New paper co-authored by Pablo Muñoz Unceta, Birgit Hausleitner and Marcin Dąbrowski has just been published in Urban Planning open access journal.

Please have a look: 

Valle Amauta in Lima, the case study area covered in the paper. Photo: Pablo Muñoz Unceta

The paper builds on Pablo’s brilliant EMU graduation thesis and focuses on socio-spatial segregation in Lima. We use this case study to propose a new perspective on socio-spatial segregation in the Global South. We argue that a focus on the distinction between formal and informal settlements is not helpful. Instead we propose to consider the spatial features of ordinary social and economic activities, from schools, to cantines, hardware shops and even ‘love hotels’. The key message from the paper is that in order to improve quality of life in deprived neighbourhoods, in cities such as Lima, we need to pay less attention to wether a neighbourhood is formally planned or not, and we should rather focus on on how to plan it so that access to centralities created by ‘ordinary’ socio-spatial activities is improved.


Planning practice in the Global South often defines a border between formal and informal developments ignoring the complex and nuanced reality of urban practices and, consequently, worsening segregation. This article proposes an alternative view of socio-spatial segregation that shifts the distinction between formal/informal towards one that emphasises access to opportunities and their relationship with the spatial structure of the city. Under this alternative framework, applied to the case of the Valle Amauta neighbourhood in Lima, Peru, we reflect on how socio-economic activities, shaped by spatial conditions and social practices, increase or reduce socio-spatial segregation. Our findings suggest that a shift towards strategies aimed at increasing accessibility to centrality, provided by the density of social and economic activities, could offer new opportunities for planning practice and theory in the Global South.

Keywords: informality; Global South; segregation; spatial justice; urban morphology.



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