University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Martin Centre Research Seminar Series - 40th Annual Series of Lunchtime Lectures > Constructing the contemporary city: informal housing processes in Latin America

Constructing the contemporary city: informal housing processes in Latin America

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Abstract: Our understanding of how cities are planned and produced is being challenged by the expanding cities of Latin America. Here the majority of new construction is in the hands not of professionals, but large numbers of informal dwellers and grassroots organisations who create their own housing environments with only tangential links to official structures. Drawing on a long term ethnographic study of informal settlement growth in Colombia the lecture will explore aspects of these complex processes from the perspective of these ordinary ʻcity buildersʼ and discuss some of the implications for our understanding of city form and housing production.

Biography: Peter Kellett is an architect and social anthropologist whose research focuses on the interrelationship between people and their dwelling environments. His doctoral research used ethnographic approaches to explore how the urban poor in Latin America create their own living places with minimal resources but considerable energy and ingenuity. He has worked on international research projects with a focus on informal settlements and livelihoods, and published extensively particularly on housing issues. His latest book is ‘Rethinking the Informal City: Critical Perspectives from Latin America’ (with Felipe Hernandez, Berghahn, 2009).

This talk is part of the Martin Centre Research Seminar Series - 40th Annual Series of Lunchtime Lectures series.

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