The Fragmented City
Through most of the Latin American cities the traditional segregation between the rich and poor sectors of the society is weakening. New rich sections coming up in poor neighbourhoods may indicate that the texture of the built fabric is changing and that the rich and poor classes are assimilating. However, on taking a closer look, it becomes clear that the socio-spatial polarization is in fact becoming more conspicuous. The rich masses in the luxury enclosures hardly seem to take any notice of the social surroundings beyond their walled communities. They almost seem like islands of rich situated in oceans of the poor.
Contemporary Latin American cities abound with walls. Middle class neighbourhoods are walled off and even marginal quarters tend to construct fences. Walls and gates protect leisure clubs, shopping centres, office towers, business districts, industrial estates, and even some quite normal public streets. Polarization thus has been superseded by fragmentation, not only in the urban structure but also in the social fabric, the functional pattern, and the infrastructure of the agglomeration. Gated communities have also been established in very conservative regions like the Ecuadorian or Peruvian sierra, the extreme South of Chile, and the Yucatán peninsula, as well as in medium sized Brazilian towns (Lima Ramires/Ribeiro Soares 2002), in Rosario (Bragos/Mateos/Pontoni 2002) or in Puebla y Toluca (Rodríguez Chumillas/Mollá RuizGómez 2002).
The physical fragmentation processes have thus had a serious impact on the quality and the understanding of urban life. Inhabitants of gated communities change their lifestyle rapidly and the access-restricted areas accommodate their daily demands. Public s...
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...st River, taking advantage of the booming New World trade of furs, lumber, and other goods. By the time the English conquered New Netherland in 1664, the towns of Nieuw Amsterdam, Breuckelen, Maspeth, Vlissingen, Gravesend, New Amersfoort, Midwout, Nieuw Utrecht, Hallett’s Cove, Boswijck, and Oude Dorp were all thriving and trading on Manhattan, Yorkshire (Long Island), and Staaten Eylandt (Staten Island). England renamed the colony New York, anglicized many of the towns’ names, and flooded them with throngs of English settlers. The Dutch briefly re-conquered the harbor in 1673, but returned it to England the following year in exchange for Run Island, a coveted link in the global nutmeg trading chain.
The five boroughs of New York City.
A Modern Metropolis: Manhattan center, Bronx bottom right, Queens bottom left, Brooklyn center left, New Jersey background.
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