Veronica Herrera | Slow Harms and Citizen Action: Environmental Degradation & Policy Change in Latin American Cities

Veronica Herrera

17/09/2020 12:00 am

5:30 pm

Video recording available!


Talk on Vimeo here:


Environmental harms have time horizons that differ across environmental policy arenas. Pollutant exposure typically involve slow moving, steady tempo events with long duration, and often become part of the everyday landscape. When and how do people mobilize around slow-moving harms in cities?

Based on extensive field research including 180 interviews, Dr. Herrera’s new book analyzes variant levels of slow harms mobilization in three contaminated urban river basins: Buenos Aires, Argentina (high); Bogotá, Colombia (moderate); Lima, Peru (weak). She argues that the presence of local activism and “embedded” policy entrepreneurs can lead to slow harms policy change. Policy entrepreneurs—both inside the state and in society—were most successful in achieving slow harms policy change when they were aligned with prior human rights movements that had successfully worked to end state sponsored political violence. Her findings suggest that historical legacies of pre-existing movements may matter most for changing environmental concern in weak institutional settings.


Veronica Herrera is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

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