Making a ‘resilient Santiago’ : private sector and urban governance in Chile
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Resilience has become a policy and practical framework for addressing a range of threats from natural disasters and extreme weather events to political conflicts and terrorism. Focusing on the context of cities, this paper offers a conceptualisation of urban resilience, critically interrogating its use for urban governance and the political implications it has for individual agency. The paper also seeks to contribute to the existing critical literature on urban resilience. The second part of the paper focuses on the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities programme as implemented in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile. Empirical data obtained through fieldwork and interviews with representatives of the public sector and civil society suggest that while creating an illusion of inclusiveness and empowerment, the ‘resilience approach’ has largely ignored the structural conditions of extreme social and spatial inequality in Santiago. Local political realities and private sector interests play an important part in this equation. The case study points to a general tendency to treat city resilience as a technical question, thereby downplaying its deeply political nature. It highlights the disconnection between the topography of risk on the one side and technological interventions on the other.
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