A Planned City Comes of Age: Rethinking Ciudad Guayana Today

Irazabal Zurita, Clara E.

In the 1960s, planners from MIT and Harvard, supported by an interdisciplinary group, were invited by the Venezuelan government to interact with national professionals to create a "growth pole" in the southern part of the country. A city named Ciudad Guayana was founded in 1961. The planning process that followed was extensively documented by this group of American scholars and their counterparts in Venezuela. Probably the strongest critique to this process has been presented by the American anthropologist Lisa Peattie who, in Planning: Rethinking Ciudad Guayana (1987), unveils the unbridgeable gap between the "platonic city" designed by the planners based on the development paradigm, and the "aristotelian city" that unfolded in reality. This study investigates national and local politics in the planning, decision-making, and building practices of the city, and their definite imprint on its urban form and quality of life. Emphasis is placed on the last 15 years, and particularly the period since 1999, when Hugo Chávez Frías assumed the presidency of Venezuela.

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Also Published In

Journal of Latin American Geography

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Published Here
December 23, 2014