A social determination approach to urban violence in Latin American cities: Accounts from Rio de Janeiro and Bogotá

Elis Borde, PH.D Candidate, Mario Hernández, MA, PhD


The early 21st Century urban scenario in Latin America is characterized by deep territorial segregation. The historical impact of social conflict in Latin American societies has proven crucial in defining urban power relations and spatial planning.

Despite their heterogeneity, large Latin American cities exhibit parallel processes of spatial re/de-configuration and consolidation of territorial orderings (or "disorderings" according to Haesbaert and Porto-Gonçalves.2 guided by globalized economic interests, linked to both legal and illegal ventures. This urban spatial re/deconfiguration has been particularly influenced by the drug trade. But it has also been shaped by urban renewal megaprojects,3, the emergence of large scale industry, and gentrification.4, all factors that interact with transformations in rural areas. To a large extent, these transformations have unleashed what the Ecuadorian epidemiologist Jaime Breilh5 calls "unhealthy processes.” These processes, deeply marked by violence, systematically displace those urban spaces that promote life, health, and well-being.

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Department of Family and Social Medicine
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