The form assumed contemporarily by spatial organization in South and Central America as a network of nodes and spatial linkages represents the outcome for the space of this region of long-acting external influences plus internal conditions that have – at different times in different ways – shaped spatial relationships and the manner in which space in this part of the world is planned. Naturally, the spatial structure of today’s economy is influenced further by globalization, with growing competition for access to resources, be these either mineral deposits or agricultural in nature. These impacts ensure that, notwithstanding the widely-voiced opinion on the need to protect nature in areas of the continent supporting moist tropical forests, and in the high Andes, the governments of the different countries continue to award concessions allowing corporations of global reach to exploit resources of value that are in demand worldwide. This aggressive “resources race” has its serious consequences with regard to the forms and scope the region’s spatial management and organization assume.
These processes ought to be regulated by spatial planning, which is thus failing to play its proper role at regional levels. Those researching South America refer without hesitation to the lack of planning and overexploitation of raw materials, with all the serious consequences this has for society, not least with regard to internal migration, expulsions, the impoverishment of groups in society deprived of their land, and so on.