Liminality in Latin America’s Global Cities: constructed and imagined borderlands of the formal and the informal

This Symposium focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to urban studies in Latin America, with an emphasis on the dynamics of contemporary urban-rural environments. This year the symposium focuses on the space “in-between” and transitions between formal and informal systems. Rapid development, rural-urban migration, and urban growth during recent decades have created conflicts between formal and informal economic and political systems, social structures, and built environments in Latin America’s “global cities.” Through a series of lectures during the semester and a summary panel discussion, the symposium will explore multiple aspects of: economic and environmental justice; race, ethnicity, and class; citizenship, the state, transnationalism, and rural-urban transformations, among other topics.


This Symposium is organized by the Department of Architecture and the Department of Anthropology at Iowa State University.


Contact Silvina Lopez Barrera at


Thursday, January 30th @ 5pm

Panel Discussion

 Location: Gallery, College of Design, Iowa State University


Cristina Dreifuss-Serrano, PhD, Professor, Department of Architecture ,  Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, Lima, Peru

Maximillian Viatori, PhD, associate professor, Department of Anthropology, ISU


Clare Cardinal-Pett, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Iowa State University

Friday, February 14th @ 12:00 PM

Graduate Students Research Presentation Series

Location: 077 College of Design
Speaker: Ronald Reyes, graduate student, Architecture, Iowa State University
“Border City: Ciudad Bolivar, Bogota, Colombia”

In the last 15 years, Bogotá went from being renown for corrupt governance and urban chaos to being a model for visionary politics and progressive urban planning. In this document I will analyze Bogotá’s turnaround and evaluate some of the main challenges that the city still faces, specifically considering the case of one of its largest and poorest areas like Ciudad Bolivar.


Friday, March 28th @ 12:00 PM

Graduate Students Research Presentation Series

Location: 411 College of Design
Speaker: Saul Abarca, PhD candidate, Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University
“Changing roles of market, state and civil society: the case of coffee cooperatives and small farmers in Mexico”

In this paper, we investigate how civil society organizations, in particular coffee cooperatives, are responding to the growth of market power and the decline of government’s role in the coffee regime.


Friday, April 18th @ 12:00 PM

Graduate Students Research Presentation Series

Location: 130 College of Design
Speaker: Diego Thompson, PhD candidate, Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University
“Governance and its Role in Community Adaptations to Environmental Stresses under Decentralization Programs in Southwestern Uruguay”

Since the turn of the 21st century, climate change and globalization have critically affected the southwestern region of Uruguay. Community responses to environmental stresses created by natural and anthropogenic phenomena have been addressed by recent political decentralization policies and programs.