Revista invi N°67/November2009/Volume N°24: 21-67

ARTICLE

 

"BICENTENARY: AN OPPORTUNITY TO RETHINK URBAN HOUSING POLICIES IN CHILE"

 

Rubén Sepúlveda Ocampo1 Jorge Larenas Salas2 Vanessa Prado Barroso3 Bárbara Prat Waldron4 Jun Álvarez González5

1        Chile. Architect. Doctoral Student Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Instituto de la Vivienda Academic, Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Chile. Email: rsepulve@uchile.cl

2        Chile. Sociology Graduate, DAS in Applied Sciences Universidad Católica de tovaina, DAS in Sociology Universidad Católica de tovaina. Doctoral Candidate, Universidad Católica de tovaina, Belguim. Instituto de la Vivienda Academic, Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Chile. Email: jolarena@uchile.cl

3        Brazil.Architect-Urbanist,MasterStudentinUrbanDevelopment IEUT Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Email: vanyfau@hotmail.com

4        Chile. Architect, Doctoral Student Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Instituto de la Vivienda Academic, Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Chile. Email: prat.barbara@gmail.com

5        Chile. Social Anthropology Graduate, Universidad de Chile. Intern at Instituto de la Vivienda, Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Chile. Email: junalvarex@gmail.com


Summary

Different countries of the Region are developing a series of projects to celebrate the Bicentenary. In a context of competition for visibility, these plans are intended to promote country image by taking into account the concepts of globalization and neoliberalism. In the case of Chile, initiatives are more focused on the future than the past of the nation. It is a turning point for Chilean urban policies, where Ciudad Parque Bicentenario, through the combination of basic concepts of quantity, quality and integration, is an example of this forward-looking approach expressed on housing-urban affairs.

With a major role of the State, Chile has gradually consolidated a housing policy and reduced the quantitative housing deficit. However, this policy had serious urban and social consequences; sociospatial segregation is one of them. The solution to these problems is, then, a task of the new policies.

The "I Love My Neiighbourhood" programme (PQMB by its initials in Spanish) is composed by elements that may coincide to those of fourth generation policies, namely, participation, integration and systematicity. This initiative represents an important turning point in first, second and third generation policies; which were thought to address the construction of housing units, urbanization and regularization respectively.

KEYWORDS: BICENTENARY, HOUSING AND URBAN POLICIES, REGENERATION, FOURTH GENERATION POLICIES, COUNTRY IMAGE.


Bicentenary as an opportunity to rethink urban housing policies

Today, cities are facing a number of events that seem characteristic of our times. Free market economy is penetrating all layers of society, creating the conditions and problems that mark our period. City planning, thinking and developing are also part of that situation, as there are connections between glohalization, neoliberalization and city transformation processes. Thus, a less protectionist State, a less participatory democracy, segregation, disintegration, mercantilization and individualization are examples of current problems reflected on both material expressions and the way people live in the city.

Without a doubt, these situations are seen -to a greater or lesser extent- throughout the world or in our region, with certain differences according local realities, but always sharing common patterns. By considering those conditions and havingintoaccounthistoricalevolution, Santiago de Chile and many of Chilean cities are also part of that situation, where protagonists, supporting actors and extras live under tension and strife. Following this premise, every actor has different levels of influence on such heterogeneous play. In addition, main characters of past decades such as the State and the Government seem to exchange roles with other actors such as market economic elements, confusing people about the importance of each one and hiding the role of citizens. This problem makes us rethink on the cities we want to develop, and if we consider the two hundred years of republican history we are about to celebrate, there is a historical moment that-with conscience and will- may be a turning point for our cities and society development. That is why we regard urban regeneration as one of the unavoidable and fundamental challenges to keep in mind for the Bicentenary.

The present article was developed from the Research "Renovación de Barrios en Chile y España. Análisis, procesos de intervención y evaluación"6.

Bicentenary and official proposals

There are commemorations planned for 2009 and 2010 in Latin America, where countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay y Venezuela celebrate two hundred years of independence, that is to say, the Bicentenary.

In some countries -Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay- commemorations are mainly focused on cultural promotion, through projects that acknowledge their respective identity, tradition and history. For instance, citizens are part of projects in Ecuador; cultural centres are proposed to be developed in Argentina; and activities celebrating the figure of Simón Bolívar are being planned in Venezuela. In other countries -Bolivia, Mexico and Chile- different and large-scale projects have been proposed. Such initiatives range from urban and architectural regeneration, such as the development of buildings and facilities -Bolivian sport facilities-, to development of infrastructure in Mexico. (See table 1)

Table 1

Source: Own Elaboration from information from Bicentenary Group

In the case of Chile, according to formal proposals from the Government, works, projects and programmes to commemorate the Chilean Bicentenary -without considering private initiatives and public-private alliances labeled as Bicentenary- are identifed in three groups: physical works, cultural events and initiatives for technological and professional progress. On physical works, projects for the Santiago Metropolitan Region are predominant contrasted to those proposed for other regions -ten and six respectively-. There is also an initiative to he developed in a foreign country, the Centro Cultural Embajada de Chile in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Likewise, initiatives for technological and professional progress are distributed across the country and range from advanced human capital training, through Becas Chile, to give Internet access to rural communities, through the Red Digital Rural and the Sistema Satelital de Observación Terrestre (SSOT System). Additionally, there are three initiatives for cultural events on different regions, it is important to point out that cultural plans go beyond physical works.

For that reason, "Bicentenary" proposals are mainly focused on cultural and scientifc-technical aspects in order to strengthen the concept of nation brand. Maybe that is why most of proposals are thought to be developed in the capital city and in physical works, as they are intended to give the country more visibility among all those who celebrate the Bicentenary and also to emphasize the future rather than the past of the country. (Photo 1 and Picture 1)

PHOTO 1: Tenement house in Valparaíso.

Source: Chilectra Archive

PICTURE 1: Plano de Santiago 1911

Source: Municipality of Santiago

Urban and housing policies within the framework of the bicentenary

Ciudad Parque Bicentenario, in the context of urban and housing policies, is the closest to those strategies as it is an initiative that wants to he a model of current housing policy by including the principles of quality, quantity and integration. To do so, dwellings, commerce and services are constructed in order to integrate different types of families in the grounds of the former Aeródromo Cerrillos, generating an urban regeneration in that area.

This Project is a reflection of changes in urban and housing policies once the historical debt was assumed hy the government, especially after the launching of the "l Love My Neighbourhood" programme. Before this initiative was published, strategies were focused only on construction of housing units to lessen housing deficit, disregarding city and neighbourhood principles. Quantity was more important than quality, triggering the socio-urban problem known as "those with roof", identifed by Sugranyes and Rodríguez7. For that reason, there is a fourth generation of urban and housing policies identifed within theframework of New Housing Policy, which, as R. Sepúlveda8 describes, represents the changes on policies by the addition of quality and integration. Those new strategies are then considered by private sector and applied in projects such as Ciudad Parque Bicentenario.

However, this process, specifically the consolidation of housing policy and the reduction of quantitative housing deficit-with the State playing the main role-, is not shared by most of Latin American countries, as they are focused on the reduction of urban informality -favelas, slums and shantytowns-. Such informality, coveringfrom 50 to 70 percent of new urbanized areas, represents the "(informal) Land markets which have their own rules"9. Those run-down neighhourhoods are the only ovtion for veovle who do not have access toformal land market.

That is why, in Latin America and the Caribbean, improvement programmes designed to complement housing policies of first and second generation are focused on addressing the problems of irregular settlements by providing basic needs. They are called third generation policies.

In Chile, comvlementary programmes are focused on the imvrovement of both common public spaces and deteriorated socio-economic conditions10. In this way, there is coexistence between urban improvement programmes -from first to fourth generations- and government housing policies.

Despite offering a partial view of problems and aspects analyzed, statistics (See table 2) point the differences between Chile and bicentenary Latin American countries. According to these figures, Chile has the lowest poverty and indigence rates (13.2 and 3.2 percent) and is among the three countries with greater availability of drinking water, sewer system and electric lighting (each service has more than 80 percent of availability). Conversely, Bolivia and Paraguay have low rates of basic needs provision -each country have 37.7 and 9.7 percent of sewer service availability-and the highest poverty and indigence rates, meaning that more than a half of each national population live under those conditions. Figures are a platform to promote both country image and Chile as leader in the Region.

TABLE 2: Indicators of countries conmemorating the bicentenary

Source: Own elaboration based on information from Statistical yearbook for Lati America and the Caribbean, 2008.

Chile and country image

Bicentenary is regarded as a symbolic moment of national commemoration, where concepts such as globalization, postmodernism, integration and culture are touched on. Within this symbolic framework, the change of century coincides with a change of millennium. As Silva puts it: "The Bicentenary goes along with the pace of our current globalized, modern, postmodern and hectic world"11.

Generally, Bicentenary initiatives are thought to produce a positive effect on urban governability, which is a concept that aims to prove stability on political-economical and sociocultural aspects "Through decentralization of administration and involvement of citizens"12 and the image of a globally competitive nation and cities, as an effort to improve spatial quality (of urban spectacle).

In the context of globalization, nation-states are more and more focused on adapting their systems to the global concept of city. In Chile, the main idea is to create a new unifed identity as a discursive platform for growth, development and progress to give the country more visibility -by highlighting its economic stability and solid institutions-. To that end, Chile is being promoted as "Chile, país emprendedor" (Chile, enterprising country).

This idea is what Tironi13 defines as the break of current individualist and mercantilist order. Since 1990, there have been three breaks: the first of bureaucratic order, the second of authoritarian order and the third of oligarchic and conservative order. Current break pursues a new country image through reinvention of national identity, an exercise which, according to the author, is "Essentially intellectual" and still pending.

On the contrary, Silva14 points out that "Country image should not be promoted as a new brand in the market", since the initiative may be reduced to a consumption strategy and turn into a "hologram of identitary substratum", being unable to transcend beyond contingency. Identity cannot beforcedly created from a limited and exclusive group. Identity is -as memory-an "imaginative construct" based on physical actions and expressions defined by a dynamic and changing process. If history emphasizes the origin, it may acquire critical importance in the development of collective memory as a basis for national identity. And through that critical importance the contradictions, ambiguities, gaps and arbitrariness of collective memory formation may be relativized.

According to Borja15, it is assumed that ifthere is no common willfor creating social imaginary, sociocultural cohesion of communities will become difficult, as the concept of imaginary is an identitary substratum -national identity in this case- centred on multiculturalism and not on a unique, concrete and well defined entity.

Since globalization tends to blend local identities into national and global identities, different authors16 have stressed the emergence of "social, economic and cultural expressions" incorporating unique elements in order to stand out in such globalized context. Therefore, the process of identity formation should not disregard temporality (present, past and future) and scale (local, national and global) aspects.

Three decades of neoliberal policies. The real context for urban regeneration: opportunities or threats for the bicentenary?

The refoundational project introduced during the military government defined a develovment policy based on neoliberalism, where the State gave up its develoving role and market arose as the main provider of resources.

In line with this project, measures changing urban develovment volicies were designed to restructure urban space, providing it with legal support and pushing sociospatial segregation to the limits. It is important to mention that the urban development policy applied from 1979 onwards (the Executive Order 420 that modified the Santiago Intermunicipal Plan of 196017) is independent from public intervention on the land market.

In addition, a "natural" way of using space was planned. This "natural" method was governed by market trends that would determine the amount of land required for urban activities and the new areas for city expansion. The principles of the new standards and mechanisms to develop the capacity of public sector to understand the "natural" growth of the city, guided by market trends, and intended to stimulate the intervention of private sector, limited the role of the State to that of a provider of subsidies.

Likewise, the Santiago Metropolitan Area underwent a municipal reorganization in 1981, a process where its 17 municipalities were subdivided resulting in 34 towns. Subdivision criterion was decided on the basis of generating homogeneous units from a socioeconomic, ecologic and administrative perspective. The idea of the programme was to socially homogenize the Santiago population by organizing a dual city with municipalities divided according to the income level of its inhabitants. (Picture 2)

PICTURE 2: Socioeconomic groups and localization of neighbourdhoods

Source: housing information System, Instituto de la Vivienda, FAU, U. de Chile

The subdivision process meant that a large number of families were moved from "rich" towns to "poor"18 towns lacking the basic infrastructure to receive the new people. During this programme -from 1979 to 1985-, 29,000 families (150,000 people) were moved. It is safe to say, then, that both the urban development policy19, based on the "natural" use of space, and the programmes for eradication and transfer of dwellers have resulted in an urban catastrophe20. Hence, social segregation of space is a major effect of urban policy.

As noted, economic and macroeconomic policies are never neutral on their impact on urhan and regional development. The same happens with the legal institutional setting and its internal way of government and administration of State. Since 1973, Chile has experimented with new and radical economic policies, including an arrangement enshrined in the 1980 Constitution, giving relative importance to urban policy. Therefore, radicalization of sociospatial segregation is an undeniable effect of such initiatives.

Although this is a well-known phenomenon in developing countries, the difference lies in the level of social segregation.

Functional division of urban space in residential, recreational, industrial and commercial areas is a result of technological progress and labour division. By contrast, social division of space is the result of unequal income distribution, meaning that the access to urban goods and services is unequal21 as well. From an urban point of view, income concentration and unequal income distribution are clearly identifiable in Santiago. Statistics shows that income, urban equipment, life quality and housing standards are unequally distributed in the city.

There is no douht that employment, lahour and wage policies and the system for resources assignation and distrihution had a gradual impact on urban space, turning Santiago into a dual and disintegrated city. It is even possible to find not only different social groups with different income levels, but also different cultures and levels of progress and life quality22.

In fact, there are two cities excluding and ignoring each other. Most of its inhabitants reduce their own space in the closest area23. The excluding laws governing urban space reduce the chance for people displacement. The city is defined by divided areas where different social groups live without interaction among them. In the context of permissive urban policies, the market -through economic mechanisms- reinforces and doubles an urban order in which people are individually and socially identifiable. (Position, position experience).

Back to the topic of historical approach24, the urban policies designed during the 1960s and 1970s differ greatly from current ones. In those days, urban conflicts were included on political struggle and urban policies reflected the worries of dominant class about the new social actors of urban panorama. Such worries were translated into concessions thought to reduce the differences between those who "have" resources and those who "do not" and to include the new urhan areas into the political system of that period. The promotion of urban policies had its basis on progress and a promise for gradual improvement of life conditions. Then, the changes that took place at the beginning of the 1980s followed a completely different trend. Urban policies did not reflect the same worry as in the past; on the contrary, it reflected the authority discourse. There were no more policy concessions; it was time for order, discipline and eradication. The message of the authority -highly pragmatic- regarded the worsening of life conditions of a wide part of urban population as a normal and stable situation (social cost of progress). Measures were only taken to secure basic life standards. During the 1990s, Santiago is seen as a completely segregated city. In this way, the first evaluations conclude that cities like Santiago are chaotic, disorganized and anarchic. But ahove everything, those cities have a well planned order: social segregation25.

Implemented urban policies have created a city which segregates population. Nevertheless, an urban order that only segregates is unstable, since concentrates, combines and congregates people sharing the same problems. A segregated city is not enough to keep order: population should he individualized. Discipline and market segregate and disintegrate population; they are presented on a discourse that identifies the city organization as "natural"26. Social segregation is a kind of order fueled by the omnipresent globalization process. However, if analyzed in detail, this case is an anti-urban concept because cities are planned for interaction, copresence and social diversity27.

New policies to address the urban crisis

Socio-urban problems that affect Santiago are expressed and reflected on public spaces. Social integration -an abstraction of reflections on modern city, interaction and encounter among different people - is a critical element when considering the ways of use and appropriation developed by different social groups. Discussions on contradictions of the development model used to design urban policies are gradually being considered on decisional spheres of puhlic policies. It is important to remember that the 1999 electoral scenario was -partly- defined by the inclusion of urban issues related to more comfortable cities and quality of life on political agenda. That milestone marked a transition from approaches based more on housing deficit than urban problems to initiatives centred on housing market and the anti-urban effects of past policies. The new guidelines of the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism under the administration of President Bachelet are a strong signal of that transition, which, as well as tackling the urban deficit, it also addresses social quality and integration. The previous28 is an example of a new generation of urban policies, as it includes (on discourse) a redistributive emphasis on urban goods production.

There is, though, another challenge threatening sectoral installed capacities. It is the fact that disintegration is related to the cultural changes of our society. On one hand, experiences from social coexistence -element that creates flexible social relationships- have changed, diminishing and deteriorating social fabric. On the other hand, representations of society have changed, making the idea of social life a difficult concept to understand. This is mainly due to what Lechner29 defines as the accelerated individualization processes. In such actions, people tend to develop their own projects for self-actualization and to expand their experiences horizon and participation in social life. However, not all people can enjoy these opportunities. Individualization depends on the options and resources of society -which is getting more and more complex and different and where possibilities grow directly proportional to self-determination difficulties-as the number of actors and systems of values and beliefs multiplies increasing the normative referents and interpretative schemes to such a point that the idea of collective references is insufficient to reflect our disintegrated society. Disconnected from tradition, the search for historical condition is a progressively difficult task for a society.

In our country, the neoliberal policies that were promoted during the military government accelerated individualization, first in the economic area, and then in different social fields such as social and health insurances and education. Lechner acknowledges that, for some people, this liberty meant loss of protection. lndividuals noticed then that most of their careers depended more on external circumstances than on their own decisions. People from lower social groups think of social reality as a domineering process, generating high uncertainty. Lechner points out that "if there is no social link to interact, the only option for them will be their own private world. In this context, an a-social individualization occurs. A clear example of 'negative individualism' would be the slogan 'lf everything is all right at home, the rest does not matter' Such 'privatization' is not a private issue: it modifes social fabric and dilutes the idea of society"30. This situation urges new policies designed to tackle this reality. Seclusion on more private spheres may not be regarded as an obstacle, hut a condition to consider. ln this sense, with a view to revert the individualism evolution process -one of the main problems to address for the Bicentenary-, strategies for creation and promotion of social capital acquire relevance.

At first sight, social capital strategy may seem as light; however, a numher of authors think of it as a way to create a strong institution and to promote the efficiency of democracy. Putnam31 defines it as a dependence relation constituted by the presence -on a society or group history-of a civic community (according to Putnam, informed people who read newspapers, watch or listen to news or take part on cultural and sports activities) and social capital. Thus, the historical pattern determines the sociocultural context in which it develops and influences over the configuration of a civic community. If so, a new strategy should be planned. A generation. Civic community allows the existence of social capital, according to Putnam, the engine of efficient operation of democracy. This social capital, generated by civic community, is composed by trust, reciprocity and cooperation standards, creating a virtuous circle, relationships and cohesion. At the same time, political attitudes of individuals, such as varticivation on civic community, may be altered and streamlined through institutional change.

Chile and the rest of Latin American countries have similar contexts, problems and macro conditions -but, as Lechner says, different ways of addressing every issue-, our common dictatorial vast generated a series of processes aimed at economic stabilization, consolidation of liberal cavitalism, State reduction, individualization and its negative countervart -which left unvrotected those with less opportunities-. Following the logic of individualization and free competition, the previously mentioned patterns are replicated in the urban field: the city grows fast but a large part of the city and its elements are not included. According to Lechner, the individualization process creates negative individualizations. Social fabric disintegration and weakening of public and State policies force those unprotected -direct beneficiaries of regeneration- to take refuge in their private environment. In this manner, we suggest that, if local environment is dysfunctional, the implementation of the urban regeneration programme will be difficult. Therefore, the restoration plan should be considered as the basis for a large-scale regeneration and for sociospatial integration of city.

Cities, then, seem to evolve from neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, this concept implies a demarcation of territory or, at worst, a frontier. Still, by considering the components of neighbourhoods, the connections between these units, towns and city can be inferred.

The neighbourhood, as the physical and social space derived from housing, can be understood as both the relation between city and public space and the relation between people and socialization. It is a human-scaled space connected to other neighbourhoods and larger spaces, creating towns and cities. The neighbourhood is a space generated by the interaction between private housing and public space and family, neighbours and civic space. These features, and the fact that the neighbourhood is composed by a series of elements, would he useful to apply urban regeneration, since it is a strategy that analyzes multiple factors. In order to make this possible, the neighbourhood should be regarded as more than a mere group of households. In addition, this territorial unit may be considered as the place where local power is built, meaning that the processes for public policies would be more democratic; in other words, it may be suggested that the neighbourhood is the source of civic responsibility.

It is important to point out that the neighbourhood would be useful as an intervention unit for urban regeneration, since, as well as its operating capacity and segmented work -in architectonic and social aspects-, it would regenerate the social fabric cells, namely, ways and networks ofsocial participation that people use on a local and primary environment. These cells would also promote social encounter.

The neighbourhood, due to its unique characteristics -housing, villages (just considering households) and urban equipment-, should be the right unit to apply city regeneration. This could be achieved by adopting an integrative perspective and distinguishing relations between elements and groups or aspects of the neighbourhood, such as links among economy, participation and transit spaces. The neighbourhood is a reality, or a liminal space, that combines public and private topics. It is a field of research where social sciences and architecture, or different disciplines such as economics, politics or social psychology, meet because "The essential feature of the neighbourhood is its condition of interstice, bridge or part of city that crosses and penetrate the borders between private and public space. The neighbourhood is the area generated from the tie that links city and world to private housing space. It is the interstice between public and private, they depend upon each other."32

Urban regeneration process, or regeneration of social and urban fabric, implies policies that recognize a relation between city and neighbourhood. In this sense, the city is a sociopolitical project which considers the interests of urban actors. There should be a direct relation between city project and neighbourhood. The characteristics and options of these units should also he considered, as they are useful to understand the constitution of civic communities and strengthening of social capital as a resource for reconstruction of democracy. In this way, neighbourhood intervention is a valid method for urban regeneration, provided that this unit is linked to city project. The challenge for Chile is, then, not only the neighbourhood regeneration but the design of public policies to promote equity and integration.

The "i love my neighbourhood" programme as a sketch for urban regeneration

Due to process on their cities, Latin American and European countries have designed urhan development programmes. Obviously, considering the differences among the historical and sociopolitical aspects of each city, it is difficult to find common patterns in their plans. In countries such as Germany, France, England and Spain (Photo 2), programmes were implemented decades ago; for instance, the English urban programme was implemented back in the 1960s. These processes were designed to address "deindustrialization, migration and a considerable amount of deteriorated housing and policies."33 Current institutional development of European countries is the proof of successful urban measures taken in the past. In Europe, programmes were based on physical urban rehabilitation or regeneration, meaning that constructions were demolished or improved. Then, as time went by, people were included in projects. Nowadays, interventions have a comprehensive approach, addressing physical and social issues as well (employment, education, health, age group, etc.) This kind of intervention was implemented a decade ago and it is composed by public and private elements.

PHOTO 2: Urban Regeneration in Neighbourhood of Casablanca (Barcelona)

Source: Rubén Sepúlveda, May 2009.

In Latin America, improvement programmes are planned to address the fast growth of cities and urbanization, "Obstructing the implementation of urban and housing policies designed to meet the needs of the population."34 In most of Latin American countries, cities have grown due to self-production. That is why programmes are mainly focused on basic infrastructure, cleaning up operations and tenure regularization; to put it another way, they are centred on the regularization and formalization of the self-built city. Moreover, since some administrations acknowledge that recovery of shared historical universe is an element of social stability35, the historical city and patrimony have also been intervened. Generally, programmes have turned into proposals focused not only on physical-spatial aspects, but also on sociocultural aspects. Although institution and plans are less developed than those of Europe, the goal of the new initiatives is to include citizen participation and multisectoral plans in order to tackle social problems.

In Chile, improvement programmes date back to the 1950s -pilot programme of portable toilets for Germán Riesco slum-. Then in the 1960s, a series of plans consolidated this trend. However, one of the most important initiatives has been the Chile Neighbourhood programme, launched as a pilot in 1997. This programme was aimed at the population of the 972 slums and settlements identified across the country. One of the main characteristics of this programme, in a highly sectoralized and centralized institutional context, is the coordination of multisectoral efforts at a local, regional and national level. That is to say, social marginality is addressed from different political and technical fields.

Today, improvement programmes are centred on the residential complex developed under past administrations. These initiatives did not meet the needs of the beneficiaries, since physical-territorial, sociocultural and political-economical aspects were not taken into account. The result is the current state of physical deterioration and social vulnerability of such housing. As it was explained above, it is a turning point for urban policies and President Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010) confirms it: "Urban and housing policies to secure quality life for people and their neighbourhoods are needed for the development of the country and life project of Chileans, promoting integration and reducing inequality."36 (Picture 3)

PICTURE 3: Localization of residential complex on "I love mi neighbourhood"

Source: Housing Information System, Instituto de la Vivienda, FAU, U. de Chile

The "I Love My Neighhourhood" programme, under the premises of "quality, quantity and integration", was designed as one of the main commitments of the Government Programme. The goal of the initiative was to "through a participatory recovery process of public spaces and family environment, contributing to the improvement of life quality of people living in deteriorated and socially vulnerable neighbourhoods."37 For that reason, the programme is aimed at those neighbourhoods physically deteriorated and socially vulnerable. The selection process was based on rates of poverty, geographic location, urban systems, physical deterioration, social vulnerability and synergy of resources, as well as local and regional political commitment "in towns with more than 70,000 people, or conurbations with more than 100,000 people, where a least the 10 percent ofthe population is poor."38 According to the data collected, 200 neighbourhoods were identifed, 19 of them were regarded as critical and 181 regarded as vulnerable. The process is divided into four implementation phases, where an evaluation is given and the Development Neighhourhood Council (coordinating role), the Works Management Plan, the Social Management Plan, the Neighbourhood Contract and the Trust Work are established.

It is important to consider that the governmental Programme is at an experimental phase. Therefore, its approach, goals and mechanisms of management and preliminary results should be analyzed. Likewise, because of the complexity of addressed issues, it should turn into a Public Policy for Neighbourhood Regeneration in a globalized context and socially inclusive. In this scenario, where economic development is centred on the city, the programme should combine -according to contextual conditions- physical, social and economic regeneration and include, as far as possible, actors directly or indirectly involved in neighbourhood affairs. In addition, it is worth to mention the presence of a sectoral ministry in intersectoral activities, aiming not only at physical works, but also at social participation and cohesion. Organizations such as the Development Neighbourhood Council and interdisciplinary neighbourhood teams are examples of such collaboration.

 

Nonetheless, as Sevúlveda39 points out, there are still issues to he discussed -even at an experimental phase-. Some examples of these topics are housing intervention; lack of coordination between programme deadlines and citizen particivation process; definition of intervention areas related not only to administrative boundaries; decentralization; multisectorality and intersectorality; and transforming an urban regeneration programme into a State policy; in other words, a programme transcending governments and ideals.

The sustainability of interventions would also determine the success of the programme. The idea is to seek convergence among the different conceptions of city and neighbourhood of peovle involved in the initiative. It should be considered that the development of a neighbourhood or a specifc area is a contribution to city development as well. This relation is reinforced by regarding urban regeneration as a key element for public management, governability, economic sustainability and social development..40 In addition to the role of planning pilot programmes as solutions to problems caused by past housing and urban policies, regeneration should he regarded as the basis for public policies. (Photo 3)

PHOTO 3: "I Love My Neighbourhood" Programme for Urban Regeneration in Las Viñitas Slum, Cerro Navia, Santiago de Chile

Source: INVI, 2008

 

Conclusions

modern cities appear to share the same problems of social and urban deterioration. In developed countries -mainly European-, initiatives designed to address problems pursue urban regeneration. Also, in an attempt to promote social participation, there are public agencies taking part in that process. To put it in another way, initiatives intended to recover urban and social fabric transcend its original purpose, since they reorganize social and political projects, consolidating the concept of city. Despite the differences between Chile and developed countries, especially in topics related to institutional support to cities, it is important to recognize the positive impact of the fourth generation policies -based on principles of social quality and integrity- launched by sectoral authorities. The aforementioned ideas propose an interesting combination. The first element is a successful international experience that harmonizes procedures; the result is a substantive framework of practical and conceptual accumulation. The second constituent is the fact that Chilean public policies would eventually coincide with those of the international experience. Beyond doubt, this combination is an opportunity for effective redesign of public policies. Furthermore, the Bicentenary is a unique moment to think about relations between space and society, especially in cities, where thoughts turn sensitive and critical. In the case of Chile, such reflections express the social inequality of our society. In addition, by regarding the city as an expression of public policies, the Bicentenary may be "our" moment to think of the redefinition of our urban nucleus; while unitary projects41 of society and its members are identified, integrated and represented in and through cities. More specifically, there are opportunities to give continuity and depth to changes identified for fourth generation policies. In effect, from approaches emphasizing competitiveness to those giving priority to life quality of people, urban regeneration is an important element to implement actions in different areas. Urban regeneration should he discussed as long as needed and influence on decisions of public policies taken in short- and mid-term. Nonetheless, it may run the risk of disappear due to relations among actors involved in the process. In this way, it would vanish from the urban and social development context related to the Bicentenary; the special moment in which people think of the country they want. Additionally, in order to give more depth and sustained impact to urban regeneration, it is essential to link the quality and integration principles to three inherent elements of public policies of greater redistributive density. Therefore, urban regeneration initiatives should be protected by influential institutional reforms on land market; powers and competences should be transferred to local actors through effective decentralization processes that allow vertical articulations (central level-local level); and in order to promote intersectoral horizontal articulations, it is fundamental to include sound approaches transcending the scope of sectoral policies. To conclude, and taking into account successful experiences, it is important to recognize the significance of the inclusion of urban regeneration in greater programmes that are thought to reconstruct collective projects, addressing the different interests related to urban spaces. The city is not a social abstraction, but a constructive one and urban regeneration should operate based on this premise.

6 Project A/019638/08 financed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development, carried outjointly by researchers Rubén Sepúlveda, Jorge Larenas y Fernando Campos from the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo and Montserrat Pareja, Lidia García and Montserrat Simó from the Universidad de Barcelona.

7 Rodríguez, Alfredo; Sungrayes, Ana, 2004, pp.- 53-65.

8 Sepúlveda, Rubén, 2008.

9 Sepúlveda, Rubén; Wagner, Raúl, 2006, p. 43

10 Ibid.

11 Silva, Bárbara, 2008, p.151.

12 Castells, Manuel, 2005, p.27.

13 Tirón, 2005

14 Silva, Bárbara, 2008, p. 165

15 Borja, Jordi, 2000

16 Arredondo, Juan; Rozas, Germán, 2006; Silva, Bárbara, 2008 and Garretón, Manuel Antonio, 2007

17 This instrument established a set of general conditions for urban planning: green areas and intermunicipal roads; localization and conditions for industrial zoning; conditions of use of the new area of city; and definition of areas for protection and restriction to urban development.

18 The case of the town of La Pintana, located in the Southern Zone of the city, is shocking. In 1982 79,000 people lived there and two yearslater,the population was 150,000 inhabitants.

19 However, this policy gradually lost legitimacy and it was replaced in 1985.The new strategy included planningand urban regulation elements. In 1994, the urban plan of Santiago was approved, meaning that the new policies started to become a reality.

20 Rodríguez, Alfredo, 1983

21 Fuenzalida Claro, Carlos, 1993.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Rodríguez, Alfredo, 1983.

25 Sabatini, Francisco, 1995.

26 Rodríguez, Alfredo, 1983.

27 Sabatini, Francisco, 1995.

28 Sepúlveda, Rubén,2007.

29 Lechner, Norbert, 2002.

30 lbid.,2002,2.

31 Putnam En Ríos, Alejandra; Ríos, Julio, 1999.

32 Márquez, Francisca,2006, pg 4.

33 Sur, 2009, p. 51.

34 Sur, 2009, p. 63.

35 Carrión y Hanley, 2005.

36 Speech of President Michelle Bachelet during "I love My Neighbourhood" programme activities.

37 Interview to Claudia Pinto, former Executive Assistant of "I tove My Neighbourhood" Programme.

38 Ministry of Housing and Urbanism, 2007, p.6.

39 Sepúlveda, Rubén. 2008.

40 Carrión y Hantley, 2005.

41 Luis Eduardo Bresciani, Head of the Urban Development Division of the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism, expressed at the II International Forum on Neighbourhood Recovery that urban policies applied in Chile generated a city of fear for wealthy sectors and a city of anger for popular sectors.


Received: 30.06.2009 Accepted: 05.11.2009