In this article I analyze the participation of economic patrons or gamonales in processes of city building. Like clientelistic leaders, local ‘big men’ can partake in the transformation of the living conditions of the urban poor. These individuals show an extraordinary capacity for transforming cities, their built environments and social and political infrastructures, especially in small and rapidly growing cities located in the peripheries of nation-building projects. In my research I explore the case of one patron in Granada, a rapidly urbanizing city in Colombia that received many forced migrants between 1990 and 2010, to reveal a new way in which city building and patron–client relationships co-evolve and are constituted within a space of intimate interactions between landed property and urban real estate.
Maria Atuesta Ortiz
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