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Processus de fragmentation urbaine et risques dits "naturels" dans la ville de Managua (Nicaragua)

Abstract : The notion of the fragmented city, often used to describe Latin-American cities, applies to Managua's townscape. This is distinguished by the juxtaposition of delimited urban areas interspersed with large areas of wasteland. The Managuas use the earthquake of 23rd December 1972, which destroyed a large part of the Nicaraguan capital, to explain this discontinuity of the urban space and its coherence. While this event was undeniably a catalyst, there is evidence to indicate that all the varied and recurrent damage affecting Managua has been contributing to this process for a long time, even if it was not the only driving force. Does this result in an accentuation of social polarization and a decomposition of urban habits? The so-called natural hazards resulting from the interaction between the physical process of damage (manmade hazards) and population factors (vulnerabilities) do indeed have a certain resonance within the process of urban fragmentation, via those population factors with which they share some social and spatial components.
The hallmark of unity which lay at the origins of the construction of Managua in the middle of the nineteenth century is thus constantly called into question by recorded evidence of risks and by the interaction between the social and spatial components which predate the damage. For example, very little damage has been recorded in urban areas built by the better-off inhabitants. Thanks to their socio-economic, cultural and institutional choices, these inhabitants protect themselves from risks, but pass them on to the less wealthy areas. By blaming nature and refusing the principles of solidarity towards urban fragments which are already markedly different from them, the well-off contribute still more to the process of urban fragmentation and thus the disappearance of the town as a system. Paradoxically, the risks sometimes become elements of counter-fragmentation: the better-off inhabitants accept spatial proximity to an informal settlement if this settlement, in return for certain advantages, fulfils the role of a shock-absorber for damage, proving a certain instrumentalisation of the risks in the urban fragmentation process.
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Contributor : Sébastien Hardy <>
Submitted on : Monday, March 13, 2006 - 10:25:36 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00011930, version 1


Sébastien Hardy. Processus de fragmentation urbaine et risques dits "naturels" dans la ville de Managua (Nicaragua). Géographie. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 2003. Français. ⟨tel-00011930⟩



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