Theses Master's

The Urban, Social, and Environmental Impact of Centralized Waste Systems: A Study on Segregation and Local Alternatives for the Doña Juana Landfill in Bogotá, Colombia

Moreno, Juan Sebastián

Waste has been concealed and misallocated as a consequence of urban growth. While many residents of cities rarely think about refuse beyond a quotidian scale, the spatial consequences of waste management systems are disproportionately dire for the neighbors of landfills – often, the urban poor. In Latin American cities, the entanglement of waste and urban informality is a driving force behind peripheral urbanization, a process in which the margins of cities are contested and appropriated by those who have nowhere else to go. This thesis explores the consequences of centralizing waste in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Doña Juana landfill, the only facility serving the city, has operated since 1988 and has radically changed the social dynamics and the landscape of its environment. As more land gets devoured to bury trash, contamination and informality spread at a similar pace, creating opportunities for increased peripheral development and reinforcing patterns of segregation. Placing centralized landfills, such as Doña Juana, is equivalent to discarding pieces of cities, marking them as disposable. In order to repair the urban fabrics ruptured by waste, urban planners need to create strategies that account for the spatial inequities of landfills, but also to understand the role of these pieces of infrastructure in the expansion of informal development.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Bou Akar, Hiba
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2021