The Role of Place Identity in the Perception, Understanding, and Design of Built Environments

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In an era of globalization, where the progressive deterioration of local values is a dominating characteristic, identity is seen as a fundamental need that encompasses all aspects of human life. One ...
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Open Spaces in Informal Settlements in Bogotá, Expressions of Attachment and Identity

Pp. 92-106 (15)

Jaime Hernández-Garcia


Urban open spaces in informal settlements, the same as housing, are largely produced by people themselves. Similarly, these spaces are mainly used by the people who live around, with few ‘outsiders’ visiting those places. The product observed is the result of people’s needs, expectations, possibilities and symbolic constructions. This paper explores the social construction of open space in the barrios, arguing that it generates attachment and identity. Social practices are transformed to accommodate new interactions with open spaces and new and changing actors, while places change to accommodate those new and changing social practices. The research draws on empirical data of open spaces in barrios of Bogotá collected between 2003 and 2007, from within a further exploration of six cases was carried out in 2008 and 2009 for the specific purposes. A qualitative methodology was employed with a multi-method strategy. Major themes are analyzed and discussed with regard to social and cultural expressions in open spaces.


Appropriation, attachment, identity, open spaces, informal settlements.


School of Architecture and Design, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Carrera 7 No 40-62, Bogotá, Colombia