Shantytowns, Housing and State Order: The Plan de Emergencia in 1950s Argentina




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Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



In September 1955 in Argentina a coup d’état backed by a heterogeneous coalition of military and civil actors overthrew the elected government of Juan Domingo Perón and set out to profoundly alter most of his policies. One key aspect to be addressed was that of housing and, by extension, the role of shantytowns in the urban landscape. Indeed, after a decade of significant social and economic change, urban employment had grown faster than housing provision and shantytowns had expanded rapidly, gaining sudden visibility. This article analyses the 1956 Plan de Emergencia, the first shantytown eradication programme launched in Argentina, in order to uncover the conceptions of housing sustained by the state at a crucial historical juncture. It argues that the Plan re-cast earlier ideas about housing and planning, and updated them to a new political context. The article argues that such changes reflected several historical contradictions, for example, by recommending state-sponsored clearance alongside state withdrawal from housing funding. Furthermore, as the Plan intertwined local concerns with inter-American discussions, it engaged with emerging professional networks of the Cold War Americas and set a key antecedent for subsequent housing and urban plans during the 1960s and 1970s.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


Buenos Aires, eradication, housing, Plan de Emergencia, Revolución Libertadora, shantytowns, villas miseria


Massidda, A.L., (2020). Shantytowns, Housing and State Order: The Plan de Emergencia in 1950s Argentina. Planning Perspectives.


Research Institute

Institute of Architecture