Informal Ecology: An Emergent Approach Towards Landscape Integration in Caracas, Venezuela

Natacha Quintero
Intended as a contribution to the debate on inclusive cities, this paper proposes that the re-imagination of new city landscapes lies on the integrative sum of its parts. Considering that knowledge about infor- mal systems continues to be a challenge in achieving integrated land- scapes, this study explores how the linking of the fields of urban ecol- ogy and urban informality can lead to systematic approaches towards understanding urban informal ecosystems. In that way, this think- piece theorises on alternatives to approach the socio-natural processes taking place in informal settlements to demonstrate their capacity to adapt to prescribed ecological frameworks and ease their way into ecological scrutiny. Using a mixed-method approach in which the the- oretical framework and the empirical work functioned in a cyclical manner, the city of Caracas, Venezuela, was investigated. The analy- sis led to the discovery of ties and processes that navigate in and out of the informal city, and revealed that informal areas can be scaled, inventoried, and re-imagined from a systems perspective. The paper therefore recommends a rethinking of the two intersections that play a role in most of the new scenarios of change seen in the contemporary urban hybrids of developing countries. Specifically, the intersection that concerns the formal vs informal dichotomy, exploring the spatial and virtual role of the urban informal in the city, and the one concern- ing the city vs nature dichotomy, and the assumption that as part of the city, the informal is also a constituent of a greater urban ecosystem with impacts and evolutionary capacities.

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Unpublished Master Thesis

Quintero, N. (2016). Slum Ecologies, Rethinking the urban informal land- scapes of Caracas (Unpublished Master thesis). Technical University of Berlin Campus El-Gouna, Berlin, Germany

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