9. Spaces of everyday resistance: the right to the city


Latin America has witnessed unprecedented levels of urbanization over the past few decades, which has produced informal processes and urban conflicts.

Urban spaces are more than just physical infrastructure: they are the site of class struggles, collective initiatives, and confrontations, in which citizens demand access to public services, urban resources, and dignified living from the sources of political and economic power.


About the Author

Antonia Burchard-Levine specializes in urban transportation and mobility, urban land development, housing and livelihoods, and infrastructure financing.

She is particularly interested in urban social movements, issues of access to the city and its resources, and the range of processes that shape cities and their inhabitants. Antonia is currently based in Berlin and consults on international development projects as an urban development specialist.


Jorge Cáñez, aka Peatónito (urban mobility and road safety activist): inter-viewed via Jitsi Meet on 23 February 2018 by Tom Gatehouse. Translated by Hebe Powell.

Andrés Chaves (urbanist and film-maker): interviewed via Skype on 11 January 2018 by Antonia Burchard-Levine. Translated by Antonia Burchard-Levine.

Luciana Cury (Coletivo Ocupe e Abrace): interviewed via Skype on 12 February 2018 by Antonia Burchard-Levine. Transcribed by Tom Gatehouse.

Marcello Deodoro (Tijuca Indiana Residents’ Commission): interviewed via email on 18 December 2017 by Jennifer Chisholm. Translated by Chris Whitehouse.

Luiz Gonzaga da Silva, aka Gegê (MMC): interviewed in São Paulo on 21 December 2016 and 28 January 2017 by Ali Rocha. Translated by Hugo Moss.

Salvador Medina (urban economist and activist): interviewed via Skype on 8 February 2018 by Antonia Burchard-Levine. Translated by Antonia Burchard-Levine.

Johans Rodriguez (1st Brigade of Polvorines): interviewed in Piura, Peru, in late January 2016 by Kary Stewart. Translated by Kary Stewart.

Emília Maria de Souza (Horto Residents’ Association): interviewed in Rio de Janeiro on 29 January 2018 by Jennifer Chisholm. Translated by Theo Bradford.

Kurt Steffens (Ciudad Emergente): interviewed via WhatsApp on 20 March 2018 by Antonia Burchard-Levine. Translated by Antonia Burchard-Levine.


NB: All web references were checked and still available in May/June 2018 unless otherwise stated.

Bauwens, M. (2018) ‘People in defence of life and territory: counter-power and self-defence in Latin America’, P2P Foundation

Boyer, H. (2005) ‘Urban land and housing challenges in Brazil’, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Carvalho, S. (2017) ‘As 9 cidades brasileiras com o pior trânsito’, Circuito D

Gatehouse, T. (2016) ‘Brazil’s Olympic flames’, Red Pepper

Gehl, J. (2010) Cities for People, Island Press, Washington DC. Green, D. and Branford, S. (2013) Faces of Latin America, 4th edn, Latin America Bureau (LAB), London.

Harvey, D. (2012) Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, Verso, London and New York, NY.

Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Vintage Books, New York, NY.

Jaitman, L. (2015) ‘Urban infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean: public policy priorities’, Latin American Economic Review 24: 13

Johnson, S. (2014) ‘Rio’s BRT system: a tool for legacy or fragmentation?’, RioOnWatch

Lefebvre, H. (2014) The Production of Space, 18th edn, Blackwell, Oxford.

Marsh, S. (2013) ‘Antanas Mockus: Colombians fear ridicule more than being fined’, The Guardian, 28 October, < >

McGuirk, J. (2014) Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture, Verso, London and New York, NY.

Merrifeld, A. (2017) ‘Fifty years on: the right to the city’, in A. Merrifeld, The Right to the City: A Verso Report, Verso, London and New York, NY.

Pacheco, P. (2016) ‘Brazil: My House, My Life’, World Policy

Tactical Urbanism (no date) ‘What is Tactical Urbanism?



Calles Compartidas, Santiago

Calles Compartidas (Shared Streets) is a pilot initiative which, based on UK experiences of sustainable transport and citizen participation, attempts to change the way...

Further reading

Gegê/São Paulo/the MMC

Mier, B. (2017) ‘The General Strike and the Survival of the Latin American Left: An Interview with Luiz Gonzaga Gegê da Silva’, Brasil Wire, <http://www.brasilwire.com/luiz-gonzaga-gege-da-silva>

Niederhauser, M. (2015) ‘Inside São Paulo’s Radical Fight for Affordable Housing’, CityLab, <https://www.citylab.com/equity/2015/10/inside-sao-paulos-radical-fight-for-affordable-housing/412675>

pretaportefilmes (2012) ‘Leva (documentário HD – ENG)’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=xn2um8xhc4o> (in Portuguese with English subtitles)

Watts, J. (2017) ‘Resistance! São Paulo’s homeless seize the city’, The Guardian, <https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/nov/27/resistance-sao-paulo-homeless-reclaim-city-occupations>


Colombia/Andrés Chaves/El Cartucho

Chaves, A. (2018) ‘CARTUCHO – Trailer’, Vimeo, <https://vimeo.com/251402826>

Parkin Daniels, J. (2016) ‘Homeless addicts and crime bosses are roaming the streets of Bogotá after a police raid’, VICE News, <https://news.vice.com/article/homeless-addicts-and-crime-bosses-are-roaming-the-streets-of-bogot-after-a-police-raid>

Sherriff, L. (2018) ‘Bogotá’s Bronx Is Barren, But Not for Long’, CityLab, <https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/03/bogotas-bronx-is-barren-but-not-for-long/556535>


Brazil/Rio/urban regeneration/gentrification

Chisholm, J. (2017) ‘Who’s invading whom? The complex battle for Rio de Janeiro’s informal settlements on federal land’, LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre, <http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/latamcaribbean/2017/11/14/whos-invading-whom-the-complex-battle-for-rio-de-janeiros-informal-settlements-on-federal-land>

Chisholm, J. (2017) ‘A Sustainable Favela?’, NACLA, <https://nacla.org/news/2017/12/13/sustainable-favela>

Folha de S. Paulo (2015) ‘All about Rio in transformation: Rio a city in metamorphosis’, Folha de S. Paulo, <http://arte.folha.uol.com.br/tudo-sobre/rio-em-transformacao/en>

Strobl, T. (2018) ‘New Eviction Threats Spur Favela Indiana to Action. Residents are Ready.’ RioOnWatch, <http://www.rioonwatch.org/?p=41588>


Peatónito/Mexico City/road safety/transport

CAD Productions (2015) ‘#9: Peatónito’, Vimeo, <https://vimeo.com/132507912> (in Spanish with English subtitles)

O’Sullivan, F. (2016) ‘Challenging Latin American Cities to Change’, CityLab, <https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2016/11/bloomberg-philanthropies-mayors-challenge-latin-america-caribbean/506228>

Peatónito Peatón (2016) ‘¿Quién tiene prioridad en la calle?’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmYZHEgUrdc&t=2s> (in Spanish with English subtitles)

Ramos, D. (2015) ‘Unmasked! The Mexico City superhero wrestling for pedestrians’ rights’, The Guardian, <https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/nov/09/unmasked-mexico-city-superhero-wrestling-pedestrian-rights>

STREETFILMS (2016) ‘Peatónito is in NYC: Protecting Pedestrians from Cars in the Crosswalk’, Vimeo, <https://vimeo.com/158135821>

The National (2015) ‘Masked hero making Mexico’s streets safe for pedestrians’, The National, <https://www.thenational.ae/world/masked-hero-making-mexico-s-streets-safe-for-pedestrians-1.639582>


Tactical urbanism

Berg, N. (2012) ‘The Official Guide to Tactical Urbanism’, CityLab, <https://www.citylab.com/design/2012/03/guide-tactical-urbanism/1387>

EMBARQ Network (n.d.) ‘How Tactical Urbanism is Shaping Cities for People, by People’, SmartCitiesDive, <https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/sustainablecitiescollective/friday-fun-how-tactical-urbanism-shaping-cities-people-people/1052506>

Echenique, M. (2018) ‘Turning a Busy Street Into a Work of Art in Santiago’, CityLab, <https://www.citylab.com/design/2018/04/turning-a-busy-street-into-a-work-of-art-in-santiago/557003>

Facultad Arquitectura y Diseño (2014) ‘FIAU – Acciones Urbanas: Tactical Urbanism And The Changing American City por Mike Lydon’, Vimeo, <https://vimeo.com/109032133>


Ciudad Emergente

Ciudad Emergente (2017) ‘El Gran Malón 2017: Llegó la hora de conocernos’, Vimeo, <https://vimeo.com/218826464> (in Spanish)

Ciudad Emergente (2016) ‘Calles Compartidas Santiago / Shared Streets Santiago’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdGZPs7dQq0>

Eden Project Communities (2017) ‘The Big Lunch goes to Chile’, Eden Project Communities, <https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/blog/the-big-lunch-goes-to-chile>

Eden Project Communities (2017) ‘The Big Lunch goes to Chile’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=Pvde6aZg92c>

Warner, H. (2013) ‘Translating Tactical Urbanism: An Interview with Javier Vergara Petrescu’, Shareable, <https://www.shareable.net/blog/translating-tactical-urbanism-an-interview-with-javier-vergara-petrescu>


Coletivo Ocupe e Abrace/Praça da Nascente

Carvalho, A. (2017) ‘Na Pompeia, a Praça da Nascente é um laboratório de cidadania’, São Paulo São, <http://saopaulosao.com.br/causas/3000-praca-da-nascente-laboratorio-de-cidadania.html#> (in Portuguese)

Herzog, C. (2017) ‘Yes, in My Backyard!’, The Nature of Cities, <https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2017/05/31/yes-in-my-backyard>

Jornal da Gazeta (2017) ‘Moradores da Pompeia reformam praça’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0b7sNfmCx8> (in Portuguese)

Jornalistas Livres (2017) ‘A Nascente e o Edifício’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=161&v=XrLJBhEVWEs> (in Portuguese)

Rede TVT (2018) ‘Moradores denunciam crime ambiental de construtora em São Paulo’, YouTube, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM6u5soVUEY> (in Portuguese)

Vital, S. (2016) ‘Coletivos and the cities’, Horizonte Sustentável, <https://horizontesustentavel.com/2016/05/03/coletivos-and-the-cities/comment-page-1>


Peru/Piura/Los Polvorines

Reaño, G. (2017) ‘Los Polvorines: vivir en peligro’, Soluciones Prácticas, <https://solucionespracticas.org.pe/testimonio-los-polvorines-vivir-en-peligro>

Stewart K. (2016) ‘El Niño: When poverty erases memory’, Living in Peru, <http://mobi.peruthisweek.com/blogs-nino-peru-108943>

Stewart, K. and Collyns, D. (2016) ‘In the eye of El Niño: landslides and flooding in coastal Peru – podcast’, The Guardian, <https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/audio/2016/jan/30/in-the-eye-of-el-nino-landslides-and-flooding-in-coastal-peru-podcast>

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