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Ray Bromley - Peru 1957-1977 John Turner (Habitat International)

Ray Bromley - Peru 1957-1977 John Turner (Habitat International)

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Habitat International 27 (2003) 271–292
Peru 1957–1977: How time and place influenced John Turner’sideas on housing policy
Ray Bromley*
Department of Geography and Planning, State University of New York at Albany, Arts & Sciences 224,Albany, NY 12222, USA
Received 27 August 2002; accepted 3 September 2002
Abstract
John F.C. Turner worked in Peru for several periods between 1957 and 1965, and he developed many of his ideas on aided self-help housing on the basis of his Peruvian experiences. His most famous publicationson housing policy, several of them co-authored with the American anthropologist William Mangin whoalso worked in Peru in the 1950s and 1960s, make extensive use of Peruvian examples. This paper describesPeru in the periods when Turner was there, and in the succeeding decade, pointing out distinctivecharacteristics of the country and its housing, and outlining the major housing policy debates which ragedamong Peruvians. Publishing in English in major international journals, Turner was able to draw onabundant Peruvian research, ideas and expertise, and to graphically present Peru’s urban squattersettlements (
barriadas
) to a global audience. The contrasting ideas of Fernando Bela
!
unde, Pedro Beltr
!
anand Carlos Delgado were particularly influential, leading to innovative government programs. Turner drewon all three of them to some degree, but found his own distinctive middle ground.
r
2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:
Aided self-help housing; John F.C. Turner; Fernando Bela
!
unde; Pedro Beltr
!
an; Carlos Delgado; Peru
1. Introduction
In a characteristically brief and modest self-description, John Turner presents himself asfollows:Born in London in 1927, I was schooled in England and trained as an architect. I have workedmainly in the field of housing. Reoriented by working with self-managing home and
*Tel.: +1-518-442-4766; fax: +1-518-442-4742.
E-mail address:
r.bromley@albany.edu (R. Bromley).0197-3975/03/$-see front matter
r
2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.PII: S 01 9 7- 39 7 5 ( 0 2) 00 0 49 - 8
 
neighbourhood builders in Peru (1957–65), I have learnt that what matters in housing are therelationships between people, activity and place. Before leaving South America, I prepared apublication and the script of a documentary film showing how much more people can do thancan be done for them, with so much less when free to decide and act for themselves.Opportunities followed to observe and interpret the same facts in other contexts.
1
Turner’s work in Peru, some of it in association with his first wife Catherine S. Turner, theBritish architect Patrick Crooke and the American anthropologist William Mangin, provided thebasis for a series of highly influential publications (e.g.Turner, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1968a,b;Turner, Turner, & Crooke, 1963;Mangin, 1963, 1971;Mangin & Turner, 1968, 1969). These publications, and textbook readers edited byMangin (1970)andTurner and Fichter (1972)drew so heavily on Peruvian cases that the ‘‘Turnerian vision’’ of urbanization, housing and community developmentin developing countries was in many senses derived from Peru.This article describes Peru over two decades, starting with the years when John Turner wasvisiting the country for extended periods (1957–1965) and continuing through to 1977, the yearwhen the most ambitious national community development program, known as
Sinamos
, wasdismantled.
2
Turner worked in Peru during a period of vigorous national debate about housingpolicy, community development and aided self-help, and this debate intensified after he left thecountry, and particularly during the military government of General Juan Velasco (1968–1975).Peru was not just a site for design and field observation by a visiting British architect. It was anexceptionally interesting centre of housing policy debate, with two contrasting schools of thoughtled by Fernando Bela
!
unde (1912–2002) and Pedro Beltr
!
an (1894–1979), and a third emergingschool, which was particularly identified with Carlos Delgado (1926–1980).
3
Contrasting views onhousing policy were linked to much broader debates on city planning, political ideology, and thenature of democracy.During numerous assignments in Peru between 1957 and 1965, Turner was able to observe andparticipate in those debates, and to study and advise several reconstruction and upgradingprojects in Peruvian shanty towns, usually known locally as
barriadas
. He had originally beeninvited to work in the southern city of Arequipa by Eduardo Neira, a young Peruvian architectwhom he had met at the International Congress of Modern Architects (CIAM) in Venice in 1950,who shared his interest in the ideas of Patrick Geddes, and who had studied planning at theUniversity of Liverpool. From 1953 till 1959, Neira served as Director of the Department of Urbanism in the Peruvian Ministry of Public Works, and he had been instrumental in establishingOATA, a pilot program to improve the physical condition of Arequipa’s
barriadas
.
4
Soon afterTurner joined the program, Arequipa was hit by a major earthquake in January 1958. In the
1
http://www.wtp.org/Talks/TurnerBio.html. August 8, 2002.
2
Ideas for this paper were developed during numerous visits and extended periods of work in Peru between 1970 and1998, including a period in 1981–1985 working as a USAID-sponsored advisor to the second Bela
!
unde Government. Iam especially grateful to the Fulbright Commission for a Senior Fellowship in Lima in 1997, and to the UNI andDESCO for hosting that stay.
3
In Peru most people use both their paternal and maternal surnames, but names can always be shortened to use onlythe paternal surname. The fuller names used in library catalogs (paternal surname underlined) are: Pedro G. Beltr
!
anEspantoso, Fernando Bela
!
unde Terry, and Carlos Delgado Olivera.
4
OATA’s full title was Oficina de Asistencia T
!
ecnica a las Urbanizaciones Populares de Arequipa. Eduardo Neira’srole and Turner’s experience in Arequipa are documented inChavez, Viloria, and Zipperer (2002)andTurner (1972).
R. Bromley / Habitat International 27 (2003) 271–292
272
 
aftermath of the earthquake, and with some support from national and international aid efforts,the Ministry of Public Works expanded its efforts in the city, and Turner advised and promotedself-help rebuilding efforts. In this effort, he was able to draw on the one major source of Spanish-language aided self-help manuals, the materials prepared in Puerto Rico from 1939 onwards aslocal housing and community development specialists developed innovative pilot projects andlinked up with US federal agencies to widen their application (Turner, 1972, p. 128;Spohn, 1972, pp. 22–23). The Puerto Rican experience had been closely observed and supported by Jacob L.Crane, who coined the term ‘‘aided self-help housing’’ around 1945 and who, as Head of theInternational Office of the US National Housing Administration (subsequently Housing andHome Finance Agency) from 1945 to 1954, promoted the concept to US officials andinternational development agencies (Harris, 1997).Building on his Arequipa experience and his growing network of contacts among Peruvianarchitects and planners, in the early 1960s, Turner worked in various technical assistance andresearch projects in Lima, the capital city. Some of the architects who worked with him in Limahave described him to the author as quite fluent in Spanish, creative, genuinely interested indiscussion and debate, and especially concerned with low-income housing and the
barriadas
.
5
Turner worked in Peru at a formative period in his career, and during an eventful period of worldand national history. Even though he was no longer a participant observer, events and debatesintensified in Peru after 1965, and analysis through to 1977 is vital to understanding the potentialsand limitations of different housing policies, and particularly the ‘‘aided self-help’approachwhich Turner and his co-authors so strongly recommended in their mid-1960s publications.
2. The peculiarities of Peru
There are many reasons why Peru has featured prominently in discussions on housing andurban development, and particularly in discussions on self-help housing in the developing world.John Turner and his co-authors made a major contribution to making the Peruvian case betterknown internationally, but even if they had not published their case studies and policy proposals,Peru would still be quite well known and frequently discussed. Academic and policy writing aboutPeru is widely read because the country is physically spectacular, has a rich history and naturalresources, and is one of the major nations of Latin America. Its principal language is Spanish, amajor world language, and it has deep-rooted intellectual and cultural traditions. The writings of Peruvian social scientists, architects, historians, novelists and political commentators areabundant and often excellent, providing a rich store of data and ideas which is readily availableto visiting researchers and consultants. In the global league table of developing countries, Peruoccupies an intermediate location: not high enough, like Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, to havehad genuine aspirations to developed country status; not low enough like Haiti, Afghanistan orChad, to acquire an aura of hopelessness. Numerous international flights are available to Lima,
5
I am especially grateful to Diego Robles and Nicholas Houghton for an interview in 1984, to Marcia Koth, ErnestoParedes, Carlos Williams, Eduardo G
!
omez de la Torre, Carlos Franco, Francisco Guerra, Julio Cotler, Carlos Reynaand Gustavo Riofr
!
ıo, for information provided in 1997, and to William Mangin for information provided during anextended interview in December 2001.
R. Bromley / Habitat International 27 (2003) 271–292
273

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