Development, urban planning and political decisions: A triad that built territories at risk

Alejandro Lara, Felipe Bucci, Cristobal Palma, Juan Munizaga, Victor Montre-Águila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Chilean geography exposes the country to high-level risks such as earthquakes and tsunamis. The disasters of 1930, 1960, 2010, and 2014 testify to the continuous link between human survival and disasters. However, new hazards have appeared ever since –i.e. flood waterlogging, wildfires, and landslides–, highlighting the relationship between current land uses and space occupation with increasing levels of disaster risk. This research aims to determine relations and responsibilities of the Chilean developmental approach in urban planning and territorial governance processes that have created new territories prone to disaster risk. We resort to a longitudinal analysis from 1930 to 2018 at the Gran Concepción metropolitan area as a proxy of Chilean industrialization and economic development approaches. To do so, we developed mixed-approach descriptive research, for which we collected data from national development policies and documented land occupation processes during pre-dictatorship, dictatorship and post-dictatorship periods. Semi-structured interviews with decision-makers involved in current territorial policy were also carried out. The findings show how territorial governance resulted from political visions around different development paths, wherein the concept of risk is weakly perceived among decision-makers. This perception is linked to narrow economic goals and the understanding of land as a barely regulated marketable asset, profoundly affected by segregated urban planning.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalNatural Hazards
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Development studies
  • Risk governance
  • Risk perception
  • Spatial planning
  • Urban governance


Dive into the research topics of 'Development, urban planning and political decisions: A triad that built territories at risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this