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The Conflation of Participatory Budgeting and Public–Private Partnerships in Porto Alegre, Brazil: The Construction of a Working‐Class Mall for Street Hawkers

The Conflation of Participatory Budgeting and Public–Private Partnerships in Porto Alegre, Brazil: The Construction of a Working‐Class Mall for Street Hawkers

This article addresses the political transition of Porto Alegre's Participatory Budget from a mechanism of restraining and managing some of the harshest manifestations of neoliberal urbanization to a promoter of profit-driven urban development. The most emblematic instance of the transition is the public–private partnership for the construction and management by a developer of a marketplace to relocate downtown street hawkers to an enclosed building. The article describes not only how the mayoŕs office was able to approve, as part of the downtown revitalization project, the relocation of street hawkers into a working-class popular shopping mall but also how the executive branch succeeded in transforming a public–private partnership into an elected participatory budget demand. Furthermore, I demonstrate how neoliberal programs of public–private partnerships undermine more redistributive participatory practices, such as the participatory budget, by combining their mechanisms with the older practices rather than eliminating the rival planning tool. This article provides an analysis of local class interests and strategies regarding the issue of street hawking in Porto Alegre by contrasting models of participatory planning. I argue that social classes with an investment in the urban question are key actors in developing hybrid models of neoliberal urbanization.

Author: Ana Paula Pimental Walker
Publication: Economic Anthropology Journal
Published: January 2015
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sea2.12023/full