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The violence of planning law and the production of risk in Lima

Lambert, R; (2021) The violence of planning law and the production of risk in Lima. Geoforum , 122 pp. 82-91. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.03.012. Green open access

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Abstract

Counteracting law violation and the haphazard occupation of marginal land as an explanation for how risk becomes inherent to informal urbanisation, I demonstrate in this paper that hazardous conditions are an outcome of practices that seek to comply with planning law. Risk on the steep slopes of Lima is reproduced by unchanged and inflexible planning regulations and instruments, and not by their absence. Building on scholarship at the nexus of planning and informality, and borrowing from socio-spatial and legal geography, I argue that planning law and legal texts regulate the spatial layouts of human settlements in ways that produce concrete abstraction and exacerbate unintended outcomes. Using extensive case study research and ethnographic methods, I unpack three perverse spatial configurations on the peripheral slopes of Lima: the grid layout resulting in excessively steep access ways, electricity poles in the middle of staircases and dangerous evacuation routes. I demonstrate how manoeuvres of fragmentation, homogenisation, and hierarchical ordering, active in planning processes and legal texts, lead to material and corporeal violence that maintain dwellers in perpetual landscapes of risk.

Type: Article
Title: The violence of planning law and the production of risk in Lima
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.03.012
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.03.012
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Urban planning; Informal urbanisation; Violence; Abstraction; Risk; Lima
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10126462
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