrification taking a look at the economic and cultural aspects which I consider relevant for this case-study.

The objective behind this steps is to connect both, the concrete situation in the Barrio Brasil and the available theoretic background around this subject of study in urban sociology. Having in mind that this approach is conceived as an overview about the possible factors involved in an urban transition process like this, the look on each aspect won´t be as deep as if it where a specific analysis on only one of them. In what extent is it possible to talk about gentrification within the framework of the Barrio Brasil´s recent development?
Camilo Betancourt, wird 1987 in Karlsruhe geboren. Seinen Schulabschluss erlangt er in Chile. 2008 kehrt er zurück in die BRD und nimmt im WS 2009/10 das Studium der Sozialwissenschaften an der HU Berlin auf. Städte haben ihn stets auf eine unerklärliche Weise fasziniert. Neben städteräumlichen Phänomenen interessiert er sich für Migrationsprozesse, Sozialpolitik und Geographie.

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