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LATIN AMERICA - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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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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Megacities l.jpg


Urban areas with more than 10 million people

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  • Sao Paulo

  • 1950 pop: 2.3 million

  • 2000 pop. 17.4 million

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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

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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

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Informal Economic Sector “formal” housing or jobs

Unregulated and untaxed, usually low wage occupations

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

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Informal Housing “formal” housing or jobs


  • 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

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Latin American City Model “formal” housing or jobs

  • 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

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Up to mid 20 “formal” housing or jobsth 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

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1950’s - 1970’s “formal” housing or jobs

  • 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

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1980’s – present “formal” housing or jobs

  • 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