Social Urbanism in Latin America

Innovative Experiences in Latin American Cities
  • Carlos Leite
  • Claudia Acosta
  • Fernanda Militelli
  • Guillermo Jajamovich
  • Mariana Wilderom
  • Nabil Bonduki
  • Nadia Somekh
  • Tereza Herling
Part of the Future City book series (FUCI, volume 13)


The chapter introduces some current concepts and its historical precedents in regard to social urbanism, a contemporary strand of multidisciplinary studies about cities that emerge from the Latin America’s complex reality, which is the most urbanized of the continents, and other transition cities from the Global South.

In these terms, social urbanism aims to promote the improvement of urban life quality and territorial inclusion, especially by directing investments toward socially vulnerable areas and integrated solutions of social housing and urban support infrastructure. In that sense, social urbanism is explained to be a relevant part of the New Urban Agenda when it is contemplated as a city science of the twenty-first century, with emphasis on social inclusion.

The text contextualizes the historical social demands of Latin American cities, the urgent demand for urban public policies, as well as presents some local innovative experiences in different countries on land policy, its instruments of urban planning and financing, local integral urban projects, social housing and neighborhood upgrading programs, city management, urban law, and new forms of community participation processes.

The “cities for all” and “sustainable city” demands are approached as an integrated agenda for the Global South incorporating social innovation aspects related to the inclusive cities.


Social urbanism Land policy Financing instruments Social inclusion Land value capture Social housing Latin America Global South Social innovation Inclusive cities Urban agenda Neighborhood upgrading program Informal territories Cities for all Sustainable cities 


  1. Adler V, Vera F (eds) (2018) Vivienda ¿Qué viene?: de pensar la unidad a construir la ciudad. Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Allard P, Adler, V (2018) Vivienda en América Latina y el Caribe y Mejoramiento de Barrios: hacia una mayor inclusión In: Red de Ciudades (ed), Reunión Anual de Alcades y Seminario: “Ciudades Incluyentes: Aprendiendo de Medellín”. Medellin, Colombia, p 11–137. Technical document from Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Accessed 20 Apr 2019.
  3. Angotti T, Irazabal C (2017) Planning latin American cities: dependencies and “Best Practices”. Lat Am Perspect 44(2).
  4. Benevolo L (1971) The origins of modern town planning. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonduki N (ed) (2018) A luta pela reforma urbana no Brasil. Do Seminário de Habitação e Reforma Urbana ao Plano Diretor de São Paulo. Instituto da Cidade/CAU/SP, Sao PauloGoogle Scholar
  6. Boone C (2013) Social Dynamics and Sustainable Urban Design. In: Pickett S, Cadenasso M, McGrath B (eds) Resilience in ecology and urban design: linking theory and practice for sustainable cities, Future City, vol 3. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 47–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cobos E (ed) (2017) Grandes metrópolis de América Latina: Buenos Aires, Río de Janeiro, Sáo Paulo, Valle de México. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco, Ciudad de México, MéxicoGoogle Scholar
  8. Colau A, Khan S (2018) City properties should be homes for people first – not investments. The Guardian, 03 Jul 2018. Accessed on 20 Jan 2019.
  9. Eguino H & Leite C (2018) ¿Como mejorar los ingresos municipales y prepararse para acceder a financiamiento?: la importancia de una buena gestión fiscal. In: Red de Ciudades (ed), Reunión Anual de Alcades y Seminario: “Ciudades Incluyentes: Aprendiendo de Medellín”. Medellin, Colombia, pp 161–174. Technical document from Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Accessed 20 Apr 2019
  10. Fernandes E (2018) 2018, May 7. Brasil tem 6,9 milhões de famílias sem casa e 6 milhões de imóveis vazios, diz urbanista, BBC Brasil. Accessed 20 Jan 2019.
  11. Florida R (2017) The new urban crisis. How our cities are increasing inequality, deepening segregation, and failing the middle class and what we can do about it. Basic Books, Nova YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. George H (2011) The land question: property in land, the condition of labor. Ulan Press, San BernardinoGoogle Scholar
  13. Jenks M (2017) The sustainable city: a good and secure quality of life? In: Bay J, Lehmann S (eds) Growing compact. Urban form, density and sustainability. Routedge, London. Scholar
  14. Leite C, Acosta C, Haddad F, Sutti W (2018) Social urbanism in São Paulo. Public land policy and inducive instruments developed in the period 2013–2016 (Fernando Haddad’s term as Mayor of Sao Paulo). Arquitextos, São Paulo, year 19, n. 219.06, Vitruvius, August 2018. Accessed 23 Dec 2018
  15. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2018) Lincoln Institute launches global campaign to promote land value capture, 07 Feb 2018. Accessed 20 Jan 2019
  16. Maricato E (2017) The future of global peripheral cities. Lat Am Perspect 44(2).
  17. McGuirk J (2016) Ciudades radicales: Un viaje a la arquitectura latinoamericana (Noema) (Spanish Edition). Turner.Google Scholar
  18. Montaner J, Muxí Z (2011) Arquitetura y política/architecture and politics: Ensaios para mundos alternativos/essays for alternative worlds (Spanish Edition). Gustavo Gili Ebook, São Paulo.Google Scholar
  19. Rojas E (2018) No time to waste: applying the lessons from Latin America’s 50 years of housing policies to Rapidly Urbanizing Countries. Environ Urban.
  20. Rossbach A, Magalhaes I (2017) Políticas de vivienda – Un breve panorama regional y el caso de Brasil. In: Pamela Olmedo M, Gustavo Endara org, Alternativas urbanas y sujetos de transformación. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES-ILDIS), Ecuador.Google Scholar
  21. Royer L (2018) Como vamos financiar as unidades habitacionais? In: Cidades em Disputa, Nexo Journal, 23 Jan 2018. Accessed 20 Jan 2019
  22. Saldiva P (2017) Vida urbana e saúde: os desafios dos habitantes das metrópoles. Contexto, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  23. Santoro P (2018) Quais as alternativas para suprir a demanda de moradia no centro de SP. Nexo Journal, 02 May 2018. Accessed 20 Jan 2019
  24. Sennett R (2013) The open city. Accessed 20 Jan 2019
  25. Tuller D (2018) Housing and health: the role of inclusionary zoning. Health affairs health policy brief.
  26. UN Habitat (2017) New Urban Agenda. UN-Habitat – United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Kenya.
  27. UN Habitat (2018) Kuala Lumpur declaration on cities 2030. UN-Habitat – United Nations Human Settlements Programme, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  28. Zuquim M, Mazo L, Brandão A (2014) Intervenções Contemporâneas em Cidades da América Latina: Práticas Recentes de Intervenção Urbana em Áreas Informais. Brasil-Colômbia. Accessed 20 Jan 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Leite
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudia Acosta
    • 3
    • 4
  • Fernanda Militelli
    • 1
    • 5
  • Guillermo Jajamovich
    • 6
  • Mariana Wilderom
    • 7
  • Nabil Bonduki
    • 7
    • 8
  • Nadia Somekh
    • 1
    • 9
  • Tereza Herling
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Architecture and UrbanismMackenzie Presbyterian UniversitySão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.PPG-CIS-Uninove and Institute of Advanced StudiesUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Fundação Getulio VargasSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for the Latin AmericaWashington, DCUSA
  5. 5.Universidade PaulistaSão PauloBrazil
  6. 6.Institute of Latin American and Caribbean StudiesUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  7. 7.School of Architecture and UrbanismUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  8. 8.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  9. 9.Institut d’Urbanisme de ParisUniversity of Cergy-PontoiseCergyFrance

Personalised recommendations