Today, center-east areas in the city of Buenos Aires, especially the highly stigmatized villas (slums), seem ripe for a new phase of urban restructuring. Long-time residents of the villas, neglected for decades by public funds, now face “urbanization” processes, a euphemism neoliberal governance uses when transferring public urban land to the private market. Neoliberal actors in Buenos Aires have never before exerted this kind of pressure to upscale targeted blocks in one of the most neglected and stigmatized areas in the center-east of the city. Yet, how neoliberal governance in Buenos Aires currently operates as they move into these new areas is unknown.
This presentation examines Buenos Aires’ neoliberal urban governance in its drive to physically transform historically stigmatized and disinvested areas and blocks and how residents are being affected as urbanization advances and imposes a new dynamic on these areas.
For decades, the villas of Buenos Aires have been largely neglected and overlooked for land transformation. Yet, they are now rediscovered as “poles of social integration and inclusion” into the city fabric. In addition, these areas are now presented as opportunities for renovated cultural experiences. I propose that Buenos Aires’ neoliberal urban governances are more than simply producing and rationalizing new policies and procedures. At its core, neoliberal urban governance in Buenos Aires cultivates a powerful rhetoric that builds coherence and normalcy to help the commodification of the center-east areas gain traction and be successful.