Where Policy, Planning & Everyday Practices meet: Governmentality & Facility Provision in Ciudad Satélite
Lopez Mares, Lourdes M.
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Social housing policy in Mexico addresses a pressing housing need and has thus followed a model that allows for the accelerated construction of massive developments of identical single-family houses at the outskirts of cities where land is cheaper. However, many of these developments are only partially completed resulting in a scarce offer of services and facilities and in problems such as large percentage of vacancies, vandalism and quick deterioration, affecting residents’ quality of life. In this context, residents, governmental agencies and developers try to control the provision of facilities to guarantee the fulfillment of daily needs, market developments and increase land values. One of the central aims of this research is to understand how actors produce and seize the gaps between policy, planning and on-the-ground implementation to assert their strategies and tactics and impact the production of facilities in Ciudad Satélite, a massive social housing development at the outskirts of the city of San Luis Potosí, México. Based on Foucault’s governmentality, the theoretical framework of my research seeks to understand de interplay between neoliberal rationality, subjectification, spatial governmentality and everyday practices. With a mixed methods approach, the research resorts to different methods of data collection such as observation, interviews, surveys, base mapping and archival research to provide a nuanced account of the processes through which actors seek to govern and exert power. Based on my research findings, I contend that controlling space is as important as governing subjects and as a result, governmental technologies match ways to govern both realms through mechanisms that mutually reinforce each other. Knowledge in this context is a mechanism that helps governmental agencies to frame and even produce reality to then craft the tools to intervene. Residents, on the other hand, carve spaces of opportunity to insert their spatial production practices. These however, lack structure as well as cohesiveness and as such, use a wide array of approaches, such as compliant adaptation, contestation, and appropriation. Through their tactics to adapt space, residents highlight the gaps between the abstract space planned and designed for them and the space they need to adequately live their everyday lives.