Performative Infrastructures – Medellin’s Governmental Technologies of Informality – The Case of the Encircled Garden Project in Comuna 8

Authored by: Catalina Ortiz , Camillo Boano

The Routledge Handbook on Informal Urbanization

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138183889
eBook ISBN: 9781315645544
Adobe ISBN:


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Medellin’s aspiration to become a global benchmark in urban innovation urges a critical account of the ways in which this model frames the politics of informality. The local state plays a key decision-making role in infrastructure provision and urban growth management. Here we explore how the politics of informality play out in Medellin by looking at the interplay between state-led upgrading, focusing particularly on the Green Belt Project in Comuna 8, in the central-east area of Medellin, and the parallel everyday citizens’ politics in informal settlements. We argue that the politics of informality operate as an ensemble of governmental technologies that strategically use denial, self-provision or monumentalization of infrastructure as a means of selectively legitimizing or criminalizing citizens’ claims over space.

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