Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


In the years following UNESCO’s conferral of the World Heritage title to the historic zone of Valparaíso, the residential neighborhoods of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción underwent a drastic process of gentrification. Private investors hoping to profit from increased tourism flows pumped capital into the sector in the form of restaurants, cafes, and hotels. As result, residents were gradually expelled due to higher rent prices and an overall increase in cost of living.

The consequences of developing the city’s tourism infrastructure in these neighborhoods were not limited to gentrification; as the residential life of these neighborhoods was uprooted, so was their intangible cultural heritage. While the facades of buildings were manicured and architectural features preserved, the unique identity of the cerros departed. In the place of regional character crafted from centuries of immigrants settling in the area, a homogenous consumerism took hold. However, in comparison, the sector of Barrio Puerto, which also belongs to the historic zone, has yet to be deeply affected by Valparaíso’s burgeoning tourism industry. My investigation is an attempt to understand why.

The following document contains a journalistic exploration and academic analysis of the themes of gentrification and cultural heritage in context of the historic Barrio Puerto neighborhood of Valparaíso. By synthesizing scholarly sources and conducting interviews with experts and residents of the neighborhood, I have considered how these phenomenons interact in theory, as well as how they are manifested in the neighborhood today. In the appended news feature, realities of gentrification in Barrio Puerto are examined, and possible futures for the neighborhood and its heritage are considered.


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Tourism | Urban Studies and Planning | Work, Economy and Organizations


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