Primate Cities in Latin America: A Theoretical Framework Based Upon Intra-Urban Driving Forces
(2016) International Journal of Urban Sciences, Volume 20, Issue 2, 241-259
Posted: 11 Jul 2016 Last revised: 8 Jun 2019
Date Written: July 9, 2016
Excessive urban primacy in Latin American countries has been primarily analysed using country-level perspectives, while their intra-urban spatial forces have not been routinely used as explanatory elements. This paper addresses this gap by relating two country-level sources of urban primacy (the international economic dependence of Latin American countries and the rural bias of the political process), with three particularities of the Latin American spatial markets (lack of land taxes and exactions, informal mechanisms of access to land, and lobby-oriented oligopolistic formal developers). We develop graphic analytical frameworks where we can hypothesize the interactions between all these elements. In order to enhance the theoretical framework and contrast it with existing evidence, three emerging policies in the continent were added to the analysis: land taxation and exactions, tenure legalization, and global city development. By using the theoretical framework, we conclude that the combined effects of these emerging policies will determine primacy patterns similar to the ones currently prevailing.
Keywords: Latin America, urban primacy, urban policy, land markets, urban informality
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