Democracy & Nature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 2002)


Ecological Crisis, Poverty and Urban Development in Latin America



Abstract: This article deals with the social and ecological crisis in the urban regions in Latin America. To analyse the social and environmental conditions of Latin-American urban regions it is necessary to take into account two main factors: the high population and territorial growth of Latin American cities during the second half of the twentieth century, and the lack of an integral development which would have improved the urban quality of life.The imported market economy in Latin America, as a bad copy of the growth economy in the North, has generated a highly unequal development. The acceleration of the economic growth has gone hand in hand with the deceleration of development. Whereas the macro-economic rates improve, the indicators that measure qualitative evolution among sectors, territories and people have deteriorated. So, to explain the ecological crisis in Latin America, it is important to consider not only the different forms of environmental impact, but also the socio-economic factors and the availability of infrastructures. Therefore, this article describes the general social and economic development process in Latin America, and then examines the relationships between industrialisation and urbanisation in connection to the social and ecological conditions in urban areas.