Effects of Urban Growth in the Process of Impoverishment of Campesinos’ Households Living in Peri-Urban Areas: A Case Study in Mexico City

Yadira Mireya Méndez de Martínez (2007). Effects of Urban Growth in the Process of Impoverishment of Campesinos’ Households Living in Peri-Urban Areas: A Case Study in Mexico City , School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland.

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Author Yadira Mireya Méndez de Martínez
Thesis Title Effects of Urban Growth in the Process of Impoverishment of Campesinos’ Households Living in Peri-Urban Areas: A Case Study in Mexico City
Translated title Efecto del crecimeinto urbano en el empobrecimiento de los hogares campesinos que habitan en las áreas peri-urbanas: Un estudio de caso en la Ciudad de México
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007-12-13
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Basil van Horen
Martin Bell
Bruce Frank
David Ip
Editor Jennifer Poulter
Total pages 484
Collection year 2007
Language eng
Subjects 310000 Architecture, Urban Environment and Building
Abstract/Summary In the last 50 years, Mexico, like many other countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, has experienced accelerated urban growth. Urban growth has been accompanied by an increase in urban poverty. While the spatial distribution of poverty in urban areas in Mexico is varied, new settlements that tend to grow in the peri-urban hinterland of cities are largely associated with poverty. This is because inexpensive, but mostly illegal, agricultural land (ejido or private) has been alienated to satisfy the demands of low income population for housing. The focus of this study lay in the Metropolitan Area of Mexico City (MAMC), which is the habitat of diverse low-income groups. Among those groups are the campesinos (people with rural background engaged totally or partially in agricultural livelihoods). Some studies have suggested that campesinos are very vulnerable to urban growth, since population expansion has put severe pressure on their agricultural land, which, despite its marginal value, is used to produce crops for either semi-commercialisation or subsistence. Although such research has showed how poor campesinos have engaged in non-agricultural activities to make a living and how land and their communities are threatened by urban growth due to speculative pressures on land and/or environmental deterioration, little is known about the impact of urban growth in the process of impoverishment of campesinos living in peri-urban areas. This study aims to understand how the growth of the MAMC affects poverty in campesinos’ households, in order to recommend directions for poverty reduction. Three villages in Chalco municipality, which is situated in the peri-urban fringe of Mexico City, were selected as the study area. Based on the development of a conceptual framework, this study considered three interconnected elements underpinning poverty: multi-dimensionality, complexity and dynamism. For this reason, the Sustainable Livelihoods approach was selected as an analytical tool, as it provided a flexible analytical framework that encompasses all those elements. The study is divided in three stages. In the first stage (namely documental investigation), a series of published and unpublished written materials were reviewed to determine how the growth of the MAMC transformed the nature and availability of resources in Chalco municipality from 1970 to 2000. This stage was followed by the empirical investigation that aimed to examine how those transformations affected campesinos’ assets (human, natural, physical, productive and social), the strategies they used to adapt to such changes, and how they perceived changes in poverty status. Accordingly, for this stage, quantitative and qualitative longitudinal and cross-sectional data were collected from 110 campesinos’ households living in the study area in 1997 and 2003 by using structured questionnaires. Qualitative data were also collected by using semi-structured interviews from 34 campesinos’ households in 2000. The final stage, called recommendations, involved the synthesis of the results of the documental and empirical investigations and suggests a series of directions for poverty reduction in campesinsos’ households in the study area. The documental and empirical investigations revealed that changes in asset ownership, between 1997 to 2003, depended on both transformation in the nature and availability of resources in Chalco and intra-household organization. Fundamental transformations in socio-demographic, economic, natural, physical and political/organisational resources of Chalco municipality were mainly, but not exclusively, associated with the growth of the MAMC. Climatic and physical characteristics of Chalco were also evident. To respond to such changes, campesinos implemented a series of strategies to get access to resources. Such strategies were based on campesinos’ needs, priorities and the portfolio of assets available, and their functionality. It was clear that campesinos depleted some existing assets to acquire urban assets and preserve their rural assets. In some instances, such strategies led campesinos’ families to satisfy their basic needs and, therefore, perceive themselves as non-poor. However, in other instances, such strategies prevented families from meeting their needs, leading them to the perception of being poor. The recommendation was made that in order to reduce poverty among campesinos in the study area, it was necessary to identify different alternatives to support their urban and rural assets and certain of their strategies that improve the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities and mitigate constraints to meeting their goals.
Keyword Poverty
sustainable livelihoods
poverty dynamics
Urban growth
adaptive strategies
Metropolitan Area of Mexico City
Chalco municipality

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Created: Thu, 13 Dec 2007, 00:57:35 EST by Dr. Yadira Mendez De Martinez on behalf of The University of Queensland Library