International Development Planning Review

Moving and improving: poverty, globalisation and neighbourhood transformation in Cuenca, Ecuador

International Development Planning Review (2012), 34, (2), 147–166.

Abstract

Latin America^s large metropolitan areas are socially segregated, showing urban contrasts between ‘islands of wealth’ and ‘seas of poverty’. Socio-spatial inequality in smaller cities is usually more scattered and less visibly marked out, hence less politically urgent. Because poverty is experienced as less problematic in smaller cities, residents of informal settlements are usually left to their own devices in their attempts to move out of poverty. This article addresses the use of so-called ‘mobility resources’ by the less-visible urban poor. It explores the connections between physical and social mobility in an informal settlement in Cuenca, Ecuador, using the scenarios of moving and improving as analytical tools. By analysing how residents use transnational migration and global flows of money, goods and ideas to improve their housing situation, and how the added-up results of home improvement transform the neighbourhood, the study aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on neighbourhood consolidation.

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Klaufus, Christien