Local Spaces, Global Ties: Urbanization in 20th-Century Latin America
Conference on Latin American History 53
Urban History Association 3
While these problems were experienced on a local level, officials increasingly looked abroad not only to compare Latin American cities to other world centers, but also to connect with trends and ideas that might help in the rehabilitation and uplift of their own urban spaces. This panel interrogates the multiple scales at which twentieth-century urban problems were conceptualized in Latin American cities. While much of the writing on Latin American urbanization focuses on informal settlements and other features that differed from North Atlantic urban forms, this panel challenges us to consider how Latin American cities confronted many of the same problems as global cities in Europe and North America, such as large-scale state housing projects, modern transportation systems, and the need for expansive greenspaces. These problems were shared by the cities examined in this panel—Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile—and in each case, local experts in the postwar era turned to transnational tools, ideas, and material support in their struggle with rapid urbanization. Collectively, these papers show how Latin American urbanists located themselves in flows of international expertise and actively participated in disciplinary debates of the day.