Cities, hinterlands and extractive urbanization in Chile

During the last two decades, Chile’s extractive hinterlands have undergone major transformations:  new forms of industrial investment have engendered massive new infrastructures for logistics and mining across the territory.  Much of this new investment has been animated by export-oriented firms in extractive sectors, and in recent years, significant production streams have been oriented towards manufacturing activities in China and in East Asia.  This project seeks to explore the remaking of city/hinterland relations in Chile—and, more generally, across Latin America—through this Asia-centric wave of industrial investment.  Professor Neil Brenner, an urban theorist based at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), is planning on a series of workshops to be held in Santiago with Chilean and Latin American experts, scholars of Asian industrialization, international urban theorists of urbanization and infrastructure, as well as critical cartographers and aerial photographers / landscape artists.  These meetings will seek to map out the aforementioned trends and their implications for social, territorial and ecological conditions across strategic hinterlands of Chile and Latin America, in relation to contemporary debates on urban theory.  They will result in a substantial book publication, combining theoretical, narrative and visual modes of analysis, and oriented towards scholarly and public readerships. 

This project is intended to lay the foundations for longer-term collaborative research initiatives between Harvard-based and Chilean students and faculty, that will explore emergent transformations of urbanization, industrialization and “the hinterland question” in Latin America.  The work builds upon and extends Professor Brenner’s previous work on planetary urbanization which seeks systematically to connect questions about industrialized hinterlands to the study of global metropolitan development.

Neil Brenner / Professor of Urban Theory / Graduate School of Design / Harvard University /