Part of the research for this paper was funded by the “CONTESTED_CITIES - Contested Spatialities of Urban Neoliberalism: Dialogues between Emerging Spaces of Citizenship in Europe and Latin America” project, financed by the European Union Marie-Curie Action Programs (Grant Agreement: PIRSES-GA-2012-318944). Authors also acknowledge the financial support received from the Fondecyt Project (Grant Number 1151287).
This paper addresses the links between real estate production, transport infrastructure and class-related spatial tensions in the context of urban neoliberalism in Chile. As case studies we focus on two of the most intensely redeveloping areas in Santiago, the Estación Central municipality in inner Santiago which experiences rapid high-rise property-led redevelopment, and the peri-urban growth zone of Chicureo in the municipality of Colina.
From the perspective of urban political economy and using mobility-related questionnaires, in-depth interviews with inhabitants and media analysis we detect important differences between inner-city and peri-urban dynamics. While the redeveloping inner area of Santiago, in spite of being an exclusionary space where lower income-oriented affordable housing is absent, is not a disputed space in terms of access to mobility means, the expanding fringes of the city show strong class-related differences among new and old inhabitants. It seems that with view to mobility opportunities urban neoliberalism has variegated geographies that at the same time might show temporarily positive (Estación Central) and very negative results (Chicureo). In terms of public policy these results indicate that the inner area of Santiago is an opportunity for locating social housing production, given the relatively equal access to mobility opportunity for the different income groups. In the meanwhile, the deepening of mobility-related inequalities on the urban peripheries is highly problematic and needs more scholarly and political attention.