Tag: Latin America

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Today, in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we bring you a compilation of some of our favorite past posts from the Spanish-speaking world. Happy reading! (read more...)

Voided Spaces: Architectural indices of ravines in Guatemala City

Disponible en español aquí! Deep, canyon-like ravines fracture forty-two percent of Guatemala City. Covered in thick, wet, and dense foliage, these ravines are contentious ecological forms for Guatemala City residents, who have often described ravines as physical borders that disconnect their city; opportunities for landfills that are out of sight, out of mind; informal housing for gangs, violence, and the city’s poorest[1]; as well as precarious locations where damage from earthquakes, floods, and landslides is felt the most. However, in 2006, the city municipality reclassified these ravines as an “ecological belt” (Cinturón Ecológico Metropolitano), identifying them as sites in need of ecological and developmental attention. Architects in particular have taken special interest in these ravines, arguing for sustainably-minded designs that would develop and connect ravines to the broader city landscape. Ravines, they argue, are underutilized and contaminated spaces that work against, rather than with, the built environment. Interested in the classification and production of space, in what follows, I describe the conditions that led architects to recognize ravines as sites of developmental potential in Guatemala City. In order to be designated as spaces for development, I argue that ravines first needed to be redefined volumetrically and epistemically, revealing new parameters for thinking about where the built environment can reside. (read more...)

Ethnographic Designs for Buen Vivir: Fieldnotes from Nicaragua

Co-Authored by Alex Nading, Josh Fisher, and Chantelle Falconer What does it mean to find value in urban ecologies? This question sparked our collaborative research in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua, a city of some 120,000 inhabitants just outside Managua. Residents of Ciudad Sandino face persistent poverty, and they are still dealing with the socio-ecological aftermath of the Hurricane Mitch disaster in 1998.  Despite other factors that might be divisive, including a chronic municipal waste crisis, gang violence, and the uncertain legacy of Nicaragua’s 1979 popular revolution, people in Ciudad Sandino remain adamant that fostering collective political and ecological responsibility is key to building a livable urban future.  They are concerned not just with surviving in the city but with living well, or Buen Vivir. (read more...)

Indigenous Women’s Engagements with Technology: From Anomaly to Autonomy

Editor’s note: this post is also available in Spanish, from the link in the sidebar. In 2013, Bolivia became the last of South America’s major nations to launch a telecommunications satellite. The government outsourced construction and the satellite’s launch to the People’s Republic of China for USD302 million. Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales, was present in Xichang for the launch while those in Bolivia’s capital city, La Paz, watched on large screens erected in public squares. They cheered as the satellite, named after 18th century Indigenous leader Túpac Katari, started to climb. (read more...)

Unearthing Knowledge: Forensic Anthropology and Technologies of Memory

What is commonly known as the Colombian conflict refers to more than six decades of enduring violence. During these years, a number of peace agreements have been signed with some of the main actors, including the agreement signed with paramilitaries in 2005[1] and the recently signed peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—the FARC guerrilla group[2]. Attempts to build peace have included compensation and reparation to victims. In this process, the forensic identification of bodies has been crucial, placing forensic experts center-stage. (read more...)