Villas as Urban Change: Contesting Narratives of Modernity in Twentieth-Century Buenos Aires

Adriana Massidda writes about the transformation of urban space in contexts of social and ecological disadvantage. Her main project to date analysed the transformation of the Buenos Aires Southwest marshlands into a landscape of low-income neighbourhoods, shanty towns (villas), and state-sponsored projects over a convoluted period of Argentine history (1956-1967). Residents’ micro-scale and collective actions were key for this transformative process, refuting modernisation discourse which regarded villas as sites of backwardness and disorganisation. More recently she has explored the environmental past of two social housing areas in London and Leicester respectively, interrogating the ways in which it ties into their present.

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