A city’s green areas – and the right to them: the case of Valparaíso, Chile

  • Nis Aamand Hejlskov Sørensen
Keywords: Right to the city, urban commons, urban conservation, social movement framing.


This article contributes to the understanding of the capacity of local communities
to slow down market-driven urbanisation. It employs the idea of the
right to the city, which is understood as a collective right to shaping power
over the urban development. It is also a right to rethink our relationship to
the city and its landscape. Thus, the right to the city is about defending the city
from gentrification but also a right to imagine a city with more urban and
green commons. The article presents a case-study from Chile, where local citizens
are fighting the gentrification of a historic neighbourhood in Valparaíso.
By framing private owned green areas as urban commons, the citizens challenge
the current urban development in Chile. The case shows how the struggle
to preserve the natural and cultural heritage locally is connected to a strong
local identity and an appreciation of the value of the urban landscape. We can
learn from the Chilean case that it is possible to slow down gentrification of the
city when a broad political consensus about protecting green areas as urban
commons is established among citizens and local politicians.


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