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10344 - Current Planning Conflicts in Santiago de Chile and their Impact on Opportunities of Citizen Participation in the Future

Over a long period, civil society played a minor role in urban politics of Santiago. Instead, urban development is heavily influenced by the private sector. At the same time, weakening of civil society organizations and local clientelism forced during the military dictatorship continue to have an effect on Chilean democracy. However, citizens are increasingly fighting against uncontrolled measures such as large-scale real-estate or infrastructure projects.

Against this backdrop, the contribution examines the extent to which these strategies of participation contribute to a change in local governance processes and opportunities of participation. A further point of interest is what these political transformations imply for urban democracy. By means of problem-centered interviews, two planning conflicts in a rich as well as in a poor community are studied in-depth.

First results show that conflict outcomes are varying strongly depending on factors such as resources of urban movements, interests and influence of the respective municipality in the Metropolitan Area as well as the powerful central government in Chile. Hence, citizens’ achievements seem to be unequally distributed over the city. Local governments increasingly react by incorporating informal participation instruments. However, political will for real participation is still missing, especially at national state level.

Keywords: Planning conflicts, urban social movements, participation

Author: Hölzl, Corinna (Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Geography - Applied Geography, Germany / Deutschland)

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