Urbanization: Concepts, Trends and Analysis in Three Latin American Cities

William Alfonso Piña 1
  • 1 Faculty of Science Policy and Government, Urban Development and Management Program, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá


Explanatory models on the urban expansion process have focussed mainly on the dynamic of cities in the developed countries that are characterized by a strong institutional framework, a culture of urban planning, and compliance with the rules. This paper analyses the phenomenon of urban expansion in three Latin American cities (Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Mexico City), taking into account cities with a strong process of urbanization and where the local administration does not have enough control over the growth of cities due to the high rate of migration determining sub-urbanization, peri-urbanization, exo-urbanization, and counter-urbanization processes similar to developed countries. However, these processes may be related to hidden or displaced urbanization in rural areas of municipalities and metropolitan areas or intermediate cities due to the dynamics of urban consolidation. In every Latin American country, the participation and combination of these phenomena are different, although the results are similar: the advance of urban expansion with more segmented, disperse and distant patterns of large urban centres. This analysis determine the characteristics of the urbanization process taking into account physical and geographic aspects, urbanization trends and socioeconomic features in cities selected of Latin America and determines their impact determining the importance to formulate adequate policies that integrates environmental and socioeconomic aspects to achieve sustainable development in urban contexts.

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