Theme: Urban Design and Planning

Grandmothers and Engineers: The Heads and Hearts of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Process

A little known fact about Venezuela is that grandmothers and engineers are at the forefront of the struggle to improve access to water and sanitation in poor neighborhoods. Nancy la Rosa, Rosalba Ruíz, Florencia Gutiérrez, Petra Escalona and Sulay Morales, all in their golden years, are working as spokespeople and organizers of the technical water committees (MTAs, mesas técnicas de agua) …

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From Water Wars to Water Scarcity: Bolivia’s Cautionary Tale

When Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived at the new Uyuni airport last August and found no water running from the tap, he publicly reprimanded and promptly dismissed his Minister of Water. As it happened, the pipes were merely frozen. The incident underscores the critical—and highly symbolic—role of water in the politics of this landlocked Andean nation. …

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El Líquido Vital: Solving Water Problems in Southwestern Nicaragua

In global terms, ours is the troubled century of water. Expanding populations, extreme climatic events, and threatened or contested sources of “the vital liquid” are guaranteed to cause more crises—even regional conflicts—in the coming decades. But let us tighten the focus to the strip of land in Nicaragua between the Pacific and Lake Nicaragua, south of Rivas all the way to the Costa Rican border …

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A River for Millions: Urban and Rural Lifestyles Meet in Peru

Seventeen–year–old Erika Ybazeta went to school in the small town of Santa Eulalia in the Peruvian highlands. The town is less than an hour’s drive from Lima, the coastal city of nine million that is the nation’s economic and political center. After graduating, Erika was only able to find work doing subsistence farming on her family’s small parcels of land in the nearby rural community of Cashahuacra. …

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