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Historical Overview of Latinos and Planning in the Southwest: 1900 to the Present

Irazabal Zurita, Clara E.; Farhat, Ramzi

The historical experience of Latino communities is marked by segregation, poverty, and discrimination. Through a critical understanding of the effects of cultural, economic, and governance processes on urbanization patterns, placemakers start to reverse these effects in the contemporary moment. This chapter presents an account of the challenges, opportunities, and agents of change in the three historical periods of pre-Second World War, post-war, and in contemporary Latino communities, with a focus on Mexican Americans in the US Southwest. As with black communities in the South, for decades urban planning facilitated the segregationist management of Latino neighborhoods and proceeded unabated through the control of land use, discriminatory practices, and resistance to Latino social mobility. Latinos over the years have been victims of the “barrioization” of their communities: the effect of policies and processes of domination by the mainstream non-Latino white society resulting in the formation of residentially and socially segregated Latino neighborhoods. Communities fought back through grassroots movements that created local civic institutions—such as community development corporations—that have been instrumental in resisting marginalization and subordination, and critical in refocusing and channeling policy to the specific needs of neighborhoods. To resist barrioization, Latino communities have engaged in “barriological” practices that recreate and re-imagine “dominant urban space as community-enabling place.”4 In other words, through a variety of tactics—many of them informal—and social actions, Latinos have reclaimed spaces that at best were insensitive to their cultural needs, and at worst, were designed to disenfranchise.

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Also Published In

Title
Diálogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities
Publisher
Routledge

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Published Here
January 27, 2015