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Informal Transportation and Emergent Orders in the Latin American Context: Towards a New Conceptualization of Urban Planning in the Global South

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Document pages: 19 pages

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to introduce the need of a new understanding and conceptualization for Urban Planning in the global south, with a special focus in the Latin American and Colombian context. It will study emergent transportation networks, always structurers of the urban space, as a lens to observe how informality, inverse urbanization and emergent orders can help understand the nature of cities in the region, and the global ‘south’ in general, together with the need of new ways of looking at them. The emergence of spontaneous, and decentralized, forms of order construction will be analyzed within the lines of New Institutional Economics (NIE). Here it will be discussed that the nature of institutional failure and the emergence of informal governance mechanisms adds to the debate of urban mobility planning and urbanism in general. Hypothesizing, whether informality, ingrained in Colombian cities is an expression of a reality of the impossibility of centralized planning for the urban space.Finally, the idea of assessing emergent informal transportation networks in Colombia, is also used as a base to analyze the broad concept of Urban Governance for the global south. Governance is understood here as the emergent evolution of institutions and organizations to solve problems in urban spaces, and which in many cases transgress what’s mandated by formal regulation. Therefore, transgression is also analyzed as the processes of informality are linked to historical conditions in Colombian cities, which add a layer of complexity that is considered a staple of a new conceptualization of Urban Planning for southern cities.

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