With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), URCV researchers have produced a series of publications that include a report that summarizes the research findings and recommendations, a toolkit that focuses on the practical implications of our findings, in-depth case studies of seven cities facing diverse violence challenges, a working paper, and policy briefs (forthcoming).
Survival Cities: Adaptive Approaches to Violence and Insecurity on the Periphery of Bogotá
Alyssa Bryson, 2011. MIT Master’s Thesis, Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
This thesis examines the various manifestations of violence and the spatial, sociopolitical, and economic security strategies that residents adopt to respond to these threats in the Municipality of Soacha, an urban extension of the capital city of Bogotá. By critically evaluating the ways in which citizens adapt to their insecure conditions and the implications these have for the city as a whole, the thesis makes a case for considering citizen adaptations on the periphery as the basis for sustainable urban change, calling into question the dominant security and planning paradigms. By looking to resident experiences with violence for cues, planners and policymakers can design more grounded and effective responses to insecurity and exclusion that allow communities to move toward a more integrated and productive urban reality. View online
The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict: Lessons from West Africa and India Topher McDougal, 2011. MIT PhD Dissertation, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
This dissertation occupies the intersection between the fields of International Development, Political Economy, and Peace & Conflict Studies to examine how economic networks spanning the rural-urban divide condition conflict dynamics between an urban-based state and its rural-based challengers. In some cases of such violent internal conflict, the combat frontier is messy and erratic, as insurgents target cities as their economic prey. In other cases, the combat frontier is tidy and stable, seemingly representing an equilibrium in which cities are effectively protected from violent non-state actors. What accounts for these divergent outcomes? This question bears special importance in an era characterized by increasingly eroded capacity of states to exercise the famous Weberian monopoly on the use of coercive force. View online
Transport Sanctuary: A Secure Public Realm within a City of Violence Ryan Maliszewski, 2012. MIT Master's Thesis, Department of Architecture With an increasing number of cities experiencing chronic violence and conflict within their boundaries, the question of how architecture can effectively intervene to create a secure public realm in pluralistic and fractious urban environments grows more vital. This thesis explores the spatial and social notion of sanctuary as an architectural strategy in such contexts, using the design of a central transit station in a northern neighborhood of Karachi, Pakistan as a case study. View online
Peace Through the Metaphor of War: From Police Pacification to Governance Transformation in Rio de Janeiro Julia Tierney, 2012. MIT Master's Thesis, Department of Urban Studies and Planning The pacification police are the most prolific and contentious public security policy in Rio de Janeiro's recent history. Their official objective is to restore security to spaces once governed by armed criminals. But while pacifying the informal settlements they are also pacifying the military police. As the state on the streets, or its most visible aspect in the informal settlements, they are the locus of community concerns and interlocutors with public authorities. They are altering perceptions of the police in the eyes of residents and reforming what it means to be a law enforcement officer in the minds of police. They are unintentionally connecting a state that was distant from the informal settlements and complicit in the violence inside them to the urban poor. The pacification police are beginning to transform urban governance across Rio de Janeiro. Download here: