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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Bjorn Sletto

Associate Professor Ph.D., Cornell University

Associate Professor, Department of Community and Regional Planning
Bjorn Sletto

Contact

Interests

Latin American planning and development; participatory planning; environmental and social justice; social theory

LAS 381 • Latin American Planning Studio

40405 • Spring 2012
Meets W 630pm-930pm WMB 3.116
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This is the third in a series of planning studios in informal settlements in Latin America.  These courses are collaborative, experiential, and premised on student initiative and active engagement with community partners, scholars, activists and public officials.  We seek to define, research, and propose technically well-founded, participatory, and empowering solutions to social and environmental problems facing slum communities.  We also aim to assist our NGO and government partners in developing their technical and governance capacity.  This spring, we will build on the environmental risk and vulnerability assessment and solid waste management study conducted in the previous planning studios in spring 2008 and 2010 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. We will continue designing a community-based solid waste management program, drawing on models and experiences from similar communities elsewhere, and working with a newly established  community organization.  We will also work with residents (in particular women and teenagers) and NGO partners to design and test a vermicomposting project as a possible and partial solution to the problem of organic waste.  We will be conducting focus groups, interviews, and surveys, and  we will work directly with residents on graphic design and construction.  Students must participate in two field trips to the Dominican Republic (tentatively January 3-15 and March 9-15 (Spring Break). The course has been awarded an Environmental Protection Agency P3 Award and students are required to attend and present their work at the National Sustainable Design Expo, *tentatively* scheduled for April 13-15. Students will receive scholarships to defray most of these travel expenses. Enrollment is limited to 9-10 students and instructor’s permission is required to register for this course. Contact instructor for more information and admissions requirements.

LAS 381 • Local Devel Plan In Latin Amer

40746 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BEN 1.104
(also listed as GRG 396T )
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In the popular imagination, "Latin America" conjures images ofexploding mega-cities, civil unrest, burning forests, indigenouspeople living on the margins of society -- as well as bananaplantations and beach resorts. But Latin America is a complex regiondefined more by its potentials than its problems, by contrasts anduntrammeled modernity more than predictability and tradition. In thiscourse, we examine the roots of Latin American economic dependency,which continues to keep the region in the grips of underdevelopmentafter years of structural adjustment and privatization. We considerthe histories and geographies of the region to better understand thelimitations and opportunities for human development and discuss theramifications of the turn to the left, exemplified by the governmentof Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. We then turn to thematic studies,exploring different countries as we review infrastructure planning,micro-enterprise and other economic development planning, housing andslum development, land rights, indigenous planning issues, andenvironmental planning and natural resource management. We examinedifferent approaches to planning in the region, from state-ledregional planning schemes that resulted in some of the world's largestplanned cities, to the work of neighborhood organizations and socialmovements prompted by the increasing influence of civil society inLatin America. The intent is to unravel some of the persistent mythsabout the region and emerge with a better grasp of the potentials andpitfalls associated with planning and development in Latin America. Wewill read the work of Latin American, European and US journalists,planners and scholars to address the issues facing the region frommultiple perspectives.

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