, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 167–183 | Cite as

Disruption, yet community reconstitution: subverting the privatization of Latin American plazas

  • Veronica CrossaEmail author


Latin American scholars have recently discussed the privatization of urban public space. A fundamental aspect of this process is the disintegration of communities because it often targets and affects a peculiarly Latin American kind of public space: the plaza. Plazas have traditionally functioned as cultural centres in Latin American cites. They are central meeting points for political groups, sites of civic expression and public resistance, as well as places to purchase relatively cheap goods and services. Plazas are, therefore, sites in which families, neighbours, and political organizations mingle, interact, and also challenge authority. This paper uses these sorts of insights on public space in Latin America to develop a conceptualization of the plaza as a community centre. However, the multiple practices and interactions that occur in these forms of public space have been disrupted by state-led strategies which seek to privatize and sanitize public space, thereby disrupting—or even destroying—the community centre. I use primary materials on Mexico City’s Historic centre and its plaza to explore the ways in which this specific type of urban public space has been affected physically and symbolically by a regeneration scheme known as the Programa de Rescate.


Community centre Public space Urban neoliberalism Plaza Mexico City 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

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