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Vacant Land in Latin America

Challenges and Opportunities

Adriana de Araujo Larangeira

January 2006, English

This working paper is a translation of the 2004 Spanish-language Policy Focus Report Tierra vacante en las ciudades de América Latina: Desafíos y oportunidades (Vacant Land in Latin American Cities: Challenges and Opportunities).

The text is based on presentations made by more than 25 participants in a seminar titled “International Seminar on Urban Vacant Land: New Challenges and Opportunities.” The seminar, held in April 1999 in Rio de Janeiro, was jointly sponsored by the Lincoln Institute and the City of Rio de Janeiro.

The types and impacts of vacant land on urban quality of life vary widely among the countries and cities of Latin America, and even among neighborhoods within a city, making it difficult to develop a single conceptual framework. This report explores the many possible ways to understand the origins of urban vacant land and develop viable strategies and actions to address its consequences. It examines two key questions: How can vacant land fulfill its social function of contributing to the development of more equitable cities; and what kind of instruments are required to achieve this goal?


Brownfields, Community Development, Development, Economic Development, Favela, Housing, Inequality, Informal Land Markets, Infrastructure, Land Market Monitoring, Land Market Regulation, Land Reform, Land Speculation, Land Use, Land Use Ethics, Land Use Planning, Planning, Reuse of Urban Land, Segregation, Urban, Urban Development, Urban Revitalization, Urban Upgrading and Regularization, Urbanism, Zoning