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Department of Architecture




King's College

Shantytowns, residents and State plans of "eradication": urban transformations in Buenos Aires during 1959-1976

Started October 2012

Felipe Hernández



The PhD thesis's focus on urban shantytowns stems from the interest in exploring key, unrevised issues to improve the urban environment of Third-World cities. Urban poverty thus emerges as one of the most pressing issues, which shantytowns not only embody but also intertwine with other urgent problems - such as stigmatisation, isolation, pollution or violence. In addition, due to the way in which they concentrate material and social problems, shantytowns have been in Argentina a key target of government’s action throughout the second half of the twentieth century, and a privileged object of attention by the social sciences. Housing shortage, meanwhile, attracted interest and provoked debate in the architectural profession up until the late 1970s. However, a deep understanding of the current problems of shantytowns is not possible without a comprehensive knowledge of their past transformations and struggles, which has not been studied in depth yet for the Argentine case. With this in mind, the PhD thesis proposes to undertake a critical analysis of the history of Buenos Aires shantytowns to read crucial problems of the time under a new light and to inform future action.


Key publications: 

'Mapping the Suburbs: Cartographic Representation of Villa Celina, Buenos Aires, 1955-2011', in New Suburban Stories, edited by Martin Dines and Timotheus Vermeulen (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)

'The Plan de Emergencia (1956):  Housing Shortage in Buenos Aires then and now', Scroope Journal Nr.21. June 2012. University of Cambridge - Department of Architecture.

'Apuntes para una lectura urbana de Las ciudades imaginarias en la literatura latinoamericana'
Book review. Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana Nr.74. Lima-Boston. 2011.

'Feria La Salada: una centralidad periférica intermitente en el Gran Buenos Aires'
Centralidades Urbanas e Históricas en la Argentina, ed. by Margarita Gutman. Quito, Olacchi-Flacso Ecuador, 2010. With Di Peco and others. 

 Adriana Laura Massidda
Not available for consultancy