Representations of Spatial Transformations: Industrial Agriculture and Informal Settlements in Mercedes, Uruguay

By Silvina Lopez Barrera.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study focuses on the social construction of abstract space in the city of Mercedes (Uruguay), which implies social relations of production, representations of space, and spatial practices and their physical manifestations. Through elements of Lefebvre’s triad (1991), this study explores spatial changes and challenges of Mercedes related to the development of industrial agriculture, and the growth of informal settlements. Secondary data and resulting analytical maps are utilized to understand recent changes produced in the urban-rural space of Mercedes. Informal conversations with local and national government staff discussed regional and local plans and policies. Interactions between plans, policies, and foreign investments related to industrial agriculture and social mobility have transformed public spaces and existing neighborhoods. Despite economic growth, the social-spatial fragmentation has increased between the inner city and the periphery and/or informal settlements.

Keywords: Industrial Agriculture, Informal Settlements, Social-spatial Fragmentation, Spatial Transformation, Urbanism, Uruguay

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.163-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.806MB).

Silvina Lopez Barrera

Lecturer, Department of Architecture, College of Design, Iowa State University, Ames, USA

Silvina Lopez Barrera is lecturer of architecture at Iowa State University where she teaches design studios. She holds a Master of Architecture degree from Iowa State University and an architecture professional degree from University of the Republic Uruguay. Silvina’s current academic interests include a multidisciplinary approach to space, informal urbanism, sustainable alternatives for rural and urban communities, food systems, and trans-nationalism, particularly in finding linkages between Latin America and the Midwest. She is a member of Iowa Women in Architecture and an associate member of the American Institute of Architects.