Socio-spatial violence prevention: Inhibiting violence in Caracas, Venezuela through spatial planning

Nicholas Kasang


Contemporary urban growth in many cities in Latin American and Africa has been accompanied by unprece¬dented levels of urban violence. Latin America epitomizes this trend as three of the world’s most dangerous cities, Ciudad Juárez, San Pedro Sula, and Caracas, are located within this region (JÁCOME; GRATIUS, 2011, p. 2). Of these three, Caracas is notable because its exorbitant homicide rate cannot be explicitly attributed to the illicit drug trade-cartel wars that consume Mexico, nor is it represented by the civil conflict-gang violence that afflicts Central America. Moreover, the Venezuelan context is further distinguished as inequality, which is consistently cited as the primary catalyst for the emergence of everyday reactionary violence, is not overtly characteristic of the contemporary situation. Rather, caraqueño insecurity has largely been attributed to the exacerbation of social factors that perpetuate violence as “[…] an end in itself or a [mechanism] to injure/ eliminate another person in order to resolve an interpersonal conflict […]” (SANJUÁN, 2002, p. 95). Based on this reality, this work proposes the inclusion of socio-spatial interventions into contemporary prevention initiatives. Spatial interventions have shown a “[…] significant capacity to prevent the occurrence of violence in areas that are either totally or partially excluded from economic development and larger society […]” (DÍAZ; MELLER, 2012, p. 23). Implications of this work have the capacity to augment predominantly technical vio¬lence prevention precedent and enhance knowledge on alternative mechanisms to prevent insecurity. This study employs a comprehensive literature review in conjunction with data analyses in the development of a spatial proposal for Caracas.


Urban violence prevention; Socio-spatial intervention; Latin American urban development

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