Chapter 11: Co-producing alternative urban imaginaries in the contested riverbank settlements of Guayaquil, Ecuador
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This chapter enquires into the linkages between household dynamics, community development, and the shifting environmental conditions of consolidated informal settlements in Guayaquil. The discussion is centred on the radical transformations of the densely populated waterfronts of Suburbio in terms of six decades of grassroots incremental development and new conflicts over space that have emerged due to ongoing mega-project implementation. The case study discloses how the threat of eviction – connected to the ‘greening’ of urban riverbanks along the Estero Salado – brings particular social-ecological issues to the fore that are perceived and addressed in distinct ways by different agencies involved (local municipalities, the national government, academic activists and communities). Taking into consideration larger environmental concerns in the face of climate change, and the crucial need for ecological re-structuring at a bigger scale, this contribution reflects on the grassroots capacities of Suburbio’s residents for advancing and mobilizing community-driven forms of city making vis-a-vis the limitations found in engaging broader support from national and local government actors.

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