Spatial fragmentation and self-organisation: a negative relationship in Brazilian metropolises

Igor Tempels Moreno Pessoa


While Brazilian metropolises are spatially fragmented, at the same time they have abundant bottom-up, spontaneous, self-organised initiatives that usually emerge as a response to weak or negligent public authorities. Both phenomena are influencing Brazilian metropolises, but we do not know how they influence each other. This paper aims to answer the question: To what extent does spatial fragmentation influence self-organised initiatives? The article is based on analysis of data collected in the municipality of São Paulo. It first develops a theoretical reflection on both concepts, fragmentation and self-organisation, followed by an outline of the methods and analysis. The work is based on a series of in-depth interviews and field observations of six self-organised initiatives. The results show that the spatial fragmentation pattern observed in São Paulo is defined by a strongly polarised urban structure that heavily influences the operation of self-organised initiatives. This imposes a limitation on the work area of self-organised initiatives. The study indicates that the relationship between spatial fragmentation and self-organised initiatives, however, is not straightforward. Moreover, spatial fragmentation hinders the expansion of the work of self-organised initiatives.


Spatial Fragmentation; self-organisation; self-organised initiatives; self-governance

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