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A renaissance of ‘socially rebellious’ community development: A tale of a locale

Ignacio Castillo Ulloa


The article explores and deconstructs, by dint of a specific case study, how protest action of urban social movements and community organizing may aid to underpin wider and more inclusive community development processes. The account of Paso Ancho, an urban community in southern San José, Costa Rica, is analyzed throughout the autonomous political organization and actions of its dwellers, which triggered a process of self-steered and inclusive participation by advancing a local development agenda aimed at improving social and spatial conditions. All in all, it is believed that direct community action, in the long run, and spite of its inherent pitfalls, helps to create a more equal environment – in both social and spatial terms – for it also enhances local participatory democracy within and even beyond official urban planning processes.

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