Understanding Urban Development in Latin America

March 20, 2018

Quercus Group is collaborating with the Danish Embassies in Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile to identify the development challenges, business opportunities and key drivers of change in the world’s most urbanised region.


The City of Buenos Aires has developed the Roadmap BA 2027, a strategic 10-year plan for transforming the city’s infrastructure and the social cohesion of its 48 ‘barrios’, or neighbourhoods.


Latin America is home to almost 650 million people, 80 percent of whom live in cities. Rich in natural resources and highly valued export commodities, the region will become a reference point for how it manages economic growth without jeopardising the environment and people’s livelihoods. As the economic engines and main drivers of innovation as well as environmental problems, cities play a key role in this development story.


Through the Spring of 2018, Quercus Group will perform a study in Chile and Argentina to spotlight urban development challenges in Latin America, focusing on the capital cities Santiago and Buenos Aires and their surrounding areas. Chile is the most stable, least corrupt and most business-friendly market economy in the region and a vocal green growth advocate. The newly elected government is pushing Chile towards an energy grid that is 100% powered by renewable energy sources by 2040, and there are numerous regional efforts to improve urban transportation and liveability in the capital region and beyond. Similarly, Argentina is emerging as a pro-business economy with newly strengthened ties to the global economy and greater security for both citizens and investors. Lofty ambitions for renewable energy production as well as large infrastructure projects are on the table, e.g. to connect Gran Buenos Aires (the greater capital region) of some 9 million people by modernising the suburban railroads, while the City of Buenos Aires has created its first 10-year plan for sustainable urban development called the Roadmap BA 2027.


Santiago – the Chilean capital and surrounding area is home to more than 7 million people. The Regional Metropolitan Government is overhauling its public transportation systems and addressing urban development challenges through a number of strategic programmes.


However, the study will go beyond identifying just opportunities and barriers for trade, by zooming in on the number one driver for change – people. The human factor is decisive for Latin America’s cities, and the solution provider, whether Chilean, Argentinian or international, that can answer how their product or service will enhance the quality of life for citizens will have the ear of city governments and a competitive edge.


Through in-depth conversation with key stakeholders from the business sector, public authorities, academia and civil society (the quadruple-helix), the study will thus seek to identify cross-sectorial (as well as cross-border) models for bringing the most needed solutions in play where they have the biggest social, environmental and economic impact. Indeed, city governments must consider the social fabric and natural environment the main drivers for sustainable development and economic growth.



The study will be published in June 2018. For  any inquiries on Quercus Group's work in Latin America, contact Niels Utoft Andersen at niels@quercus-group.com






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