This thesis intends to provide a deeper understanding in how decision-making processes influence the construction of urban revitalization plans in the marginalized heritage neighbourhood of Las Cruces in Bogotá, Colombia. Latin American cities across the continent have increasingly undergone large scale urban renovation projects in recent decades. In many cases, revitalization strategies instigated by the local government have often resulted in a pressure to leave, especially for local lower-income groups. Decision-making processes among policy makers and the extent to which local communities are involved influence how revitalization plans shape and ultimately impact locally. Based on the literature on gentrification in Latin America and co-production, this research assumes that if locals are excluded from the decision-making process or when involvement is inadequate, gentrification or displacement is likely to occur, while when co-production strategies are applied, revitalization might lead to the improvement of local livelihoods and to urban inclusion. The research questions of this thesis are: how did decision-making processes influence the design of the current revitalization projects of the Las Cruces neighbourhood, in the Centro Tradicional of Bogotá? Who were the main stakeholders in the decision-making process within the revitalization projects in Las Cruces? What was the process of decision-making and the role of local involvement? To what extent do the visions of policy makers and local communities align and diverge? The methods applied in this thesis were: 1) semi-structured interviews, 2) action research and 3) content analysis. The interviewees consisted of policy-makers and academics in the areas of urban planning, revitalization and heritage; and of local community activists. Participants of the action plan workshops were a diversity of local inhabitants of Las Cruces and local community leaders. The results of this research suggest that decision-making processes in projects concerning Las Cruces are characterized by an overrepresentation of the public sector as key and primary actors, and by an absence of adequate civic sector involvement. Changes in the city’s administration also prevented the implementation of a long-term vision for Las Cruces and the continuation of previous projects. At the time of the fieldwork, plans for Las Cruces were designed rather through top-down land-based planning strategies while local participation was mostly limited to consultation. The vision for Las Cruces diverged between policy makers and local inhabitants, with the former favouring new real estate developments for higher income groups, while the latter was rather concerned with solving social issues such as youth unemployment, lack of social cohesion and community pride. This thesis concludes that, even though at the time of this research few regeneration projects were planned and gentrification had not yet taken place, preliminary plans and visions suggested that future processes of gentrification are a possibility. The design of the new master plan of the city for the next 12 years might facilitate real estate development for higher-income groups, possibly resulting in the spatial reconfiguration of Las Cruces and local displacement.

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d’Alençon, P.A. (Paola Alfaro)
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Tromp, C.J. (Caspar José). (2017, October 2). Heritage for whom? Assessing the influence of decision-making processes on the revitalization plans of heritage neighbourhood Las Cruces, centre of Bogotá.. Retrieved from