1. During the opening ceremony, Menem gave an account of the project’s origins. After viewing the “beauty” of a recycled port project in New York City, he instructed his appointed mayor of Buenos Aires, Carlos Grosso (Argentine presidents selected Buenos Aires mayors until 1996), to go to New York to study this intervention: “If the North Americans could do this, why can’t we Argentines?” he said. See “Menem inaugura Puerto Madero 1997,” September 28, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRnFpxd9sS0. Despite this soundbite from the inauguration, Jajamovich (2012) shows that Barcelona was at the center of technical and expert circulation in the redevelopment of Puerto Madero.
2. “El Microcentro suma peatonales para descomprimir el tránsito,” La Razón, September 19, 2013, http://www.larazon.com.ar/ciudad/Microcentro-suma-peatonales-descomprimir_transito_0_498000010.html.
3. Carolina Prioglio, “Enrique Avogadro: ‘Argentina tiene muchos talentos,’” La Nación, June 6, 2013.
4. Adherents of creativity as a city planning strategy have argued that successful cities no longer rely simply upon natural endowments of resources or industrial capacity. Instead, they attract a skilled, educated, and mobile workforce through “tolerance” of sociocultural diversity and an embrace of technology sectors, acting as a magnet for a “creative class” of talented workers—the so-called three T’s of creative cities (Florida 2002; for critiques see Scott 2006; Peck 2005, 2012). Much like creativity, sustainability can easily mean any number of things including anti-sprawl, so-called smart growth (Barnett 2001; Glaeser 2011), green urbanism based upon energy-efficient architecture and innovative design (Lehmann 2011), as well as diverse policies aimed at making cities less automobile-dependent. Advocates of sustainability as a planning policy often prioritize mixed land use, density, diversity, and walkability (Wheeler 2013), suggesting that it can offer the “tripartite” benefits of economic growth, social equality, and ecological responsibility (Gibbs, Krueger, and MacLeod 2013, 2151).
5. In fact, Jorge Telerman was mayor from March 2006 to December 2007 after Aníbal Ibarra was impeached due to lax controls of nightlife establishments in the aftermath of a fire in a local dance club that took the lives of 194 young people. The brevity of this period makes any formal analysis difficult.
6. The terms world-class city and, to a lesser extent, world-class urbanism have been used in the scholarly literature to denote globally influential planning models, though their theorization has been limited. Roy and Ong (2011) scrutinize the appeal of world-class cities, which reflect, in their study of Asian urbanism, the increased influence of regional models and their aspirational character for policy makers. Geographer D. Asher Ghertner (2015, 9) identifies the normative power of the “world-class aesthetic” in contemporary Delhi. Ghertner argues that the term world-class is definitionally malleable when he notes that its aesthetic exists “without planning benchmarks or even mutually agreeable definitional criteria.” My use of the term here, indicating a normative set of planning discourses and loosely defined policies advocated internationally and reshaped locally, reflects a larger literature on the appeal of “city strategies” (Robinson 2011b, 15). These are contemporary planning initiatives, aimed at crafting long-term policy and promotional priorities, and reflecting the need of cities to attract outside investment as a response to economic competition (Harvey 1989).
7. Porteños (of the port) are the residents of Buenos Aires.
8. As Peck (2012) notes, creative city policy may have currency among local elites not due to its economic success or the possibility for major growth in creative sector labor markets, but rather because it resonates with a local political constituency vying for a new approach to growth.
9. Enrique Peñalosa became president of the board of ITDP in 2009 and was reelected mayor of Bogotá in 2015.
10. This perspective calls for analysis that is locally contingent, theoretically contextual, and geographically particular (Roy and Ong 2011; Robinson 2013). Policies indeed may travel “South–South” or “South–North.” A prominent example is Curitiba’s early BRT, used in cities across the global South, as well as in cities such as Ottawa or Pittsburgh. Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre has likewise informed hundreds of planning processes around the world (Baiocchi and Ganuza 2014).
11. “C40’s Gunjan Parik Speaks to Johannesburg and Buenos Aires,” C40 Blog, September 18, 2014, https://www.c40.org/blog_posts/in-conversation-c40-s-gunjan-parik-speaks-to-johannesburg-and-buenos-aires-newly-appointed-leads-of-the-c40-bus-rapid-transit-network.
12. Wood’s work on South African BRT shows how colonial histories connected South African cities to northern experts. These experts promoted the Bogotá model of BRT over less prominent, but perhaps more effective, alternatives.
13. Mauricio Giambartolomei, “Ecobici se recupera de robos y roturas,” La Nación, July 9, 2016, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/buenos-aires/ecobici-se-recupera-de-robos-y-roturas-nid1916868.
14. “The Charter of the New Urbanism,” https://www.cnu.org/who-we-are/charter-new-urbanism.
15. Movements like the New Urbanism suggested a critique of modernist planning’s monumental scale, not only for its lack of attention to environmental issues but also for its antidemocratic and nondeliberative implementation (Berke 2002). As sociologist Michael McQuarrie (2011) has noted in the U.S. context, the urban social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly those organized by communities of color seeking more influence in urban redevelopment decisions, augured an increased role for community input. The War on Poverty’s “Model City” and “Community Action” programs required “maximum feasible participation” in development decisions, a rhetoric that in part reflected the clarion call of social movements for community control (Walker, McQuarrie, and Lee 2015). The political reformist and social movement impetus for such policies may have dissipated, but the appeal to notions of public participation and consensus endured as features of the professional discourse on urban development and planning both within the United States and among international agencies such as the UN (whose “Our Common Future” report noted the importance of democratic deliberation in generating sustainable development).
18. Likewise, as sociologist Joshua Pacewicz (2015) shows in the U.S. context, when the federal government turned to competitive grantmaking in urban finance, local officials, city elites, and NGO coordinators needed to cultivate a sense of participation and consensus, turning sectorial adversaries vying for scarce resources—such as labor, business, or the urban poor—into “community partners.” As a result, funding for local projects increasingly rested upon the silencing of explicit forms of adversarial politics, while elevating nongovernment actors who now held the purse strings in development projects.
19. “The Charter of the New Urbanism.”
20. The central-south neighborhoods of La Boca and San Telmo in Buenos Aires figure prominently in this growing literature in Latin America (Di Virgilio et al. 2008; Herzer 2008; Gómez, Zunino Singh, and Herzer 2008; Guano 2003; Rodríguez and Di Virgilio 2016). These neighborhoods have been redeveloped to highlight the major touristic themes of Buenos Aires, such as tango, Italian immigration, and colonial architecture. Redevelopment in this regard may involve a form of symbolic dispossession in which residents are rendered outsiders in their own communities (Janoschka and Sequera 2016).
1. Turning to Culture in Times of Crisis
1. During the period under consideration in this book, city agencies and their heads went from secretaries to ministries with ministers at their helm. For the sake of clarity, I use the latter terminology for the entire period under discussion.
3. Luker (2016) shows how a sharp culturally nationalist rhetoric in the immediate aftermath of crisis transformed into the cultural diversity campaign when López worked with other countries to oppose a WTO-sponsored free-trade agenda for the cultural industries.
4. Loreley Gaffoglio, “Dos museos con la misión de convertirse en un polo cultural,” La Nación, October 9, 2014, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/643520-dos-museos-con-la-mision-de-convertirse-en-un-polo-cultural.
7. As cultural theorist George Yúdice (2003) has pointed out, culture is a resource in the global economy not only for its instrumental role in promoting consumption activities but also because it is the language of contemporary group claims. No longer controlled through top-down state planning aimed at creating a uniform national culture, culture is deployed by various institutions, the state or otherwise, to further particular goals, private-sector profit, or NGO advocacy. It is a resource not only because of its increased commercial value but also because it is the contemporary idiom of political representation called upon in support of a wider range of economic and political programs in the contemporary period. Analyzing these programs, therefore, connects local cultural politics with processes of socioeconomic change (Yúdice 2003, 4).
8. Michael Luongo, “What’s Doing in Buenos Aires,” New York Times, June 22, 2003.
9. This was in fact a departure from the period of structural reform during the 1990s, when the fewer travel stories that appeared tended to emphasize the similarities between Buenos Aires and “First World” cities (see, e.g., Guano 2002b, 181) rather than this special amalgam of elegance and chaos.
10. John Barrett, “Buenos Ayres: The Paris of America,” New York Times, August 19, 1906.
11. At the time of the centennial, the notion of a “Latin” world (basically the Western European, Catholic countries) was quite common. For example, in the same 1906 New York Times article, Buenos Aires is called the second largest “Latin” city on the planet, just behind Paris.
12. Gorelik (1998, 277) argues that the “mythic” quality of the barrios came into being through a dialectical process of modernization whereby the very institutions and culture that produced the barrios were always generated through a nostalgia for the older, “picturesque,” and premodern neighborhood of first-generation immigrants.
13. In many Latin American countries the term mestizo is a racialized category referring to descendants of Spanish colonizers and indigenous populations (see Mörner 1966 for a classic account of “race” in Latin America). In Argentina the term is rarely used, in part because of a powerful discourse stressing Argentina’s roots in European immigration (Garguin 2007). However, as the country industrialized beginning in the 1930s, darker-skinned migrants from the countryside moved to Buenos Aires. Alarmed by the presence of this racialized urban proletariat, much of Buenos Aires’ middle and upper classes scorned the presence of these rural migrants, dubbed “cabecitas negras” (little black heads) (Ratier 1972) according to one local epithet. Despite its apparent basis in phenotype, this discourse historically included differences of social class and political alignments such as that represented by Peronism and its working-class followers, subsuming discussions of “race” in Argentina within a variety of social distinctions and blurring the significance of phenotype in discussions of local inequality (Grimson 2005).
14. In the crass terms of one legislator from the opposition to Peronism, Ernesto Sanmartino, speaking during a 1947 session of Congress, these groups represented a “zoological deluge.”
15. See Dear (2003) and Soja (2000).
16. According to The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which attempts to evaluate currency over- or undervaluation through an analysis of a fungible good like a hamburger, we can begin to demonstrate the extent of the Argentine monetary transformation. In 2001, Argentina produced some of the most expensive hamburgers in the world, more expensive than the Eurozone, Japan, or South Korea. By 2003, The Economist ranked Argentina the cheapest of all forty-one countries evaluated, essentially the cheapest country in the world to eat a McDonald’s hamburger.
17. In the early twentieth century Argentina represented the dominant publishing center of the region. The burgeoning film industry of the 1920s and 1930s also represented a vanguard in Latin America (A. López 2000; Sarlo 1998, chap. 3).
18. As Perelman and Boy (2010) point out, scavengers were nothing new in Buenos Aires, yet their irruption in the city’s most fashionable neighborhoods during the crisis period generated a sudden acknowledgment of their existence among the media and middle-class residents.
19. “Los empresarios porteños opinan que estamos mal pero vamos bien,” Página12, January 2, 2003, https://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/economia/2-14877-2003-01-02.html.
20. The increase in tourism in the 1990s was also linked to the expansion of multinational firms into recently privatized Argentine industries (Prévôt-Schapira 2002; Ciccolella 1999).
22. Although the city governments of the 1990s and early 2000s framed the preservation of historic buildings or the valorization of cultural forms and expression within a broader rhetoric of democratic pluralism, these policies found substantive overlap with a growing—and international—cultural management and “arts administration” profession (Dewey 2004; Dorn 1992), increasingly enlisted by governments around the world in urban reinvestment programs anchored by private investment (Whitt 1987). Some form of cultural management had long been a part of public policy in Europe and the United States, but by the 1980s this was shifting from what some scholars have called a social-democratic model—in which culture was perceived as a form of reinforcing national identity and community bonds—to one in which culture could be used for more entrepreneurial ends (Zimmer and Toepler 1999; Yúdice 2003). Cherbo and Wyszomirski (2000) note that in the United States the National Endowment for the Arts initially followed a “public leveraging” model, which eventually lost ground to more market-oriented models.
23. Since a constitutional amendment in 1994, the city of Buenos Aires has been an autonomous political unit (Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires), with elections for the local mayor (first implemented in 1996). In juridical, tax, and penal issues, this configuration provides significant local autonomy, with the city maintaining its own local legislature and ministries (see De Luca, Jones, and Tula 2002).
24. Some Argentine scholars have suggested that decentralization itself did not respond to an organic clamor on the part of civil society or everyday citizens, but rather political elites’ positive views of municipal decentralization abroad (particularly in Europe) and its beneficial implications for solving local problems (Blutman 1999; Herzer 1996).
25. Juan O. Pons and N. Florencia Pons Belmonte, Constitución Web (blog), February 24, 2012, http://constitucionweb.blogspot.com/2012/02/mensaje-del-jefe-de-gobierno-fernando.html.
26. The Áreas de Protección Histórica (APH) was first passed in 1992 but was only fully implemented over the course of de la Rúa’s term as mayor (1996–99).
27. Law 130, January 22, 1999.
28. For example, see “Daniel Filmus será el compañero de fórmula de Aníbal Ibarra,” La Nación, April 17, 2003, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/sociedad/daniel-filmus-sera-el-companero-de-formula-de-anibal-ibarra-nid489566.
29. Pavón (2012), quoting essayist and cultural theorist Beatriz Sarlo, suggests that Frepaso’s leadership was so comfortable in the presence of intellectuals that, according to Sarlo’s personal account of her own involvement, this comfort may have been “too much” for the world of politics, since “we [intellectuals] weren’t that important” (as a constituency) (Pavón 2012, 278; see also Wortman 2002).
30. Between 2003 and 2006 the General Directorate of the Historic Core (DGCH) had produced fewer than six books on these subjects, most of which took an academic rather than merely managerial approach to understanding local heritage.
31. See Wortman (2002) for a history of the relationship between intellectual life and the opening of the political sphere.
32. Law 600, July 10, 2001.
33. Law 1029, June 30, 2003.
34. “Para leer el presente en las bibliotecas porteñas,” Página12, June 12, 2004, https://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/cultura/7-36591-2004-06-12.html.