Geopolitical & Socioeconomic

Lessons in Transforming Latin America’s Low-Income Urban Communities

  • 126 Wigmore St, Marylebone, London W1U 3RZ
  • 18.00-20.00

In the first event of the "Canning House Library – Visiting Fellows Series", Dr Adriana Massidda will discuss the findings of her research on the urban poor in Latin America.


Dr Adriana Massidda is the first beneficiary of a new library Visiting Fellowship, jointly offered by Canning House and King's College London. In this talk she will discuss the findings of her research on the urban poor in Latin America with Dr Alexandre Apsan Frediani.

In 1976, following several decades of debate regarding users’ participation in the production of low-income housing, the first United Nations Habitat conference (Vancouver 1976) championed assisted self-help as a way of coping with the accommodation crises then experienced in Latin American cities. These crises, however, were not new. Since the late-nineteenth century the urban poor had struggled to find living space in fast-growing metropolises, first resorting to various types of tenements and later increasingly self-building accommodation in occupied land.

In her talk ‘The Legacy of Habitat I: What Have we Learned about Self-Construction?’, Dr Adriana Massidda will analyse the transformation of low-income urban communities in Lima (Peru) during the second half of the twentieth century, offering a comparative perspective with Buenos Aires (Argentina). More specifically, after summarising the rich history of Lima’s pueblos jóvenes up to 1976, she will analyse the period that followed with particular attention to the interconnection of income and gender.

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The Speakers

Dr Adriana Massidda

Canning House & KCL Visiting Fellow

Adriana Laura Massidda submitted her PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge (King’s College/Department of Architecture) in July 2016. Her thesis, entitled ‘Shantytowns and the Modern City: Examining Urban Poverty in South-Western Buenos Aires (1958-1967)’ is focused on the history of urban informality in Buenos Aires and the interaction between the shantytowns and the State. 

Dr Alexandre Apsan Frediani

Associate Professor, UCL Development Planning Unit

Development planner specialising in squatter settlement upgrading policies and participatory approaches to development. Areas of expertise include human development, housing, urban development, participation and Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach. His PhD explores different strategies to squatter settlement upgrading through the evaluation of projects from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

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