The gated community motto: Come and live in a lie while ignoring life!

The papers, books and studies related to the urban development of gated communities in the Global South have provided lots of information by problematizing the history and politics behind the imaginary of these projects. Urban developers all over Latin America, Africa and Asia are building hundreds of communities and apartment buildings that imitate European and Western Styles of construction, lifestyle, norms and regulations. This morning I got my hands in one more of these advertisements for a housing project located in a recently developed dormitory city near Guatemala City, Guatemala.

The community is called “Residenciales Pasaje Español” and the development aims at replicating the lifestyle of a Spaniard ideal of a community  (while, of course, ignoring reality about Spain’s complexities).  The advertisements are all directed at the appeals of the growing middle-class market in Guatemala which is backed by a search for: affordable housing, accesible parks, gated walls around the housing project, 24/7 private police service, white houses that offer access to parking spaces for family-sized cars.  All of this providing a “theme-park” feeling that enables you to transport yourself from the violent and insecure life outside of the gates.

plano del proyecto

Guatemala City and the dormitory cities around it are inhabited by aprox. 3.5 million people with more than 1 million cars and the figures are quickly rising. Many of the gated communities are 1 or 1.5 hours away from most of the office and industrial areas and traffic jam is a constant worry for this people. Alienated from crime and lack of rule of law, these gated-communities offer an escape from public worries to taxpayers and an excuse to ignore the country’s multiple problems.

torres de luz

But as any other theme-park there are many flaws and dangers in the aim to replicate the “ideal society”.  The complex is located straight next to a line of huge power towers that represent a health menace to the people that will live in the houses. Also, the gated-community is surrounded by hundreds of new houses and dozens of new gated-communities that once completed and sold will represent an increase in the traffic jam outside of the “housing dream”.

Perhaps it is still time to Rethink the future of our cities. We still have time to further problematize our development model and think about the contradictions behind these city-building dystopias. And bring to light more information regarding how these gated-communities further weaken collaboration, cooperation and citizenship in our societies…

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Cocktail tonight on behalf of Roots and Wings. Guatemala City, Guatemala.

I warmly invite you to tonight’s cocktail on behalf of the work done by Roots & Wings International in Guatemala.  The cocktail is part of the NGO’s fundraising projects organized to pay for its diverse programs. The organization is a wonderful example of success since I became acquainted with its work and we need your support to continue growing its educational programs in Guatemala.

Roots & Wings Programs:

  • University Scholarships

    23 sponsored in 2010
    Seeking sponsors to provide 50 more

  • Tutoring Program

    Goal: 600 elementary students
    Paving the path to higher education

  • Computer Literacy

    25 computers and 600 children
    Need donor sponsorship

  • Development Meetings

    Planning and resolution
    of local development issues

  • Counseling

    Promoting higher education
    Academic and career guidance
    to 250 youth per year

  • Preparatory School

    Access to high school education
    Currently raising $1.5 million

 

 

Coming in November 20 the TEDxYouth Events!

 

 

TEDxYouthGuatemalaCity

In November 20, 2011 TEDx organizers across the globe will host events for (and by) young people. These TEDxYouthDay events will vary widely in size, format and theme, but they will share a common vision: inspiring curiosity, igniting new ideas, empowering young leaders. A group of my friends is organizing the TEDxYouthGTCity that will emphasize on the theme of Heroes (who they are, what are they made of, and what do they do).

If you are in Guatemala and are interested in participating please register in this form.  They have limited seats for this conferences that promise to be fantastic!!! For other locations around the globe check here which event is closer to you: where’s going to be the closest TEDxYouth to your location

I invite you to meet the speakers of the 2011 TEDxYouthGTCity: