Latin American Urbanization: Historical Profiles of Major Cities

By Gerald Michael Greenfield | Go to book overview

supply and also to services to the rural population. The artisans and small industries favored by this urban expansion engage in a wide variety of activities, including foodstuffs, clothing, shoes, furniture and accessories, minerals, and metalwork. The service sector also assumes great importance. At present, after medical and educational services (forty-nine elementary schools, twenty-two intermediate schools, and one university), representation in the banking sector is significant, with eight branch offices of private banks and two state bank branches. Their presence facilitates credit for both the merchants and the agricultural producers, who are thus in a position not only to stimulate the development of the region but to direct it in a relatively autonomous manner.

Despite its accelerated growth, the city has received relatively little attention from the national government, because despite its economic productivity, it is relatively insignificant in political terms. This disinterest results in deficient social and technical assistance in services, infrastructures, and communications, as well as in the area of urban planning. A typical tropical city, Santo Domingo de los Colorados presents a jarring image--an urban center arising out of the rain forest, caught in a continuous struggle with the adverse climatic conditions of its natural setting. Lands originally developed for agriculture and cattle raising have been converted to urban activities. This ongoing process creates and maintains a distinct urban-rural green belt in which agrarian productive activities exist side by side with service sector activities. The fact that the city's origins lay in a process of agrarian colonization lends a rural character even to the downtown area. The urban texture lacks uniformity and reflects an absence of planning. The private real estate market has seen haciendas transformed into urban space as a means of profiting from rising land values. Small, one-family houses have been replaced by two- or three-story buildings with architectural styles copied from those of Quito. The style appropriate to the highlands environment is ill suited to the climate of Santo Domingo. For example, flat roofs do not provide runoff for tropical rains. The shacks of wood with zinc roofs, which circle the developed center, conform more closely to the feel of the environment but do not have the services available that would convert them into ideal solutions for the area. Commercial and service activities appear hypertrophied in relation to the urban population. A downtown area that has grown rapidly, has no architectural attractions, and becomes a farmers' gigantic market and fair on Sunday is a characteristic of the urban functioning of this rapidly expanding city.


REFERENCES

Allou Serge. 1987. Introducción histórica: formas urbanas y formaciones sociales en el Ecuador: los principales actores. In El Espacio urbano en el Ecuador. Red urbana, región y crecimiento, 16-37. Quito: IPGH-ORSTOM-IGM.

-249-

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Latin American Urbanization: Historical Profiles of Major Cities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1: ARGENTINA 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 37
  • 2: BOLIVIA 39
  • Introduction 39
  • Notes 60
  • References 60
  • 3: BRAZIL 62
  • Introduction 62
  • Note 104
  • References 104
  • 4: CHILE 106
  • Introduction 106
  • Notes 131
  • References 131
  • 5 - COLOMBIA 134
  • Introduction 134
  • Note 157
  • References 157
  • 6: COSTA RICA 159
  • Introduction 159
  • Note 171
  • References 171
  • 7: CUBA 173
  • Introduction 173
  • References 186
  • 8: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 188
  • Introduction 188
  • Note 213
  • Bibliography 214
  • 9: ECUADOR 215
  • Introduction 215
  • References 249
  • 10: EL SALVADOR 252
  • Introduction 252
  • Notes 270
  • References 270
  • 11: GUATEMALA 273
  • Introduction 273
  • Notes 290
  • References 291
  • 12: HAITI 294
  • Introduction 294
  • Note 311
  • References 311
  • 13: HONDURAS 313
  • Introduction 313
  • References 328
  • 14: JAMAICA 331
  • Introduction 331
  • References 347
  • 15: MEXICO 350
  • Introduction 350
  • References 391
  • 16: NICARAGUA 396
  • Introduction 396
  • References 414
  • 17: PANAMA 416
  • Introduction 416
  • Note 425
  • Bibliography 425
  • 18 - PARAGUAY 427
  • Introduction 427
  • Bibliography 444
  • 19: PERU 446
  • Introduction 446
  • Note 466
  • References 466
  • 20: URUGUAY 468
  • Introduction 468
  • Bibliography 484
  • 21: VENEZUELA 486
  • Introduction 486
  • Note 508
  • References 508
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 511
  • Index 517
  • ABOUT THE EDITOR AND CONTRIBUTORS 533
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