Pirates and invaders: land acquisition in urban Colombia and Venezuela

 Santa Marta is the regional capital of the Department of Magdalena in northern Colombia, with an urban population yate santa marta  of over 210 000. Although it is the oldest city in the country with a long and auspicious history, it has been unable to compete effectively with the neighbouring coastal cities of Cartagena and Baranquilla and is now only the fifteenth largest city in the country. It is characterised by low levels of industrial and commercial activity and correspondingly high levels of informality, both within the economy and housing sectors. This profile will examine the historical development of the city over the preceding five centuries to identify the factors which have played a central role in defining its character and situation. In particular the factors which have led to the dominance of squatting as a housing option for the poor will be examined. This includes a detailed examination of the low-income housing market and the role of political patronage in settlement processes.

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