Seguro, Humano, Conectado : narratives of displaceability in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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Date

2021-05-04

Authors

Losoya, Jorge Antonio

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Abstract

Urban displacement continues to be a critical issue, where the most marginalized are constantly at risk of removal due to urban redevelopment. This project focuses on a redevelopment project in Santo Domingo's informal neighborhoods to further investigate this displacement process. I engage with the narratives embedded in project documents as a way to understand the state's methods of legitimizing displacement. Through a case study of the Domingo Savio neighborhoods in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, I focus on how these state discourses create "displaceable" residents. The neighborhoods in Domingo Savio are informal settlements located close to the historic center and along the Ozama River. The project Nuevo Domingo Savio (NDS), ostensibly designed to cure the environmental ills and solve the social problems faced by the community, is marketed as "Seguro, Humano, y Conectado" (Safe, Humane, and Connected). Nuevo Domingo Savio is one of many planning and development projects led by URBE, an agency founded by the national government, which has focused its projects in the informal sectors of the city. Through an analysis of this project, I seek to understand better the tie between state narratives in urban redevelopment plans and displaceability (Yiftachel, 2020). To guide this project, I pose the following questions. How does URBE characterize the project NDS and thus imagine the future of Domingo Savio? How do the narratives embedded in NDS inform the characteristics of proper residents and spaces? Under what narratives can we read the creation of displaceable residents? A qualitative approach is used to gather multiple sources of data, such as interviews, media reports, and public documents. The NDS planning documents are the primary source of data in the narrative analysis guiding this project. This analysis illuminates the discursive processes in urban planning documents that create a state of displaceability (Yiftachel, 2020) based on narratives of integration, citizenship, and securitization

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