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Title: People-environment relationships in the context of informal settlements : the case of the communities of El Naranjal in Caracas, Venezuela
Author: Zara, Hilda Maria Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 7298
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 08 Jan 2020
This qualitative case study aims to provide an understanding of people-environment relationships in El Naranjal, an expanding informal settlement in Caracas, Venezuela, against a backdrop of an episode of exceptionally intense rainfall that affected the north of the country in 2010. It is argued that the vulnerability of informal settlements to environmental risks such as weather-related events is shaped not only by the socio-economic particularities of the context in which these emerge, but also by the ways in which the inhabitants of these settlements experience, conceive and relate to their local environment. People-environment relationships are understood as multiple, complex and contextual, where environment comprises the physical, interpersonal, social and cultural aspects of the context that people interact with. The study demonstrates that an in-depth understanding of these relationships can be gained through exploring residents' experiences of place and communities in El Naranjal. Over a fieldwork period of eight months, data were gathered using in-depth and walking interviews, participant observation and group activities. Environment and environmental risks such as the impacts of rainfall were understood, experienced and related to differently by individuals with diverse needs and agendas. Residents' diverse experiences and responses are shaped by pre-existing issues of rapid irregular land occupation, socio-spatial segregation, poor infrastructure, lack of participation and government support within the communities of El Naranjal. This underlines some of the gaps between national policy-making on environmental, land tenure, risk management and community participation matters and residents' understandings and experiences of issues of their places and communities. Thus, this study emphasises the need to approach environmental risks as adding to, and amplifying the complex issues that residents of informal settlements deal with locally on a day-to-day basis. In doing so, it challenges views of informal settlement communities as homogeneous, illegal and paralysed by poverty. Instead, it highlights their central role in the making of cities, as well as their heterogeneity and capacity to innovate in the face of mounting risks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Highlands and Islands Enterprise ; Inverness College UHI
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Human beings ; Human settlements ; Social ecology