Cartography and Everyday Struggles Over Material Resources in Latin America

Cartography and Everyday Struggles Over Material Resources in Latin America
Date/Time: 19/04/2017 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Venue: Development Planning Unit at UCL, 34 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ (map)
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Price: £5 / £10
Chair: Phil Cohen
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Cartography plays a critical role in struggles over the means of existence in the global South. The intersection of map and territory can be a matter of life and death for whole communities.

In this session, two members of the Development Planning Unit at UCL present case studies of how different cartographies are mobilised around struggles over material resources, including access to land, water and housing.

Rita Lambert: Cartographic calculation and urbanization in risk in Lima

In her presentation, Rita will explore the deep entanglement of spatial knowledge production and circulation in the planning of informal settlements in Lima where maps are indispensable for the identification and occupation of land. In this context, maps/plans are also compulsory for claiming recognition and acquiring basic services from local municipalities and service providers.

Rita will provide a critical overview of how a particular form of cartographic calculation comes to be installed in the informal settlements at the periphery of Lima, and identifies the main actants brought from the past, present and future to structure a form of planning which intensifies  risk for the inhabitants of the area.

Cristian Olmos: The struggle for autonomy and the daily practices of water use in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Everyday practices in relation to the use of water in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile are deeply embedded in the local culture and traditions of the regions’ rural communities. Cristian’s presentation will explore daily activities surrounding community management of water through canals and irrigation schemes and how these practices are threatened by  the efforts of mining companies through their corporate social responsibility programs.

Participatory mapping, GPS walks, semi-structured interviews and drawings are used to illustrate the different frameworks through which  power relations and the discursive narratives of the Atacama territory and the communities´ water management.

About the speakers

Rita Lambert is an architect and urban development planner originally from Ethiopia. She is currently a Teaching Fellow at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit – UCL and a co-investigator on several research projects in Africa and Latin America. Her current research focuses on the relationship between planning and spatial knowledge production, manipulation and circulation, as well as the development of tools which can be adopted by ordinary citizens to navigate institutional barriers and expand the room for manoeuvre towards socio-environmentally just urbanisation.

Cristian Olmos is a Chilean architect and urban designer with more than ten years of experience in the public sector, in the field of improvement of urban spaces, housing projects, reconstruction, recovery programs and policies in the context of isolated, rural and aboriginal communities.

Venue: Development and Planning Unit, UCL

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