Forced Migration and Neighborhood Formation: How Communities of Internally Displaced Persons Find Residential Stability in an Unstable World
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Atuesta Ortiz, Maria
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CitationAtuesta Ortiz, Maria. 2021. Forced Migration and Neighborhood Formation: How Communities of Internally Displaced Persons Find Residential Stability in an Unstable World. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractHow do communities find residential stability in an unstable world? This question—central to the field of urban studies—is even more urgent in relation to groups who have experienced turmoil and displacement in their immediate past. In the recent history of Colombia, a decades-long civil conflict has produced more than 6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). They have followed a migration pattern from rural areas—disproportionally affected by conflict—to urban centers, echoing cases in many nation-states where civil conflicts or climate change increasingly displace families to a multiplicity of urban centers. My study based on Granada—a small Colombian city of about 80,000 inhabitants that has absorbed tens of thousands of IDPs over the last three decades—examines different processes of neighborhood creation among displaced persons and argues that these experiences affected the means available for displaced residents to make claims on the city. It shows that subtle differences in neighborhood sponsorship, or neighborhood enablers (e.g., the state, a local patron, local clientelistic leaders, armed actors, self-organized residents), can affect the strategies residents use to gain access to housing. In the process, it also explains why different displaced neighborhood communities develop different collective capacities to make claims on the city.
Based on one year of fieldwork—through interviews, participant observation, and extensive review of City Council Minutes—I examined neighborhood formation processes retroactively in two free housing projects, one land occupation, and one land subdivision by a pirate developer in Granada. Building on an inductive logic and using a comparative method to contrast these different resettlement types, I identify similarities and differences within and across vulnerable populations and spaces that are rarely disaggregated. In addition to detailing how and why communities of displaced neighbors pursue different housing acquisition strategies, assess the impact of their efforts on degrees of self-organization among neighbors and post-conflict reconstruction more generally.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368279
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