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Indigenous development alternatives

An urban youth perspective from Bolivia


The University of Sheffield in association with:

Instituto de Investigación y Acción para el Desarrollo Integral (Bolivia)

This project examines the lived experiences of indigenous youths in different urban contexts in Bolivia, and the inequalities they face on a daily basis.

Indigenous peoples in Bolivia and elsewhere in Latin America are often portrayed as living in isolated rural areas. But in reality, this is not the case, with the majority of indigenous youths moving within their country, keeping a foot in the city and a foot in the countryside.

The project explores the challenges and opportunities faced by indigenous youth in relation to territorial displacement, urbanisation, and socio-economic and political exclusion.

A key finding is that planners need to look at rural and urban spaces in a more integrated way to understand indigenous youth lives.

Emphasis is put on youth-led visions and alternative planning proposals for more just, inclusive, and sustainable urban futures. The project provides young people with opportunities to study social issues relevant for them and to prepare alternative planning outputs (e.g., documentary film and multi-media representations) that resonate with their communities and organisations.

Research activities take place in El Alto, Santa Cruz, Sucre, and Amazonian territories affected by the urbanisation of the countryside.

The project should be of particular interest for planners committed to identifying practical solutions towards the decolonisation of the profession through more collaborative engagements with historically marginalised groups.

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Youth co-researchers from peri-urban Sucre

This is a collaborative ESRC-funded research project, led by Dr Philipp Horn, and involves researchers from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield (UK), the Instituto de Investigación y Acción para el Desarrollo Integral (Bolivia), and indigenous youth co-researchers from Bolivia.

Links to research