Hoey Examines Success of Semi-Directed Land Reform in Bolivia

Hoey Examines Success of Semi-Directed Land Reform in Bolivia

Lesli Hoey, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, wrote an article addressing land reform in the online March 2016 edition of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, titled “No Monuments, No Heroes”: How Accidental Planners Established Bolivia’s Flagship Land Reform Project through Spatial, Facilitated and Adaptive Strategies.

In her research, Hoey both reviewed historical literature and conducted interviews to learn about a  project that was led in San Julian, Bolivia between 1972 and 1984, by what Hoey describes as “accidental planners.” This process differed from what had become known as “directed” land redistribution – where planners from national governments, the United Nations and other institutions completely controlled all aspects of new settlements – or “spontaneous” forms of land reform, where landless families established homesteads without government support.  The “semi-directed” effort Hoey studied successfully blended top-down and bottom-up approaches to land reform.

Hoey highlights three major factors that were crucial in this effort: a comprehensive training and orientation process, a spatial design that maximized social engagement, and an implementation process that intentionally built upon successive settler knowledge and experience. Community members were encouraged to take leadership throughout the process, building a strong sense that the settlement was led by the community, and not by outside “heroes.” Despite the apparent success of this land reform effort, Hoey notes that it hasn’t been used as a template for other, ongoing projects.  She encourages other land reform planners to use this and other case studies in furthering their practice.

For the full article, please go to:

Faculty: Lesli Hoey ,