thumbnail of Latin American perspectives; Episode 21 of 39
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Latin American perspectives a program of comment and analysis about current Latin American problems and their historical setting. The commentator for these programs is Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Here now is Dr. Gardner between one thousand forty one thousand nine hundred sixty. The population of the USA increased by forty eight million by 1970. At the present rate of growth it will reach 215 million and by the year 2000 approximately three hundred eighty five million inhabitants. The population of Latin America above two hundred twenty five million now and increasing much faster than that of the United States will total about 600 million in the year 2000. It follows then that one aspect of the population explosion the rapid growth of cities is characteristic of contemporary Latin America. Exploring this theme is the new book The urban explosion in
Latin America a continent in process of modernization. A publication of Cornell University Press. What is the role of the city in the modernization process. How can the advantages of urbanization be enjoyed while its penalties are minimized. To consider such questions leading experts met at Cornell University. They came from Chile Argentina Peru Colombia Brazil Mexico Venezuela and Puerto Rico as well as from all sections of the United States. The conference included architects city planners demographers economists historians political scientists and sociologists. One of the major results of that Cornell conference in addition to the volume under consideration was the establishment of communication among the different disciplines a necessary
preliminary to the realisation that the complexities of modern cities transcend the limits of any one discipline and call for interdisciplinary research and cooperative effort. A sense of urgency enters the Latin-American picture. If one pauses to consider these predictions while the general population growth of Latin America will exceed 3 percent annually that of the cities will average more than 5 percent with some of the capital cities exploding under the impact of 7 10 and even 12 percent population growth annually along with an appreciation of the enormity of this problem comes the staggering question. Does the rate of growth of Latin American cities defy planning. One thing is certain laws alone will do little or nothing to
affect urban development in fundamental fashion. Many years ago in certain parts of Latin America the cry for land reform produced a welter of agrarian laws but the laws in turn did not produce agrarian reform. From the too narrow and too legal a stick approaches to the too limited results in the field of agrarian reform. One related lesson can be deduced urban reform cannot be affected by legislation. It requires total replanning of the entire situation. Planning in turn faces the duality that is ever present in the conflict between the inevitable. The design imposed on cities by historical forces and the desirable the design we want them to have what is desirable in
reference to a La Paz Bolivia or a one a Watteau Mexico. At this moment in the 20th century cannot escape the stern reality of historic forces that dictated their beginning some three or four centuries ago. Plans for the future that will be meaningful and successful must harmonize ancient tradition and the dream of tomorrow. Today every major Latin American city faces the problem of the rapid and haphazard growth of its slum sections in Chile. They are called Poblacion ace Calientes which means mushrooms constructed of wood 10 straw without water or light. This housing constitutes widening belts of misery and filth on the edges of dignified old and solidly built communities in Lima Peru.
Presently a metropolitan area of about 2 million inhabitants no fewer than 400000 residents of the battery Ottis constitute a rising challenge to sociologists economists and politicians none of whom are giving the slum dwellers and their problems adequate consideration. Indeed if urban slums continue to grow at the pace they have during the last 20 years or a similar period in the future maybe all that will be required to produce communist regimes in more than one Latin American country. The planners at Cornell even as they respond to a crying need pregnant with social despair economic frustration and political dynamite wear themselves but responding to something that has crept into and permeated literature on many fronts in Peru Mexico
and Brazil to mention but a few areas novels short stories essays plays in fact virtually every literary form have focused on the literature of slums. The old themes of Spaniards versus Indians of bandits versus travellers of brave and greedy revolutionists have yielded increasingly to pictures of sordid life in the slums of Lima Sol Paulo and Mexico City. Although the cures for urban ills are not readily agreed upon the causes of urbanization. Even without tested quantitative data we are rather clearly evident in Latin America as elsewhere in the world today. The advantages of the city sometimes called the pull factors are these opportunities for economic and social achievement and mobility. The possibility of educational advantages at
least for one's children better facilities for health care and in general the hope for a better way of life to these one must add the disadvantages of rural life. The so-called push factors lack of opportunities for achievement education and health welfare and the intensification of poor living conditions as a result of increasing mechanization of farms soil exhaustion and the lack of incentives for farming such as among other things. Credit facilities and good transportation. Urbanization may exactly parallel like behind or move ahead of the industrialization of a country. One of the great differences between much of the urbanization of Latin America and that of the United States is its relationship to industrialization here now and in
times past it has been almost axiomatic that the factory job awaited the farm boy. Indeed it lured him toward the city because of the parallel between urbanization and industrialization. In most of Latin America the urban trend is ahead of the rate of industrialization. Call it over urbanization if you will. It is synonymous with the desperate misery of a slum life and the multiplied headaches of the urban planner in Latin America as elsewhere. Certain demographic components such as mortality fertility and migration are related to the problems of urbanization. Lower rates of mortality and higher incidence of mechanization combine to lead young people down the roads from village to city. For a long
time it was held that massive problems of psychological adjustment confronted the rural Mexican for example who moved to the metropolis. Recent studies however indicate that this has been overrated. That there are satisfactory adjustment to urban surroundings and conditions is relatively easy. In a discussion of the city as a crucible for political action Irving L. Horowitz one of the participants of the carnal conference insists that the disproportionate rate of growth of Latin American cities signifies a deep transformation in power relations and power balances the traditional classes are now faced with the need to engage in coalition politics. For the first time. So powerful of the leading cities of nearly every Latin American country but control of them
signifies effective political control of the entire nation. In other words in many parts of Latin America as happened years ago in the United States the balance of political power has shifted from rural settings to urban centers. Unclear and it's a problem deserving of Investigation is the degree to which the effectiveness of the cities is reduced by the waves of immigrants that constantly inundate them. Likewise deserving of study is the magnitude of the negative social characteristics of the migrants. Illiteracy lack of skills training and experience. If much of this Latin American lament sounds long ago and far away in its relation to life in the United States I hasten to disabuse you of that conclusion. Thousands of negroes from Mississippi are matched by thousands of
whites from Appalachia pose the same kinds of problems in American life for cities such as Cleveland Detroit and Chicago. Every tech attraction that Sul Paulo has for the rural Brazilian that Sunday Argo holds forth for the rural Chilean that Mexico City possesses. While the rural Mexican is matched by the attractions of Cleveland Detroit and Chicago and every disadvantage that pushes a man from the farmland of Venezuela toward Caracas that nudges an individual from the Peruvian countryside into Lima. That moves people from the lonely pompous of Argentina to the teeming millions of Buenos Aires is matched by the disadvantages associated with rural life in Appalachia and Mississippi. Perhaps then by gaining a perspective
on a Latin American problem we may be more keenly more intelligently aware of the similar one on our doorstep. In that light the book the urban explosion in Latin America a continent in process of modernization published by Cornell University Press is doubly relevant to the urban world of the nineteen sixties. This was a Latin American perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Join us for our next program on Dr. Gardner We'll examine another aspect of life in Latin America Latin American perspectives is produced and recorded by station ws IUF Pham at Southern Illinois University and is distributed by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives
Episode Number
Episode 21 of 39
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-8g8fk84d).
Series Description
Latin American Perspectives. This prog.: The Urban Explosion in Latin America, published by Cornell U. Press.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-32-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:54
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Latin American perspectives; Episode 21 of 39,” 1968-08-10, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Latin American perspectives; Episode 21 of 39.” 1968-08-10. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Latin American perspectives; Episode 21 of 39. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from