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Daily (Im)mobility in Slums. A Female Perspective from the Villa 20 in Buenos Aires


Millions of women living in slums face severe restrictions to mobility due to gender, socioeconomics and living location. Those restrictions have to be understood in detail to intervene effectively. The aim of this thesis is therefore to characterize the daily travel patterns of women living in slums, to identify the relevant influence factors for the women, and to find out in how far and in what way those factors restrict their life.

The first part summarizes available literature and condenses it to a set of assumptions; then, the case study Villa 20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is introduced and the methodology for the fieldwork is described and specified. Qualitative in-depth-interviews, mapping and go-alongs were conducted with 23 women in a variety of life situations. The results from the fieldwork are summarized and interpreted in the third part of this thesis, and form the basis for policy recommendations.

The results of the research show that mobility patterns are mainly determined by restrictions, namely insecurity, travel expenditure, travel durations, fixed schedules, orientation problems, and deteriorated public space. The relevance of these factors and their effect differ for each woman, mainly depending on if she has young children, if she works and in what radius she usually travels.

This thesis contributes to an ongoing academic debate in, among others, urban planning and spatial geography. Additionally, it is valuable for practitioners. According to the results, interventions should include various policy fields, specifically improve public transport, educate and enable the women, focus on security and urban design on the neighborhood scale and be participative and ambitious in order to be effective.

Laura Mark

November 2017

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