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Title: El parque de mi barrio :production of consumption of open spaces in popular settlements in Bogotá
Authors: Hernandez Garcia, Jaime
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This research aims to contribute to the debate on informal or popular settlements by viewing them as an opportunity to understand different ways of seeing and thinking about the city. Open spaces in popular settlements, like the housing stock, are to a large extent the product of local self-help and self-managed processes, however, the equivalent level of understanding has not been achieved, partly because they are often seen as spare spaces with little value. Open spaces in popular settlements are public in terms of ownership and accessibility, but are communal in terms of use and attachment. They play an important role in the physical and social dynamics of the barrios since their inception, however the improvement and consolidation of such spaces may not be realised for many years. The aim of this research is to investigate open spaces in the barrios, exploring ideas of production of informal urban space, functional and symbolic consumption, and the language and meaning that these places may convey. The research examines the subject in Bogotá, focusing on three questions: 1) How is open space designed, built, managed, transformed and sustained? 2) What is the relationship between open spaces and the people (users) who create them? 3) What is the form and design language used and how can it be understood and interpreted? The research draws on empirical data from 57 case studies of open space in the barrios of Bogotá collected between 2003 and 2007. Six cases were selected to explore in greater depth during further fieldwork. A qualitative methodology was employed, with a case study approach and a multi-method strategy: semi–structured interviews, observation, mapping, photography, photo elicitation and documentary sources. Based on the general and specific cases, the thesis contributes to an understanding of popular settlements as a way of thinking and developing cities in Latin America, and open spaces as tools of urban and social consolidation. The thesis concludes that open spaces are not „additional‟ areas in the settlements; on the contrary, they are fundamental and hold functional and symbolic uses from the early stages. It also argues that the processes of production and consumption of open spaces are closely interrelated, and help explain the design language found in the barrios, as well as contribute to build meanings for individuals and communities.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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