Santiago problems

Peri-urban issues

  • Santiago expanded rapidly during the dictatorship & since, organized on a grid plan. Low income housing was sited on transit corridors. Much recent near-peri-urban is disconnected gated enclaves with own services. In hinterland, peri-urban expansion of older towns & modernization of rural economy.
  • urban real estate markets push out-migration to peri-urban, mainly car-based: more pressure due to geography. Enclaves get larger
  • Middle class culture favours the peri-urban gated community. Rural areas want to be ‘urban’ & many urban areas want ‘rural’.
  • Santiago is a primate city with large N-S gravity pull. Recent political changes shift towards indigenous economic activity, but most real estate controlled by elite wealth.

santiago spatial mapping.png

Climate issues

  • Temperature rise projection to 2100: 1.5 – 5.5 degrees average
  • Precipitation projection: summer 30-50% reduction, winter 20-30% reduction.
  • Major seismic problems with San Ramon fault: link with climate change?
  • urban flash flooding & drought events set to increase. Reduced water availability affecting hydroelectricity, mining, agribusiness, human consumption.
  • Forest depletion to W, fire zone to NW. Generally arid landscape will increase in drought & heat. Major losses to agriculture in a high emissions scenario.
  • Urban impacts on land-use & land cover combine with climate change, causing soil & ecosystems loss.

Santiago climate effects.png

Societal issues

  • Santiago Metro region extends to near the coast, with fertile valleys & forested hills, against the Cordillera of the Andes. A generally dry climate is set to get much drier.
  • Fragmented planning fails to connect with ecological patterns – or to provide infrastructure services & jobs in the right locations. Water / energy sectors lack integration of structure or policy.
  • Social divisions on the S side, between high-class residential areas next to existing social housing & local long-term community. Displacement of farming creates socio-economic problems with ‘rural gentrification’. Urban poverty is rising & causes political pressures.
  • Resilience through participatory processes has been explored, however this needs rolling out at a larger and continuous scale.
  • There is potential to increase the resilience to climate change by engaging with structural inequalities. Peri-urban is developing randomly around the system of rural residential plots: liberalisation policies bring transformations that policy makers cannot control.

Governance issues

  • Spatial governance is fragmented between 52 boroughs. Metropolitan area was planned on grid pattern, but the speed of peri-urban expansion seems beyond the current capacity of planning. Local governments are generally inwards & short termist.
  • Active civil society with pressure groups, lobby groups etc, however much is deeply embedded in structures of elite power
  • The political elite merges into business / real estate / extractive industries, with widespread clientelism & nepotism.
  • There may be underlying layers of cohesion and resilience, alongside with deep political-cultural divisions

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