Perti/enencia and public space: a politics of relevance, ownership and belonging in the historic/traditional center of Bogotá, Colombia

Hellmer, Erich Frank (2019) Perti/enencia and public space: a politics of relevance, ownership and belonging in the historic/traditional center of Bogotá, Colombia. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis explores how ‘public space’ has become both a site in which, and a process through which, new forms of democracy are being negotiated in Bogotá, Colombia. This city has been cited as a ‘global best practice’ example of urban governance and planning for the way that it combined decentralization processes with a public space development paradigm in order to democratize the city institutionally and spatially. Public space was used as both an actual, physical site for democratizing the city and its citizens, and as a symbol for a new, more democratic urban order at the same time as new participatory mechanisms were being employed by the municipal government. Yet research on the public space miracle has tended to focus on how physical public space projects have had the effect of democratizing the city, while failing to fully explore the ways in which the emphasis on public space and participation in Bogotá’s new planning paradigm created more democratic planning and governance processes. This is the gap that this thesis seeks to address, drawing on long-term ethnographic research into participatory public space planning processes to add a procedural dimension to the topographical understanding of the role ‘public space’ has played in Bogotá’s ongoing transformation. Through four case studies that explore how different citizen groups and state entities are involved in public space planning and recovery efforts entailed in a new Revitalization Plan for the Historic/Traditional Center of Bogotá, I show how discourses of public space and participation combine to produce competing understandings of ownership, relevance and belonging – a complex politics that I call perti/enencia. Perti/enencia acts as a grounded theoretical framework for a dual relational analysis: exploring the relationship between physical public space and political public spheres within local contexts (i.e. at the neighborhood scale), and exploring how this relationship is affected by broader negotiations between these and broader local and extralocal contexts. By demonstrating the simultaneously democratizing and disempowering ways in which public space and participation are being used to renegotiate the parameters of collective relevance, ownership, and belonging in the Historic/Traditional Center of Bogotá, I develop an empirically informed framework that contributes to our broader understanding of how local histories and necessities interact with outside interests and knowledge to dynamically alter identities and power relations in ways that offer key insights into the pluralistic nature of contemporary democracy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: public space, public sphere, Bogotá, Colombia, pertinencia, pertenencia.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Rodgers, Professor Dennis
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mr. Erich Hellmer
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-41148
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 08:19
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 22:10
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.41148

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