Barrio morphology and private space: the social drivers of informal urban settlements in Caracas

International Seminar on Urban Form
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Urban Morphology, 2021, 25, (1), pp. 46-56
Issue Date:
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Urban morphology has historically been studied through the physical characteristics of a particular space. However, the urban form of a place is also influenced by relationships and social contexts. Therefore, this paper discusses the social processes that drove the construction of private space in informal settlements in Caracas, thus defining the barrio morphology. A qualitative approach was undertaken, including observations, interviews and a photographic survey of a case study area. Interpreting participants’ perspectives and stories of their experiences during their barrio’s development revealed the social processes underpinning the shaping of the barrio. The tense and conflictual relationship between people and the government through evictions led to squatting: solidarity and neighbourly relationships drove the selection of the place and its consolidation, and the barrio became dense through supporting family relationships. The form of the barrio space arises as a reflection of these social processes.
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