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Title: The role of social capital in the resilience of self-help settlements : the case of Nezahualcóyotl in the metropolitan area of Mexico City
Author: Rivero Villar, Manuel Alejandro
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 3342
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the contribution made by networks of social capital to the resilience of self-help settlements (settlements self-produced by low-income groups lacking adequate infrastructures and services, often occupying areas of high risk) at the municipal scale. Self-help settlements are considered intrinsically vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and are foreseen to be the predominant form of urbanisation in the Global South for the 21st century. The UN's recent adoption of the 'Sustainable Development Goals' placed the resilience (the continued adjustment in the face of environmental uncertainties) of self-help settlements at the top of the global development agenda. Central to urban resilience is the concept of social capital, which refers to the relations of trust and reciprocity embedded in social networks that enable them to act collectively. In the context of urban resilience, social capital can explain how social groups organise from the bottom to forward community development goals to overcome the sources of their vulnerability. This investigation takes as a case-study the social network involved in the achievement of the collective goals (municipal independence, land tenure rights, water supply, drainage, public transport, and paved streets ) that allowed Nezahualcóyotl, a self-help settlement in the metropolitan area of Mexico City, to over-come its vulnerabilities (the settlement is located on the drained bed of a salty lake, prone to flooding and sand storms, and lacked an adequate institutional framework). Nezahualcóyotl is considered as a successful example in which citizen participation was key in forwarding the development of the settlement. This thesis uses a mixed-method approach (Social Network Analysis and thematic analysis), and tracks longitudinally the evolution of the case-study (1953-1986). The main finding of this research is that net-works of social capital contribute to the resilience of self-help settlements through the engagement of their members in monitoring the challenges faced by the settlement, and producing pertinent adjustments relying on collective action. This is made possible by the capacity of the members of networks of social capital to remain active for long periods of time, and to make productive use of different configurations of social capital within the network, in response to emerging threats and changing circumstances.
Supervisor: Turcu, C. ; Karadimitriou, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available