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LATIN AMERICA. Latin America: Urbanization and Economic Development . HIGHLY URBANIZED compared to other developing regions Urbanization occurred during period of RAPID POPULATION GROWTH Urbanization fueled by RURAL-TO-URBAN MIGRATION. Brazil Population . MEGACITIES.

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HIGHLY URBANIZED compared to other developing regions
  • Urbanization occurred during period of RAPID POPULATION GROWTH
  • Urbanization fueled by RURAL-TO-URBAN MIGRATION


Urban areas with more than 10 million people

Sao Paulo
  • 1950 pop: 2.3 million
  • 2000 pop. 17.4 million
Rio de Janeiro
  • 1950 pop: 2.9 million
  • 2000 pop: 10.8 million
problems of mega cities
Problems of mega-cities
  • Inadequate transportation infrastructure
  • Pressures on land and housing (high population density, high # of people per room)
  • Environment – air pollution, water pollution, increased vulnerability to natural hazards
  • High rates of disease and infection
  • Economic dependence on higher levels of government
  • Scarcity of financial resources
urban primacy

Urban primacy

A PRIMATE CITY is disproportionately large and dominates the economic, political, and cultural life of a country

Examples: Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Lima, Guatemala City

Latin American cities are not able to provide enough “formal” housing or jobs
  • The INFORMAL SECTOR is important for economic survival and shelter
informal economic sector

Informal Economic Sector

Unregulated and untaxed, usually low wage occupations

(examples: street vendors, artisans, illegal occupations – drugs, prostitution)

informal housing
Informal Housing
  • People occupy housing on unclaimed land to which they have no legal rights
  • Most squatter settlements have inadequate services
  • Most squatter settlement residents are poor
latin american city model
Latin American City Model
  • Strong central business district
  • Elite residential sector surrounding commercial spine extends in one direction
  • Incomes decline away from the CBD
  • Squatter settlements on edges of city and in disamenity zones
up to mid 20 th century
Up to mid 20th century
  • During colonial period (up to 1820’s and 1830’s) and after independence
  • Export dependency, i.e. a reliance on export of agricultural goods and minerals – coffee, sugar, tin, silver, etc.
  • Resource-based economies
  • Countries vulnerable to fluctuations in international markets
1950 s 1970 s
1950’s - 1970’s
  • Industrialization viewed as important economic development strategy
  • IMPORT SUBSTITUTION – focusses on domestic production of manufactured goods, state owns or subsidizes key industries, high tariffs on imported goods
  • Helped to fuel growth of primate cities
1980 s present
1980’s – present
  • Adoption of NEO-LIBERAL economic policies – stress privatization, foreign investors, production for export, few restrictions on imports
  • Growth of MAQUILADORA program in northern Mexico
  • Mexico joins NAFTA in 1993