Identity and Urban Image between Developmentalism and Neoliberal Policies

  • Abstract:

    The paper aims to show the mutations of the urban image and identity between the consolidation of cities during the ideas of the developmentalism of the fifties and sixties, and the subsequent transformations arising from the neoliberal policies applied since the eighties. It is inquired about how the transformations of the urban image proposed new forms of identity for the city as a whole and for its inhabitants. Arica, in the north of Chile, in the middle of the desert, between the high plateaus of the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, is an exceptional study case to show the ways how urban expansion fostered by development according to a diffuse city, changed the image and the identity of the city. Between 1958 and 1976, the city was a laboratory to put a political test, plans and projects that specified an unusual population growth and an urban growth marked by a dialectic between the compact center and the diffuse expansion. Since 1980 become one of the most interesting cases of application of the policies of expansion of the urban limits and liberalization of the land market. During the sixties a developmental local agency, the “Arica Board of Progress”, implemented advanced policies in economic growth and social equipment policies, an unprecedented political entity in the Latin American sphere. It was a regional institution complete autonomous of the central power, with planned and financial capacity, which promoted the industrialization, and the welfare of the population. Thus a particular urban identity was configured, which proposed the city as one of the most socially and economically advanced in the country. Since the change of political orientation of the economy with the military dictatorship, the institution was canceled and the city suffered the absence of promotion policies. The urban sprawl caused by free market policies came into contradiction with the image and identity that the city had sustained for decades.