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Title: The politics of urban regeneration : the construction of uneven urban agendas through multi-scalar coalitions in Valparaiso
Author: Caimanque Leverone, Rodrigo
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 9477
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Since the mid-1990s the state of Chile has produced a series of plans to overcome a long and sustained period of economic underperformance and urban deprivation of the port-city of Valparaiso. These strategic plans, aimed at regenerating the city, sought to trigger economic diversification, based on the city's rich heritage, the presence of important universities, and the port, which started to operate under a semi-privatized scheme. Throughout the period between 1995 and 2015, the predominance of a tourism agenda based on heritage and the port's own strategic masterplan would be continuously involved in the relative transformation of the city, in a highly complex and tense process of decision-making and implementation of change. This thesis is focused on the socio-political processes underpinning these attempts to regenerate Valparaiso, drawing attention to the construction of governing coalitions to pursue specific urban agendas. The research seeks to explain how these coalitions are built through different scales of urban governance, producing uneven urban reconfigurations. It is argued that, beyond the centralization of the state and its market-based policies, current changes in Valparaiso are the product of institutional strategies of spatial differentiation, derived from asymmetrical power relations among different actors, at different scales, involved in urban governance. Neoliberal strategies of regeneration have been mainly focused on a few profitable areas while ignoring wider of the city. This entrepreneurial approach based on competitiveness, far from contributing to addressing structural problems of poverty and inequality, has been rather an expression of spatial fragmentation and social exclusion. As a response, social organizations have mobilized in opposition to some emblematic projects, though showing asymmetrical capabilities to reach scales of decision-making beyond the local in order to be heard. Valparaiso meets unevenly various actors located at different scales constituting a case with tangled hierarchies and contested processes of decision-making. The formation of temporary governing coalitions illustrates both the inclusion and exclusion of actors in the political process of regeneration, and also demonstrates that governance, instead of one single process is a construction made through various and changing spaces of decision-making. The research concludes that bridges between theories of urban regimes and scale as social production are valuable to understand governance for a case from the Global South, in which coalition building is more fragmented. The case of Valparaiso highlights the need to reconceptualize such approaches for its application and to be a contribution to debates on urban politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available