The rural lands of urban sprawl: institutional changes and suburban rurality in Santiago de Chile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Urban sprawl has been mainly discussed in regard to its negative impacts. However, there is a variety of rural lands that benefit the suburbanization process in social, environmental, economic and political terms. These lands configure a category of rurality rarely considered as part of the urban phenomenon, and usually seen as pending space for further (sub)urbanization. In this sense, planning regimes and institutional changes tend to transform suburban rurality into marketable residential space, triggering reactions of preservation and change. With regard to the capital city of Chile – Santiago – it is argued that the meanings about the “urban”, the “rural” and the “city” become disputable in the light of suburban rurality and problematic as direct antonyms or unequivocal synonyms. It is also demonstrated that despite dramatic institutional changes, suburban rurality can survive over time if it finds support in social organizations and alternative planning rationales. The research in which this paper is based was conducted in five years and included the revision of several leftover interstitial spaces in which suburban rurality emerges as one of the most meaningful categories of suburban space. To gain further understanding on suburban rurality, this paper is based on a qualitative approach – including semi-structured interviews and archival revision of historical documents and policy reports – and focuses on the southern geographical space of the metropolitan area of Santiago de Chile, where most of social housing developments have been located over the last 60 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117
Number of pages28
JournalAsian Geographer
Issue number2
Early online date17 Dec 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Dec 2019


  • Urban sprawl
  • suburban rurality
  • familial orchards
  • social organizations
  • Santiago de Chile


Dive into the research topics of 'The rural lands of urban sprawl: institutional changes and suburban rurality in Santiago de Chile'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this