THE SOCIAL ECOLOGY OF CALI, COLOMBIA
ERIC ARMIN WAGNER
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ERIC ARMIN WAGNER
FLORENCE AND ARMIN WAGNER
The writer wishes to express his deep appreciation
to the present chairman of his supervisory committee,
Dr. Joseph S. Vandiver, and to his former chairman, now at
the University of Alabama, Dr. Irving L. Webber. Without
their continuing interest and encouragement this project
might never have been completed. To them the writer owes a
great debt of gratitude.
Other members of the supervisory committee, Dr. T.
Lynn Smith, Dr. Ruth Albrecht, Dr. Walter Rosenbaum, and
Dr. Benjamin Gorman deserve the writer's appreciation for
their willingness to serve on his committee, and for their
Grateful acknowledgment is expressed to the
Rockefeller Foundation and the Center for Latin American
Studies of the University of Florida for the grant assistance
which made this project possible.
To his parents the writer owes thanks for their
constant encouragement to complete the project, and for their
providing such a pleasant place for the writing of the
dissertation. To his aunt, Gwen Edwards, and to Stephanie
Goldsberry, the writer owes thanks for help in typing.
Dr. Irving Webber's wife, Lois, helped the writer in many
ways while he was in Colombia. Others, including J. Selwyn
Hollingsworth, David Coombs, Lawrence Hlad, Hugh Bloemer,
and Robert Shelly, helped in many ways.
Last, and most importantly, the writer is obligated
to the many people in Cali who were generous with their
time, and always willing to help. Especially valuable were
the members of the Rojas family, and Mercelitas, to whom the
writer owes much.
Were it not for the support of all of these people,
the project could never have been realized. Yet the
responsibility for the project must remain with the writer
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. . . . . . . . .
LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . .
LIST OF FIGURES. . . . . . . . .
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . .
I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .
II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ON ECOLOGY. .
The "Classical" School of Urban Ecology.
Social Area Analysis . . . . .
The Ecology of the Latin American City .
III. PROCEDURES OF INVESTIGATION. . . .
Definition of the Problem. . . . .
Collection of the Data . . . . .
Field Schedule . . . . . .
Nature of the Data . . . . . .
Presentation and Interpretation of the
Data . . . . . . . . .
IV. CALI: FROM COLONIAL TOWN TO INDUSTRIAL
CITY . . . . . . . . .
The Growth of the City .. . ....
Cities in Colombia and Latin America .
Growing Industrialism--The Economic Base
of the City. . . . . . . .
. . iv
. . viii
. . xi
. . 18
. . 27
. . 39
. . 39
. . 42
. . 42
. . 46
. . 60
. . 62
. . 67
. . 73
* . 83
Topography and Transportation. .
Class Structure. . .
The Image of the City. .
V. THE ECOLOGY OF CALI. .
Land Use . . . .
Barrio Development: The
Growth of the City .
Density of the Barrios .
The Spatial Distribution
Socioeconomic Status .
The Spatial Distribution
The Structure of Cali. .
VI. CONCLUSIONS. . . .
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . . .
* . .
. . .
. . .
* . .
. . . . . . 93
* . .
. . .
. .t .
. . 89
LIST OF TABLES
1 Population Range of Cali Barrios Used in
Studying Residential Ecology ......... 51
2 Growth of Cali from 1793 to 1964 . . . .. 68
3 Population of Eleven Largest Municipios,
1905-1964. . . . . . . . ... 74
4 Growth of Cali in Relation to the Growth of
Colombia: 1938-1951, 1951-1964. . . .. 75
5 Primacy of Urban Structure: Four Regions of
Colombia, 1964 . . . . . . . . 79
6 Rank-Size Distribution of Colombian
Cities, 1964 . . . . . . . . 80
7 Urbanization of the Latin American
Population . . . . . . . . 83
8 Economically Active Population Engaged in
Industrial Activity, By Departments, 1964. . 90
9 Social Stratification in Cali, 1964. . . ... 94
10 Industrial Barrios in Cali, 1968 . . ... 107
11 Cali Barrios, Names, Estimated Percentage of
Land Use, and Socioeconomic Status, 1968 . 113
12 Percentage of Developed Land Devoted to
Various Uses, Cali, 1968 . . . . .. 116
13 Density of Barrios by Socioeconomic Status,
Cali, 1964 . . . . . . . .. 131
14 Mean Distance of Barrios From City Center, By
Mean Number of Family Members Per Barrio . 145
15 Members Per Family of Barrios by Socioeconomic
Status, Cali, 1964 . . . . . . . 147
16 Mean Distance of Barrios from City Center, By
Mean Family Units Per Housing Unit . . .. 148
17 Family Units Per Housing Unit of Barrios by
Socioeconomic Status, Call, 196:T .. .. 149
18 Barrios Bordered by Arterial Highways, By
Socioeconomic Status, Cali, 1968 . . .. 158
LIST OF FIGURES
1 Cali . . . . . . . . . . 100
2 Land Use in Call 1968 ....... . 102
3 Commercial Land Use in Cali Barrios 1968 . 103
4 The Growth of the Barrios of Cal. . . . 120
5 Density of Residential Barrios, Cali -
1964 . . . . . . . . .. 129
6 The Distribution of Residential Barrios by
Socioeconomic Status, Cali 1968. ... . 136
7 The Distribution of Residential Barrios
by Family Size, Cali 1964. . . . . 143
8 The Distribution of Residential Barrios by
Number of Families Per Housing Unit,
Cali 1964. . . . . . . . 144
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE SOCIAL ECOLOGY OF CALI, COLOMBIA
Eric Armin Wagner
Chairman: Joseph S. Vandiver
Major Department: Sociology
Urban social differentiation in Cali, Colombia, is
examined by use of elements of both "classical" ecology and
social area analysis. The barrios of the city are analyzed
in terms of population density, land use, socioeconomic
status, and family status, with maps showing the spatial
distribution of these variables. Housing is used as an
indicator of socioeconomic status, and mean number of family
members and number of family units per dwelling unit are
used as indicators of family status. These data were
derived from compilations of the Cali Municipal Planning
Office, the 1964 Colombian census, and a field survey of the
barrios of Cali during the 1967-1968 academic year.
A substantial degree of functional specialization in
land use was found, as evidenced by a clear and distinct
central commercial area and a rather sharply-defined
industrial area. At the same time, there were still a
number of traditional commercial functions scattered through-
out the city, leading to the conclusion that while the
commercial function was still in the process of changing
from a preindustrial to an industrial level of organization,
Cali was more an industrial than a preindustrial city.
While the density of the population of Call declined
from the center of the city to the periphery, level of socio-
economic status appeared to have a greater influence on
density than distance from city center. As a result, some
of the poorer peripheral areas of the city had higher
densities than more central areas. In this respect Cali was
more like non-Western than Western cities. At the same time,
central city densities in Cali are now declining, which is
more characteristic of Western than of non-Western cities.
Like the examination of land use, the examination of density
afforded a glimpse of a city in the process of change in its
The analysis of the spatial distribution of socio-
economic status and family status showed that socioeconomic
status varied sectorially and family status varied concen-
trically. This confirms the findings of previous studies in
social area analysis, and adds a Latin American example to
the widening body of research exploring the dimensions of
urban social differentiation.
The clear sectorization of socioeconomic status and
the concentric distribution of family status in Cali, indi-
cative of a rather pronounced level of urban differentiation,
is more characteristic of industrial than it is of pre-
industrial cities. Thus, while land use and density data
showed that Call does not totally conform to the character-
istics of industrial and Western cities, it is clear that
Call is much closer to these theoretical types than it is
to non-Western and preindustrial cities. If this were not
the case, then the differentiation of socioeconomic status
and family status areas would have been much less clearly
In theoretical terms, the shape of the city
described in this study conforms much more closely to the
sector hypothesis of Homer Hoyt than it does to the con-
centric zone theory of Ernest Burgess or the multiple nuclei
theory of Chauncey Harris and Edward Ullman.
Further research is needed before the findings of
this study can be applied to other cities in Latin America
and the developing world.
The internal structure of the city in Latin America
is poorly understood. Though a number of investigations of
this topic have been published, most indicate merely that
the traditional, plaza-centered structure of the city in
Latin America is changing in the direction of the North
American city pattern, where status rises as one goes from
the center toward the periphery of the city. The gross
generality of this finding seems much too inadequate for the
actual complexity of city structure that one finds in Latin
America. Further, this finding seems to be rather culture-
bound, implying that the "ideal" North American pattern of
city structure will be attained as Latin American societies
Through a fortuitous set of circumstances, the
author was afforded the opportunity to examine the structure
of a city in Latin America. Appointment as a graduate
assistant in the University of Florida--Universidad del
Valle Joint Project in History, Political Science, and
Sociology, supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Founda-
tion, enabled him to spend the 1967-1968 academic year in
Cali, Colombia. This position provided an opportunity to
gather data for an ecological study.
Cali is a rapidly growing, rapidly industrializing
city of more than six hundred thousand people in southern
Colombia. Though not the capital of the country, it is a
regional city of great importance, and is in the center of
one of the richest agricultural areas in the world, the
Cauca River Valley. Much of its growth has been very recent,
though the city was one of the earliest to be founded in
South America, in 1536. Thus its long colonial tradition,
and recent growing industrialization, make it an excellent
example of a fairly large Latin American city. Further, Cali
is the third largest city in the second most populous
Spanish-speaking nation of the South American continent. A
study of the ecology of a major city such as Cali can make
a basic contribution to our understanding of urbanization in
This study focuses upon residential aspects of the
internal structure of Cali. For all the residential barrios
of the city, socioeconomic status is examined by means of a
study of housing. A map of these barrios shows their spatial
distribution. The number of family members and family units
per housing unit, indicators of family status, are also
mapped for the residential barrios. These spatial distribu-
tions are then examined to determine the structural pattern
of the city. Do the higher status people live near the
center of the city, are they moving toward the periphery, or
is another, possibly more complex, explanation needed?
Supporting this focus on residential ecology are
data pertaining to urban land use, recent growth and density
of the barrios, and an examination of the effect of major
arterial streets on the location of upper-status residential
The results of this study certainly will not be the
basis for generalization about all the cities of Latin
America. Latin America, like other large areas of the
world, is an area of great diversity. Hopefully, the results
will lend themselves to comparison and conjunction with
other studies, and eventually help in the formulation of a
more general theory of residential differentiation for Latin
America. As of now, data are not adequate nor varied enough
to support such a general theory. The next stage in the
development of such a theory should be the undertaking of
several studies of the factorial ecology of Latin American
cities, to determine their basic social dimensions. Hope-
fully, these studies will take place in several cities
already studied by more traditional methods, so that
eventual comparisons among various types of studies may be
facilitated, adding meaningfulness to the more traditional
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ON ECOLOGY
The literature dealing with urban ecology is
enormous and varied. It would not be feasible even to list,
let alone to discuss, all of the sociological research in a
work of the present scope. Therefore, the approach will be
to trace the general development of the three aspects of
urban ecology which are of primary concern to this study:
(1) the "classical" school of urban ecology, focusing on
the concept of the "natural area"; (2) the more recent (post-
World War II) emphasis on social area analysis; (3) the
findings of those few studies which discuss the ecology of
the Latin American city. While disciplines other than
sociology, such as geography and anthropology, are becoming
involved in urban ecology, sociology moved first in this
area, and this study will draw primarily upon sociological
interpretations of urban ecology.
The "Classical" School of Urban Ecology
There is no one totally accepted "beginning" for the
"classical" school of urban ecology, though Americans gener-
ally consider the writings of Robert Park to have been the
foundation for this area of inquiry. But Park had his
precursors, and brief mention must be made of.them.
Among the earliest ecological studies were the
nineteenth-century studies of M. de Guerry de Champneuf in
France (Elmer, 1933: 63-70) and Henry Mayhew and Joseph
Fletcher in England (Levin and Lindesmith, 1961: 14-21).
M. de Champneuf studied the spatial distribution of crime,
relating the levels of crime to French departments (Elmer,
1933: 63-70). One of Mayhew's works, The Criminal Prisons
of London, included a shaded ecological map of London, show-
ing the density of the London population (Levin and
Lindesmith, 1961: 17). Fletcher's book,Summary of Moral
Statistics of England and Wales, was "centered around a
series of 12 ecological maps in the appendix of the volume
and an ecological map in the frontispiece colored to
represent what we might call 'natural areas' in England and
Wales" (Levin and Lindesmith, 1961: 19). Unfortunately for
the historical reputations of their authors, these empirical
studies were soon overshadowed by the social philosophizing
of Comte and Spencer, and were essentially forgotten by
later students of urban ecology.
Perhaps the most important of the precursors of
Robert Park was Charles Booth, whose monumental seventeen-
volume Life and Labour of the People in London had great
influence in late eighteenth-century England. This work
classified the people of London according to "social
condition," on the basis of class, space, and time, and
with divisions of "poverty," "industry," and "religious
influences" (Pfautz, 1967: 47-50). In the process of this
analysis Booth discussed several of the ideas which were
later to receive much attention by the Chicago school of
urban ecology, such as the centralization of urban functions
(Pfautz, 1967: 99-102), residential segregation and
succession (Pfautz, 1967: 90-96), concentric rings with dif-
ferent types of population (Pfautz, 1967: 54-55, 78-79),
and the "separation between place of residence and place of
work" (Pfautz, 1967: 106-107). Indeed Booth was a pre-
cursor of modern urban ecology, as Pfautz notes: ". . con-
tained in his classic survey are both theoretical and
methodological contributions that make it one of the prin-
cipal antecedents of the research methods and interests
informing the rise of an empirical sociology of the city in
America in the twenties . ." (Pfautz, 1967: 6).
Robert E. Park was certainly aware of Booth's work,
but did not seem to credit it with much of a contribution
beyond the descriptive level. "It was not, however, Booth's
statistics, but his realistic descriptions of the actual
life of the occupational classes . which made these
studies a memorable and permanent contribution to our know-
ledge of human nature and society" (Park, 1929: 46).
Robert Park was more a social theorist and less an
empiricist than Charles Booth. In fact, Park's writings
were relatively devoid of substantive research findings.
Park's students and colleagues at the University of Chicago
(such as Ernest Burgess, Louis Wirth, Harvey Zorbaugh, and
Nels Anderson) provided the substantive support for his
theorizing with a number of specific studies (Burgess, 1925;
Wirth, 1938; Zorbaugh, 1929; Anderson, 1923). But it was
Park's writing more than that of anyone else which was
instrumental in the establishment of the "Chicago school" of
In his now-classic essay, "The City: Suggestions
for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Envir-
onment," Park specified what he meant by human ecology:
There are forces at work within the limits of the urban
community--within the limits of any natural area of
human habitation, in fact--which tend to bring about an
orderly and typical grouping .of its population and
institutions. The science which seeks to isolate these
factors and to describe the typical constellations of
persons and institutions which the co-operation of these
forces produce, is what we call human, as distinguished
from plant and animal, ecology (Park, 1925: 1-2).
To isolate these factors at work within the natural areas of
the city, Park suggested that social scientists "study the
growth of cities, to compare the idiosyncrasies in the dis-
tributions of city populations" (Park, 1925: 6), discover
"the forces which tend to break up the tensions, interests,
and sentiments which give neighborhoods their individual
character" (Park, 1925: 8), and study the vocational types
that the division of labor of the city has produced (Park,
1925: 14). In addition to these factors, Park suggested
that urban ecologists study what he termed "the moral
It is inevitable that individuals who seek the same
forms of excitement, whether that excitement be furnished
by a horse race or by grand opera, should find themselves
from time to time in the same places. The result of
this is that in the organization which city life spon-
taneously assumes the population tends to segregate
itself, not merely in accordance with its interests, but
in accordance with its tastes or its temperaments. The
resulting distribution of the population is likely to be
quite different from that brought about by occupational
interests or economic conditions (Park, 1925: 43).
Roderick D. McKenzie, one of Park's earliest students
at the University of Chicago, expanded and refined many of
Park's ideas, and more clearly defined human ecology
as a study of the spatial and temporal relations of
human beings as affected by the selective, distributive,
and accommodative forces of the environment. Human
ecology is fundamentally interested in the effect of
position, in both time and space, upon human institutions
andfhuman behavior (McKenzie, 1968a: 4).
McKenzie also made a notable contribution of his own,
by introducing the concepts of ecological processes to show
the dynamic (or, as he termed it, "fluid") nature of urban
By ecological process is meant the tendency in time
toward special forms of spatial and sustenance group-
ings of the units comprising an ecological distribution.
There are five major ecological processes: concentra-
tion, centralization, segregation, invasion, succession
(McKenzie, 1968b: 23-24).
These dynamic processes of urban ecology were linked to
specific areas of the city, as exemplified by the process of
The general effect of the continuous processes of inva-
sions and accommodations is to give to the developed
community well-defined areas, each having its own
peculiar selective and cultural characteristics. Such
units of communal life may be termed "natural areas," or
formations, to use the term of the plant ecologist
(McKenzie, 1968a: 17).
Numerous as the ideas of Park and McKenzie were, it
remained for one of their colleagues to make the most
memorable contribution to the literature on urban ecology.
This is the well-known concentric zone theory of Ernest W.
Burgess. He hypothesized that "the expansion of the city
can best be illustrated, perhaps, by a series of concentric
circles, which may be numbered to designate both the suc-
cessive zones of urban extension and the types of areas dif-
ferentiated in the process of expansion" (Burgess, 1925:
50). At the center was the central business district,
surrounded by a zone in transition from residence to business
and light manufacturing. Beyond this was a zone of working-
men's homes, a residential zone, and finally a commuters'
zone (Burgess, 1925: 50-51). Burgess admitted this was an
ideal scheme which might not fit any city exactly (1925:
51-52), but believed it would be of great help in studying
the social organization of the city.
Indeed it was. Many studies, a few of which are
indicated below, made use of Burgess' theory. Shaw and
McKay (1931) studied juvenile delinquency in a number of
American cities, and found that juvenile delinquency declined
in each successive zone. White (1932) related crime and a
number of social factors, and found that these factors and
crime correlated closely with the zones. Ford (1950)
studied population succession in Chicago, and discovered
that each new immigrant group in Chicago pushed older immi-
grant groups farther from the center of the city. Kish
(1954) found that differentiation in metropolitan areas
decreases with distance from the center of the city, though
it does not decrease in a straight line.
Along with Park, McKenzie, and Burgess, Louis Wirth
had great influence in the Chicago school of urban sociology,
though he did not deal as directly with urban ecology as did
these other men. However, in "A Bibliography of the Urban
Community," which Wirth wrote for Park, Burgess, and
McKenzie's The City, he devoted a section to the ecological
organization of the city (Wirth, 1925: 187-195). In this
section he defined the ecological organization of the city
as "the spatial distribution of population and institutions
and the temporal sequence of structure and function following
from the operation of selective, distributive, and competi-
tive forces tending to produce typical results wherever they
are at work" (Wirth, 1925: 187). This appears to the
writer to be one of the most comprehensive definitions of
urban ecology to be offered by a member of the Chicago
school. Louis Wirth also reiterated the usefulness of the
concept of the natural area, and defined it.
Plant ecologists have been accustomed to use the
expression "natural area" to refer to well-defined
spatial units having their own peculiar characteristics.
In human ecology the term "natural area" is just as
applicable to groupings according to selective and cul-
tural characteristics (Wirth, 1925: 188).
Perhaps Louis Wirth's best-known contribution came
in his classic study of "Urbanism As a Way of Life" (1938).
In this article he delineated three highly useful variables.
"On the basis of the three variables, number, density of
settlement, and degree of heterogeneity, of the urban popu-
lation, it appears possible to explain the characteristics
of urban life and to account for the differences between
cities of various sizes and types" (Wirth, 1938: 18).
Although the "classical" school of urban ecology was
dominated by the Chicago urban sociologists, and especially
by Burgess' concentric zone theory, two other theories which
this writer would call "classical" are important. These are
Homer Hoyt's sector theory and Chauncey D. Harris and Edward
L. Ullman's multiple nuclei theory.
Hoyt's sector theory, or "sector hypothesis," as it
is often called, was presumably derived from the work of
Richard M. Hurd (1924). In his study, Hurd suggested that
urban growth involved two principles which operate at the
same time: central growth and axial growth. As the city
grew, it would spread outward from the center in all direc-
tions, or along transportation routes, such as water courses,
railroads, and turnpikes, forming a star shape (Hurd, 1924).
Homer Hoyt elaborated on these principles of Hurd by
studying rental data from a large number of American cities,
with special emphasis on high-rent areas. By tracing the
movement of high-rent areas, he was able to show how they
moved outwards along radial lines in distinct sectors of the
city. Hoyt felt that "the movement of the high-rent area is
in a certain sense the most important since it tends to pull
the growth of the entire city in the same direction" (Hoyt,
1939: 114), and deduced a number of hypotheses concerning
these high-rent areas:
1. High-grade residential growth tends to proceed from
the given point of origin either along established
lines of travel or toward another existing nucleus of
building or trade areas.
2. The zone of high rent tends toward high ground which
is free from risk of floods and to spread along lake,
bay, river, and ocean ports, where such waterfronts
are not used by industry.
3. High-rent residential districts tend to grow toward
the section of the city that has free open country
beyond the edges and away from "dead end" sections
which are prevented from expanding by natural or
4. The higher-priced residential neighborhood tends to
grow toward the homes of the community leaders.
5. Sometimes movement trends of office buildings, banks,
and stores pull the higher-priced residential neigh-
borhoods in the same general direction.
6. High-grade residential areas tend to develop along
the fastest existing transportation lines.
7. Deluxe apartment areas tend to be established near
the business centers in old established residential
8. The growth of high-rent neighborhoods continues in
the same direction for a long period of time.
9. High-rent neighborhoods do not skip about at random
in the process of movement--they follow a definite
path in one or more sectors of the city.
10. It is possible, under some conditions, for high-rent
areas to "double back," or return toward the center
of the city.
11. High-rent areas tend to be adjoined by medium-rent
areas, and sharp disjunctions in rental areas are not
frequent (Hoyt, as quoted in Thomlinson, 1969: 146-
Harris and Ullman's multiple nuclei theory is the
third and last "classical" theory of urban ecology that will
be presented here. Harris and Ullman argued that the multiple
functions of the city, such as commerce, industry, and
residence, would tend to develop separate centers, or nuclei.
Four factors were hypothesized to lead to the emergence of
nuclei: like activities tend to group together; some unlike
activities are incompatible; some activities require
specialized facilities; and some activities cannot afford
the high rents of the most desirable sites (Harris and
Ullman, 1945: 7-17).
Studies of "classical" urban ecology seem to have
centered around four factors, as described by Park.
It is the interaction of . four factors--(1) popula-
tion, (2) artifacts (technicological [sic] culture),
(3) custom and beliefs (non-material culture), and (4)
the natural resources that maintain at once the biotic
balance and the social equilibrium, when and where they
exist (Park, 1936: 15).
To simplify these propositions of Park, it seems to this
writer that the essential nature of urban ecology revolves
around two basic axes. One of these axes, areal analysis,
has been the focus of attention of "classical" ecologists.
The other axis, social organization, is the focus of social
area analysts and factorial ecologists, and will be dealt
with more extensively in the next section of this chapter.
The ecologist seeks to understand the dynamic relationship
between these basic axes and population categories. He wants
to explain how organization (sometimes referred to as the
division of labor) and areal environment are related.
Areal analysis, usually referred to by the term
"natural area," occupies a central position in urban ecology
and in this study. This emphasis grew out of the biological
foundations of urban ecology, in which breakdowns by area
were seen as evidence of environmental adaptation. This
adaptation was usually discussed in terms of competition and
the dynamic ecological processes introduced by McKenzie, and
previously elaborated upon in this study.
A major criticism directed at the "classical"
school of urban ecology has been that it placed too great
an emphasis on biological analogies and the economic deter-
minism of land values (Firey, 1947; Alihan, 1938; Firey,
1961). The subsocial biotic competitive nature of man
became a major focal point of this criticism. By starting
with the competitive biotic community of man ecologists are
forced to minimize or limit their attentions to society. As
Hollingshead puts it,
This type of reasoning assumed that man in society is
basically, ever and always, man the primordial animal.
Society and its concomitant culture are only excrescences,
not integral parts of the animal man (1947: 196).
This process of impersonal competition provides the main
framework of ecological structure with the interdependence
of individuals and groups termed "symbiotic" rather than
societal. However, as Alihan shows us, the two ecological
terms of community and society are so confused by ecologists
themselves that arbitrary distinction becomes meaningless
(Alihan, 1938: 18-49).
Another criticism of the "classical" school of
urban ecology has been stimulated by Firey's advocacy of
greater importance for social values such as sentiment and
symbolism (Firey, 1961).
It seems to this writer that "classical" ecologists
such as Park and Burgess were not just tied to a biological
determinism as exemplified by their emphasis on the idea of
competition, but did deal with cultural factors as well. At
the same time it is true that the role of cultural factors
received much less emphasis than perhaps should have been
the case. Clearly values do play an important part in ecolog-
ical differentiation, as numerous studies indicate
(Jonassen, 1961; Myers, 1961). But the relationship between
values and urban structure has not been clarified; values
may relate to a different aspect of the urban ecological
system than do such things as competition. However, there
seems no reason to believe that either of these approaches
("biological" competition or cultural values) ought to be
eliminated from the sphere of urban research. Certainly we
have few enough tools with which to work in the social
sciences, and there can be no doubt that the "classical"
school of urban ecology opened the door to a great deal of
knowledge about our urban areas. Much of what we know about
our cities today is based on ecological studies.1
The use of the concept of the "natural area" has
been subject to criticism. Hatt reports that many areas
turn out to be fictitiouslyy homogeneous and intensify the
gradient and natural area pattern; and this to the point of
'It is by no means certain that the "biological"
aspect of man's social nature should be treated secondarily,
or brushed aside. The field of human ethology within
sociology seems to be enjoying a resurgence of academic
interest, reflecting, perhaps, the remarkable rise in the
popularity of an ethological approach in the biological
almost creating a reality where none exists" (Hatt, 1961:
106). As a result he argues for a distinction "between
natural areas as logical, statistical constructs integrated
with a plan for research (or administration) and the con-
cept of natural areas as a series of spatial and social
factors which act as coercive influences upon all who inhabit
the geographically and culturally defined area" (Hatt, 1961:
107). Awareness of this distinction should help avoid the
reification of the concept of the natural area. Timms,
however, argues that concern with lack of areal homogeneity
is not the point.
The existence of differences within a census tract or
any other small area is only prejudicial to the use of
the area in ecological analysis if the differences
relate to the proportions of the population possessing
specified traits in major divisions of the area. The
criticisms of such writers as Hatt, Myers and Mabry,
constituted on the finding that census tracts contained
heterogeneous populations rather than homogeneous ones,
are believed to be misdirected (Timms, 1971: 42).
Timms presents one of the most persuasive arguments
for the use of natural areas that this writer has seen. By
reviewing a great deal of research on the city that has been
done in the last three or four decades, he shows that the
local area is a factor of great explanatory usefulness; more
specifically, the local area is the framework within which a
great deal of behavior occurs. Timms shows that "three
major sources of material are available for an analysis of
the relationship between residence and behavior: studies of
the association between propinquity and friendship, studies
concerned with explicating the socio-cultural factors
involved in deviant behavior, and studies concerned with the
relationship between area of residence and educational
experience" (Timms, 1971: 9). Some of the research
reviewed shows that "the frequency of.marriage decreases as
the distance between the two parties increases" (Timms,
1971: 13), the closer people are to each other, the more
friendship contacts they have (Timms, 1971: 10-12), "where
an adolescent lives will have a major effect on the chances
of his becoming delinquent" (Timms, 1971: 17), and that
most early personality development takes place in local
areas (Timms, 1971: 31-34). Robson also talks about the
. importance of the effects of the milieu on urban
social structure. .. No matter what the area, the
attitudes of individual families were more similar to
those prevailing around them than to those of their
"objective" social class. The area of residence is
therefore either a clue to or a determinant of these
attitudes (Robson, 1969: 244).
Timms sums up his review very neatly:
The consequences for human behaviour of residence in one
neighborhood rather than another are mediated by the net-
work of social relationships which connect the individual
with his family, with peer-groups, with voluntary
associations, and with a plethora of other groups. The
neighbourhood is important because so many of these
relationships depend on face-to-face contact and this
form of interaction is particularly sensitive to spatial
distance (Timms, 1971: 34).
It is the contention of this study that areal
analysis, through the use of the natural area, has an impor-
tant organizing and analytical function. It will play an
essential role in the present research.
Social Area Analysis
Criticisms of the "classical" school of urban
ecology, some of which were reviewed in the previous section
of this chapter, dominated urban sociology in the United
States during the pre-World War II and World War II period.
There were few new developments in the study of urban struc-
ture during this time. It was an era of consolidation,
refining what was known and filling in gaps in empirical
A major breakthrough in the study of urban structure
came in 1949, when Eshref Shevky and Marilyn Williams pub-
lished The Social Areas of Los Angeles: Analysis and
Typology (1949). Although not without criticism, this study
and a later one by Eshref Shevky and Wendell Bell, Social
Area Analysis: Theory, Illustrative Application and Compu-
tational Procedures (1955), which elaborated upon the theory
and methodology involved in social area analysis, stimulated
a great deal of research on the social structure of the city.
The dimensions and breadth of this breakthrough are still
not known in the early 1970s. New studies in social area
analysis (now often referred to as factoriall ecologies")
are being published regularly.
The major difference between "classical" ecologists
and social area analysts is that the former looked at the
way social organization was spatially evidenced in the city
while the latter examined the way that areal units were
situated in social space. As Shevky and Bell describe
social area analysis,
The urban typology of The Social Areas of Los Angeles
(1949) is a classificatory schema designed to categorize
census tract populations in terms of three basic fac-
tors--social rank, ubranization, and segregation. Each
census tract population was given three scores, one for
each of the indexes of the factors; and then the tract
populations with similar configurations of scores on the
three indexes were grouped together into larger units
called social areas (Shevky and Bell, 1961: 227).
Briefly, Shevky and Bell started by describing basic
aspects of modern society and the organizational trends that
are associated with these aspects. They then connected
organizational trends to structural changes in modern society,
which they "redefined as structural reflections of change to
serve as descriptive and analytic concepts for the study of
modern social structure" (Shevky and Bell, 1961: 227).
These structural reflections of change, used as factors, are
social rank (sometimes termed socioeconomic status), urban-
ization (sometimes termed family status), and segregation
(sometimes termed ethnic status). Census statistics were
then used to construct indexes for each of these factors
(Shevky and Bell, 1961: 227-229).
The authors claimed a number of uses for social
area analysis. Though early applications of the procedure
dealt with the census tract as the unit of analysis, it was
felt that whole cities could become the unit of analysis,
enhancing our knowledge of regional and even national
similarities and differences among cities. Being able to
define specific subareas of the city should aid the urban
planner and the social scientist. By use of the typology,
sociologists and others should be able to undertake compara-
tive studies of cities at one point in time, or test the
conditions of change at several points in time (Shevky and
Bell, 1961: 232-234). Finally, "in addition to its use as
a frame for the manipulation of available statistics such as
crime rates, suicide rates, and others, the typology can be
used as a frame for the design and execution of field
studies" (Shevky and Bell, 1961: 234).
This latter contention was elaborated upon by Bell
(1961) in a subsequent study. In examining social participa-
tion by type of neighborhood in San Francisco, he found that
by specifying social areas or neighborhoods, he could
generally account for differences in social isolation. Thus
"the Shevky method of analysis of census tract data provides
a frame within which detailed investigations of the social
relations in sub-communities within that city can be
designed and executed" (Bell, 1961: 251). Specifically,
Bell stated that "the typology can be used as a device for
the selection of neighborhoods for intensive study, . .
provides an integrative frame for urban sub-area field
studies through conceptual articulation and integration with
a large mass of ordered data . [and] is adapted to the
analysis of the combined or independent effect of personal
and unit characteristics on dependent variables" (Bell,
Social area analysis has been strongly criticized
by Amos Hawley and Otis Dudley Duncan (1957). Their
criticism centers around what they feel is the lack of an
adequate theoretical base for characterizing social differ-
entiation. They argue that Shevky and Bell do not answer
the question of why residential areas within cities should
differ from one another, and argue that the Shevky and Bell
"efforts at 'construct formation' . look suspiciously
like an ex post facto rationalization for their choice of
indexes . ." (Hawleyand Duncan, 1957: 339). In addition,
Duncan (1955) questions the empirical validity of the indexes
of social rank, urbanization, and segregation. Interest-
ingly, other scholars do not seem to have joined in Hawley
and Duncan's criticism, or to have advanced criticism of
their own. Researchers from other disciplines seem to have
been even more favorably inclined toward social area analysis
than sociologists (Tiebout, 1958; Timms, 1965).
Many researchers used social area analysis as
described by Shevky and Bell to study the city. Anderson
and Egeland (1961) studied Indianapolis, Indiana, Syracuse,
New York, and Akron and Dayton, Ohio, to determine the
spatial aspects of social area analysis. They discovered
that economic status is generally sectorially distributed
while family status is distributed concentrically (Anderson
and Egeland, 1961: 392-398). McElrath, in a study of Rome,
found that economic status and family status were distributed
both concentrically and sectorially, with large families of
low economic status occupying the outer edges of the metrop-
olis (McElrath, 1962). Several studies examined the gen-
erality of the Shevky indexes, to see if they were valid and
if they could be used with success in cities other than Los
Angeles and San Francisco. Van Arsdol, Camilleri, and
Schmid, in a study of ten large American cities, discovered
that "at least three factors were necessary to account for
census tract variation in each of the ten cities studied .
the Shevky indexes appear to have high generality for the
cities of this study" (Van Arsdol, Camilleri, and Schmid,
1961: 239). Anderson and Bean (1961) replicated the Van
Arsdol, Camilleri, and Schmid factor analysis of the var-
iables of the Shevky-Bell social areas in Toledo, Ohio, and
showed that four rather than three major dimensions may be
extracted. Specifically, while it was found that the social
rank factor loaded highly on occupation and education, and
the segregation factor loaded heavily on Negroes, double-
occupancy, and crowding, the original urbanization-family
status factor should be broken down into two factors.
Urbanization (or housing characteristics) loads most heavily
on owner-occupancy and multifamily dwelling units, and family
characteristics loads most heavily on the fertility ratio,
females in the labor force, and double occupancy (Anderson
and Bean, 1961: 119-124).
The real importance of the Van Arsdol, Camilleri,
and Schmid study and the Anderson and Bean study lies in
their application of the techniques of factor analysis to
the seven variables used in social area analysis by Shevky
and Bell and other census variables. As described by
The principal concern of factor analysis is the resolu-
tion of a set of variables linearly in terms of (usually)
a small number of categories or "factors." This reso-
lution can be accomplished by the analysis of the corre-
lations among the variables. A satisfactory solution
will yield factors which convey all the essential
information of the original set of variables. Thus, the
chief aim is to obtain scientific parsimony or economy
of description (Harman, quoted in Timms, 1971: 47-48).
These studies of factor analysis led to a number of additional
researches, which became known as factoriall ecologies."
Factorial ecology is "the application of factor analysis to
data describing the residential differentiation of the
population" (Timms, 1971: 54).
Probably the best review of the findings of factorial
ecologies to date is Philip Rees' chapter in Berry's City
Classification Handbook: Methods and Applications (Rees,
1972). Here some thirty-five factorial ecologies were sum-
marized and compared, and the three factors used in social
area analysis (social rank, urbanization, and segregation)
were generally found to be basic, although several other
factors, such as residential mobility, the degree of recent
immigration, and urban growth, were found in a number of
studies (Rees, 1972: 286-287). Timms, who also reviewed a
number of factorial ecologies, emerged with essentially the
. in the various studies of factorial ecology the
most striking feature . is the general consistency
of the findings. The manifold variation of sub-area
populations within the great majority of the cities so
far analysed appears to be reflection of no more than
three or four underlying dimensions of differentiation.
A factor interpreted as socio-economic status or social
rank appears to be effectively universal.; ~set of
Factors which index differences in the family types
characteristic of the population is also generally appar-
ent. Factors relating to the ethnic composition of the
population and to its mobility characteristics occur
rather less frequently, but 1 tiTl sufTiciently often to
warrant their inclusion as general differentiating
dimensions. Although specific factors relating to the
peculiar characteristics of the populations concerned
may occur in any city, the basic pattern is organized
around a small number of dimensions (Timms, 1971: 55).
Thus it seems clear that three or four basic factors differ-
entiate among areas of the city--at least in Western
Unfortunately, little is known about the factorial
ecology of cities in relatively unindustrialized countries.
The only examples available are those of Calcutta (Berry and
Rees, 1969) and Cairo (Abu-Lughod, 1969). There are no
known published studies of the factorial ecology of a Latin
American city, though there is apparently a Brazilian study
in preparation (Rees, 1972: 283).
In the study of the factorial ecology of Calcutta,
it was found that one of the factors, a land use and familism
gradient, "is the direct equivalent of the Shevky-Bell urban-
ization (family status) dimension" (Berry and Rees, 1969:
489). Nine other factors were also discovered (two tradi-
tional commercial communities, substantial residential areas,
2With the exceptions of Cairo, Egypt, and Calcutta,
India, the factorial ecologies examined by Rees and Timms
were of Western industrial cities.
literacy, Muslim concentrations, and four special land-use
configurations) (Berry and Rees, 1969: 470-481). These
other factors led to the conclusion that "socioeconomic
status and minority group membership are linked," making
ethnicity more important than socioeconomic status "in
defining the social dimensions within which choices are made"
(Berry and Rees, 1969: 490).
the findings . reveal that alongside . rich
ethnic variability . Calcutta is also characterized
by a broadly concentric pattern of familism, an axial
arrangement of areas according to degree of literacy,
and both substantial and increasing geographic special-
ization of areas in business and residential land uses,
gradually replacing the former mixture of businesses and
residences that were separated, rather, into occupational
quarters. This mixture of preindustrial and industrial
ecologies thus lends support to the idea that the city
is in some transitional developmental stage (Berry and
Rees, 1969: 469).
Abu-Lughod found three main factors in her factorial
ecology of Cairo--style of life, male dominance, and social
disorganization (Abu-Lughod, 1969: 205-207). These were
not the three basic factors of social rank, urbanization,
and segregation postulated by Shevky and Bell. However,
Abu-Lughod's style of life factor did include both social
rank and urbanization variables. This factor, "while
clearly representing socio-economic status, also includes
many variables indicative of family life, suggesting that it
is to be interpreted as a 'style of life' vector in which
class and family patterns are inextricably linked" (Abu-
Lughod, 1969: 205). This link between class and family
characteristics she attributed to the "scale" of the society,
whereby "the pattern of social (and physical) differentia-
tion in preindustrial societies (cities) would be relatively
simple and perhaps virtually unidimensional; as the scale of
society increased, there would be increased complexity of
differentiation and a separation of the axes or dimensions
of differentiation"3 (Abu-Lughod, 1969: 199).
Rees, after reviewing the studies of Cairo and
Calcutta, concluded that "it was abundantly clear even from
two studies that the factorial ecology of non-Western cities
was very different from that of Western cities but capable
nevertheless of being examined within the same framework"
(Rees, 1972: 296). It should be stressed, however, that
the studies of Cairo and Calcutta both accounted for a sub-
stantial proportion of urban social differentiation on the
basis of family status and socioeconomic status. In Calcutta,
family status was a specific factor, while socioeconomic
status was tied to ethnicity. In Cairo, family status and
socioeconomic status were combined in a style-of-life fac-
tor. Thus it seems that socioeconomic status and family
status are major determinants of urban social structure in
both Western and non-Western societies.
One other general conclusion can be drawn from a
review of studies of social area analysis. It appears that
3This theory of scale, in hazy form, Abu-Lughod
attributes to Eshref Shevky and Wendell Bell, Social Area
Analysis: Theory, Illustrative Application and Computa-
tional Procedures (1955).
socioeconomic status varies sectorially, family status
varies concentrically, and ethnic status shows a tendency to
cluster in particular parts of the city. Thus it may be
said that the "classical" models of urban ecology (Burgess'
concentric zone theory, Hoyt's sector theory, and Firey's
"sentiment and symbolism" approach) were each capturing a
basic dimension of urban social differentiation.4
The Ecology of the Latin American City
Neither a factorial ecology nor a social area
analysis (sensu stricto5 of a Latin American city has yet
been published. What we know about the internal structure
and social differentiation of the city in Latin America
comes from a few descriptive studies based on the "classical"
theories of urban ecology. However, Schnore points out that
most of these descriptive studies were not originally under-
taken to study the ecology of the city, but came about as a
"byproduct" of other studies (Schnore, 1965). From the
historical standpoint this paucity of research is surprising,
4This conclusion has been tentatively reached by
Berry and Rees (1969: 459) and Anderson and Egeland (1961:
5Rees defines social area analysis (sensu strict)
as "the type of analysis proposed by Shevky and outlined in
Shevky and Bell (1955). Some seven census variables are
used to construct three indices: social rank (economic
status), urbanization (family status), and segregation
(ethnic status). The terms in parentheses are Bell's, the
preceding terms Shevky's" (Rees, 1972: 324).
since Latin America has such a long and rich urban tradition.
From the methodological standpoint it is not so surprising,
since data on subareas of the city in Latin America are
exceedingly difficult to obtain.
Though neither the Aztec nor the Inca was an urban
civilization, both had cities of some size., This city tra-
dition, coupled with the Spanish proclivity to found cities,
led to an emphasis on the city in colonial Spanish America.
This emphasis was certainly not urbanization, but did lead
to a city-directed and controlled society, and indeed a
city-oriented society. As Gakenheimer points out, this
orientation affected both Spaniards and Indians.
There is evidence that arriving Spaniards expected to be,
and insisted upon being, city dwellers. . a person
attracted to America by the promise of great opportunity
was not apt to isolate himself, by becoming a country
This attitude of the Spanish population was complemented
by that of the Indians, for a special aspect of Inca
culture was its amenability to urban living. . the
complex social and economic organization which character-
ized the Inca Empire and the rigid social controls
exerted on the population made adjustments to urban life
fairly easy for the Indians (Gakenheimer, 1967: 35-36).
Jorge E. Hardoy provides a succinct outline of the
stages involved in urbanization in Latin America. The first
is "the precolonial urban culture of the Aztecs and Incas,"
which provided the basis for the second stage, "the deter-
mination by the Spanish of the territorial pattern of founda-
tion, on the basis of the regional and urban infrastructure
of the indigenous culture and the distribution of the
Indian population" (Beyer, 1967: 57-58). The third stage
was virtually completed by 1580, when "the Spanish and
Portuguese [had] established the essential settlement pat-
tern of Latin America" (Beyer, 1967: 58). Next was "a
period of consolidating colonial institutions and establish-
ing the structure of colonial society," which lasted nearly
two hundred years, until the fifth stage of great European
immigration, which reached Latin America about 1880 (Beyer,
1967: 60-61). In the sixth and last stage, which we are
living in, rural groups poured from the countryside into the
city (Beyer, 1967: 62).
Though it is not the intention to discuss the urban-
ization process in Latin America here, it has been useful to
point out Hardoy's parameters of urbanization, because it is
these parameters that have had great effect on the ultimate
structure of Latin American cities. Specifically, the early
laying out and planning of colonial cities, the coming of
the early Spaniards (and thus the landholders) to the city,
the coming of the indigenous people to the city, and the
building of the social structure and organization on the
basis of the city all had lasting effects upon the internal
structure and the residential differentiation of Latin
The earliest study of the internal structure of a
Latin American city was Hansen's description of Merida (1934).
Writing in the 1930s, his most important finding was that
Merida, capital of the Yucatan, was beginning to change from
its traditional pattern of highest status groups in the
center and lowest on the periphery of the city, to a North
American pattern, where status increased as one went out-
ward from the center toward the periphery. Yet the tradi-
tional pattern was still very dominant.
In general, status declines with distance from the
center. As the periphery of the city is approached the
ratio of thatched houses becomes higher, rents are
lower, and individuals wearing the traditional costume
of the lower class are seen more frequently (Hansen,
This traditional pattern in Latin America is closely
associated with the "plaza plan" of colonial Spanish towns.
In these towns the social and geographic center of the city
was an open square, which generally was surrounded by a
cathedral, a city hall, and possibly another governmental
building or two. Adjacent to these was the market and a few
commercial enterprises, and the homes of the more important
personages. As one went further outward from the plaza,
social status declined. This structural organization was
composed of blocks which were usually laid out in a grid
The next studies were those undertaken by Hayner in
Mexico City and Oaxaca. He chose these two cities to
illustrate contrasts between the "old" colonial Mexico and
the "new" modern Mexico. In Oaxaca he found that the "old"
patterns still persisted.
In the cities of Mexico . the better homes were in
the past characteristically located near the central
plaza, and the least desirable areas were on the per-
iphery. Oaxaca still exhibits this plaza-centered
structure (Hayner, 1944: 91).
In Mexico City Hayner found that the original plaza-centered
structure (which he felt was similar to Hansen's description
of Merida) was breaking down, with many of the better homes
moving toward the periphery. This movement he attributed to
increasing industrialization and commercialization; he felt
it was leading in the direction of the typical North
American city structure, where the traditional pattern of
status declining from the center of the city was reversed.
"One wonders whether under the influence of increasing popu-
lation and modern means of communication and transportation,
all other large Latin-American cities are assuming an
ecological pattern similar to that of cities in the United
States" (Hayner, 1945: 295-304). In a related study
supporting the findings for Mexico City, Hayner found that
crime generally decreased as one went outward from the
center of the city. -At the same time, the four worst slums,
all of which were new, were on the periphery (Hayner, 1946:
428-438). Thus while the upper class has left the center of
Mexico City for the periphery, many elements of the tradi-
tional ecological structure persist in the face of
Though ecological studies generally deal with fairly
large cities, there is evidence both pro and con that the
traditional pattern may be found in smaller communities as
well. In San Luis Jilotopeque (Guatemala) Gillin found that
the ladinos, and thus the better residences, clustered
around the plaza (Gillin, 1945: 1-14). In Pichataro (an
Indian village in Mexico) Stanislawski found the opposite.
The anatomy of the town indicates its difference from
Hispanic settlements. There is far less concentration
of activities. . There is little difference in
quality between a house on or near the plaza and a house'
at the outskirts. In fact, the two chief officials of
town at the time that this inquiry was made lived at one
extreme corner of the village. They both agreed that
one place was as good as another for one's home
(Stanislawski, 1961: 350-351).
This provides some evidence for the supposition that a dif-
ferentiated ecological structure does not exist unless there
is a heterogeneous population (as is generally true in a
city). In San Luis Jilotopeque there was class heterogeneity;
in Pichataro there was homogeneity.
The Hawthorns, who lived in Sucre, Bolivia, in 1941-
1942, investigated the internal structure of that city in
connection with a study of social stratification. They
found that high-status residences were clustered near the
center of the city, and low-status residences were on the
Sucre's social classification of itself recognizes very
clearly this distribution of residences and holds them
to be symbols of social ranking. Whoever occupies a
permanent town residence well away from the plaza--as
far away as four blocks--is breaking a prime social rule
for membership in the top social ranks and needs to be
certain of his secure place. In general, suburbio
retains the meaning of the lower class area; the middle
and upper class development of the suburbs has not pro-
ceeded as far as in the majority of Latin American
cities (Hawthorn and Hawthorn, 1948a: 23).
Leonard, studying La Paz, Bolivia, emerged with
conclusions strikingly similar to those of the Hawthorns.
He too found the more desirable residential areas surrounded
the plaza, though a few upper-status families had moved to
the periphery. Most of the Indian population was "along a
fringe of settlement just outside the city limits where they
build their own, inexpensive, mud or adobe huts .. ."
(Leonard, 1948: 454).
Caplow's analysis of Guatemala City is one of the
most interesting of Latin American studies, because he pre-
sents the reader with rich historical data to show how the
ecological processes worked to bring about the city structure
(Caplow, 1949). Visiting Guatemala City in 1948, Caplow
found old maps and descriptions of the city which enabled
him to trace its evolution in some detail. Thus he was able
to show that the tradition of urban planning and the control
of growth were supported by
the legal and later customary restrictions on the
residence of the indigenous population. Their location
on the periphery of the city or even in communities
apart from the city was gradually transformed from a
strategic administrative policy to a time-honored
custom. Similarly, the attachment of the upper class
population to the center of the community arose from the
planned location of the ruling group in colonial times
. (Caplow, 1949: 129).
Yet, for all the varied sources which he used, Caplow
emerged with essentially the same conclusions as previous
investigators of Latin American ecology. In Guatemala City
"the poorest and the least prosperous segments of the popu-
lation are located peripherally," and "there is only one
area of markedly poor housing within two kilometres of the
commercial center" (Caplow, 1949: 125). This physical
structure is reflected in the social organization of the
city, as public health problem areas "form almost a contin-
uous border around the city," and "the percentage of non-
attendance among children of school age rises consistently
as one moves out toward the urban periphery" (Caplow, 1949:
The Dotsons' study of Guadalajara (1954) is of
particular relevance because their methodology is similar to
that to be used in this research. Housing in all residential
areas of the city was rated by direct observation. "Out of
this experience came the conviction that five types of
housing, sufficiently distinct to be differentiated quickly
by external appearance, exist in this city" (Dotson and
Dotson, 1954: 369). Class I consisted of modern upper-
income houses, class II were colonial upper-income houses,
class III were colonial and small modern middle-income
houses, class IV were lower-middle and working-class houses,
and class V were the "dwellings of the very poor" (Dotson
and Dotson, 1954: 369). An index of residential telephones
was also used, to support the housing classification. Both
methods uncovered approximately the same patterns of
residential housing areas, which the authors felt had three
(1) The housing near the commercial center is good,
although most of it is certainly not the best in the
(2) The best housing forms a sector running westward
from the center to the edge of the city.
(3) Except for this first-class sector, the city is
completely surrounded by a fringe--of greatly varying
depth, to be sure--of housing of the poorest quality
(Dotson and Dotson, 1954: 370).
Thus the authors concluded that "modern Guadalajara conforms
neither to the traditional Spanish American nor to the North
American ecological pattern" (Dotson and Dotson, 1954: 372).
In his review of most of the aforementioned studies,
Schnore pointed out that they contained strikingly similar
(1) All of the authors comment on the existence of the
"traditional" or "colonial" pattern, in which higher-
status groups tend to be found near the center.
(2) In every case, however, this pattern is reported to
be in one or another stage of "breakdown."
(3) There is an apparent tendency for all of the cities
--in Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala--to shift in the
general direction of "the North American pattern"
(Schnore, 1965: 358).
Their similarities notwithstanding, Schnore felt these
studies of cities in Latin America neither confirmed nor
denied the Burgess hypothesis, "simply because the necessary
controls are lacking and because so many relevant items of
information are missing" (Schnore, 1965: 376).
Though his study contains many useful ideas, and an
excellent review of the methodological and theoretical
problems involved in ecological studies, it appears that
Schnore has failed to take account of a surprisingly similar
finding of the studies. This finding is the uniform way in
which upper-class residential areas move to the periphery;
they do not seem to move directly from the center to the
periphery, but rather move outward gradually from the center
in a particular area, or sector, of the city. As a result,
the periphery of these cities is not becoming upper class.
Only one segment of the periphery may be tending toward
upper-class residence. Witness the findings of some of the
various studies. In M6rida, Hansen found the "invasion of
Santa Ana by upper-class persons from the center" (Hansen,
1941: 31). (Santa Ana is a barrio in the northern part of
M6rida.) In Sucre, the Hawthorns found that "An estimated
ten percent of exceptions to the rule that upper and middle-
class houses stand near the plaza include a group of houses,
newer than most buildings in the city, which stand separately
in an area well away from the center, near a park" (Hawthorn
and Hawthorn, 1948a: 22-23). In La Paz, Leonard found that
"with the increase in number of privately owned automobiles
and better public transportation, the white, and upper
class, families are moving on down the valley, where they
can secure more space as well as escape" (Leonard, 1948:
454). In Guatemala City, Caplow reports that "the develop-
ment of the last half-century has followed the plan of an
expanded center trailing suburbs in one direction . ."
(Caplow, 1949: 124). As reported previously, in Guadalajara
the Dotsons found "the best housing forms a sector running
westward from the center to the edge of the city" (Dotson
and Dotson, 1954: 370).
Another line of evidence is available to show that a
shift toward the North American pattern of higher status
residences on the periphery may be misleading. This is a
phenomenon well known to all students of the city in Latin
America; it is the pervasiveness of the squatter settlement.
In Brazil it is called favela; in Argentina, banda de
miseria; in Peru, barriada. In Colombia it is tugurio.
But whatever the name, its characteristics are the same:
It is the rudest kind of slum, clustering like a dirty
beehive around the edges of any principal city in Latin
America (Schulman, 1966: 30).
Clearly, peripheral slums do not conform to the North
American concentric zone pattern. Just as clearly, there
are upper-status residential areas moving to the periphery.
This does not mean, however, as some of the studies men-
tioned have implied, that these upper-status areas will
eventually replace the slums on the periphery. The current
rapid growth of these slum areas indicates that they are
likely to be with us for a long time, and will not be
readily displaced. As a result, a theory of residential
differentiation that gives only a part of the periphery to
upper-status residences seems to be called for.
Though it does not provide such a theory, one recent
study does agree with this interpretation, and calls for a
modification of existing theory: ". . it is suggested
that a refinement of the model (of inverse-concentric
circles and its reverse) is called for, that previous studies
bear re-examination, and that future studies ought to be
conceived in terms of the modification reported here"
(Pefialosa, 1967: 229). This study of three small cities
in the Mexican state of Guanajuato showed that
families of higher socioeconomic status are found
primarily along arterials and importantly but to a some-
what lesser extent, in the vicinity of the plaza. The
more industrialized the city, the more dispersed are the
residences of the rich and comfortable from the central
plaza (Pefalosa, 1967: 226).
As in other Latin American studies, the better residences
move to the periphery in specific areas. To tentatively
explain this movement, Penalosa emphasized the importance of
accessibility to the center of the city, and the key function
played by major arterial streets in providing this access-
It seems quite plausible that the concept of arterial
accessibility may play an important role in the patterning
of residences in Latin American cities. In the next chapter
we shall be looking at this and other factors as possible
determinants of the shape of residential distribution in a
Latin American city.
PROCEDURES OF INVESTIGATION
Definition of the Problem
It is from what is here perceived as the complemen-
tary nature of trends in the three areas reviewed in the
last chapter (the "classical" school of urban ecology,
social area analysis, and the ecology of the city in Latin
America) that the methodology for this study is derived.
"Classical" ecology tells us that the dynamic processes of
concentration, centralization, segregation, invasion, and
succession gave us well-defined areas of the city, often
termed "natural areas." These "natural areas" are the unit
of analysis of "classical" ecologists, and have an important
organizing and analytical function for any study of city
structure; these "natural areas" look at the way social
organization is spatially evidenced in the city.
From social area analysis, we find that "natural
areas" are distributed through the city in certain patterns
because of the way in which population characteristics are
distributed. Specifically, the social space in which these
areal units ("natural areas") are distributed seems based
upon the dimensions of socioeconomic status, family status,
and ethnic status; these dimensions seem to be the major
determinants of urban social structure.
While "classical" ecologists see "natural areas" as
the means by which to investigate city organization, social
area analysts see the dimensions of socioeconomic status,
family status, and ethnic status as the means by which to
investigate city organization. These two approaches study
the city from different directions. One starts with the
areas, and groups the areas to show patterns of organization.
The other starts from the opposite side, and examines dimen-
sions of organization, to be able to group areas. If this
reasoning is correct, both approaches should add to our
understanding of the structure of the city.
The implication of this reasoning for the study of
Latin American cities is that one should be able to find the
same general patterns of city structure that have been found
by the "classical" approach by using a social area analysis
approach. That is, while previous students of the structure
of Latin American cities have used natural areas to show
patterns of organization, a study examining dimensions of
organization ought to emerge with comparable results. Carry-
ing this logic one step further, it also seems that one
could use aspects of both of these approaches, and expect
results comparable to previous studies. In other words,
areal analysis and social organization both have important
organizing and analytical functions, and it is important to
understand the dynamic relationship between these two axes
of urban ecology. This is what is planned for this study,
in the context of a description of Call, Colombia.
The research reported here is an ecological examina-
tion of the residential areas of Call, Colombia. This
research is based upon the author's field work in Cali, and
is reported through the use of elements of both "classical"
ecology and social area analysis, in the widest sense of the
Data are assembled on the basis of the "barrio unit,"
which is somewhat analogous to the census tract in the United
States. The central thrust of the research is the mapping of
an indicator of socioeconomic status on a barrio basis, and
two indicators of family status on a barrio basis. Ethnic
status is not examined in this study, because data are not
available. Housing is employed as an indicator of socio-
economic status. Number of family members and family units
per housing unit are employed as indicators of family status.
Supporting the central thrust of the research are
related data. Types of land use (residential, commercial,
industrial, public-institutional) are mapped for the city of
Cali. Population density data are also presented. Finally,
the relationship of housing areas to major arterial streets
in the city is examined.
Collection of the Data
Collection of the data was accomplished during the
author's residence in Cali, from September, 1967, to June,
1968. The data come basically from two sources. Population'
and family data by barrio come from excellent compilations
by the statistical section of the Cali Municipal Planning
Office (Oficina de Planeaci6n Municipal, Secci6n Estadistica).
These data are based upon the 1964 Colombian census. Hous-
ing and land use data come from a field survey by the author
of the one hundred and fifty-seven barrios of Cali. In this
survey, information on terrain, natural features and divi-
sions, land use, functions focused in the barrio, historical
information, and public amenities (such as streets, side-
walks, sewers, electricity, and water) were amassed.
Detailed information on housing was also collected, includ-
ing such things as size and type of house, maintenance,
building material, presence of maids, yard decoration, type
of flooring, and observable family belongings such as cars
and television antennas. The field schedule for the Cali
ecological study follows.
Terrain: Level Sloping Hilly_ On Steep
Slope On Ridge
Natural Divisions: (describe) (such as rivers, major high-
Barrio Bordered by: (describe) (other barrios; farm land;
Historical Background of Barrio; Origin; Has it been
Planned; Is it a Legal or an Invasion Barrio
Land Use: Commercial: 50-100% 10-50%
2-10% Very Slight
Industrial: 50-100% 10-50%
2-10% Very Slight
Residential: 75-100% 50-75%
Functions Focused in Barrio: (describe) (bus "terminals,"
and number of bus lines serving the barrio; university;
sports area; markets; parks; a community building, or a
meeting place for the junta communal; etc.)
Sanitary Facilities: Water: Private, in Homes
Public Don't Know
Sanitary Sewers: Yes No
Open Ditches for Sewage Observable:
Privies Observable: Yes
Health Centers: Private Public None
Drugstores: Observed No Observed
Electricity: Observed Not Observed
Telephones in Barrio: Yes No Don't
Sidewalks: 95-100% 50-95% 10-50% 1-10%
Streets: Paved: Good Fair Poor
Gravel: Good Fair Poor
Dirt: Good Fair Poor
Residence: (where possible, in percentages)
House Type: Modern Colonial "Stucco"
Houses Not Completed
House Sizes: Very Large Large Medium
Small Very Small
Maintenance: Excellent Good Fair Poor
Building Material: Ornamental Stone or Brick Pebbles
in Stucco Stucco Bamboo
Cardboard Wood Other
Yard Decoration: Shrubbery, Flowers, Lawn Extensive
Some A Very Small Bit of
Maids Observable: Yes No
Front Room Used For Sleeping: Yes No
Floors: Hardwoods Tile Cement Gravel
Observable Family Belongings: TV Antennas
In addition to this systematic data collection, two
other sources of information were used. One of these
sources was hundreds of highly informal chats with various
barrio residents. By supplementing the statistical data
concerning housing characteristics, they were helpful in
determining the classification of the socioeconomic status
of each barrio.
The other source of information was personal contacts
of the author with residents of Cali. Particularly useful
were acquaintances derived from the exceptionally considerate
and congenial middle-class Colombian family with whom he
lived. This family made it possible for the author to visit,
often repeatedly, the homes of their friends and relatives
throughout the city. This informal visiting, often to the
poorer parts of the city, coupled with the folk anecdotes
which were constantly related, led to a much greater under-
standing of the city than a field survey, by itself, could
possibly have afforded.
Nature of the Data
The basic unit of analysis involved in the study of
Call, Colombia, is the barrio. Although the term barrio is
often used in Latin America to mean "neighborhood," it is
more properly viewed as a geographic administrative unit of
the city. As a geographic unit, the barrio has generally
been given a name for either historical or administrative
purposes. The older barrios of Call, a few of which go back
nearly to the founding of the city in 1536, were often named
after the churches which were located there. Examples of
this are San Pedro, El Calvario, San Pascual, and San Bosco.
Some of the newer barrios were named after the housing
developments that were built in them, such as Unidad
Venezolana and Prados del Norte-La Merced (popularly known
as Vipasa). Other barrio names reflect the informal terms
used by the residents of the barrio, such as Popular, Uni6n
Vivienda Popular, and Obrero, or were named after various
personages, such as Jorge Isaacs, Marco Fidel Suarez, Sim6n
Bolivar, Alfonso L6pez, and Lleras Camargo. Obviously,
there is great variety in the sources of names for the
People were almost universally aware of the barrio
in which they lived. This was especially true of the poorer
classes; for them, the barrio served as an extended neigh-
borhood. This is important for this study, because it
indicates that the barrio is more than an administrative-
statistical construct and plays a role in the social organ-
ization of the city.
This role can be seen at least partly from the
social division of the barrios of the city into barrios
populares and barrios residenciales. The distinction between
the two is basically economic. Popular barrios are poor,
and residential barrios are fairly well-off, but there are
exceptions, and it is not clear to which group some barrios
belong. A popular barrio has an Acci6n Comunal, which is a
junta elected by the people of the barrio to present the
needs of the barrio (such as street paving, water, etc.) to
the City Planning Office. The juntas also undertake various
projects in the barrios, such as landscaping an open plaza,
or helping barrio residents hit by a catastrophe. Over one
hundred barrios in Cali have such juntas.
It might still be objected that using the barrio as
the basic unit is "arbitrary," and that the difference
between one barrio and another is simply an artifact of
drawing random lines. However, from a practical standpoint,
this is all we have; this is the smallest breakdown of data
that is available. From a theoretical standpoint, the
objection seems probably less valid than similar objections
that have been raised about the use of the census tract in
the United States. In the United States, most census tracts
were drawn several decades ago. With the growth of the
city, and the movement of the population, these tracts have
in many cases come to be less homogeneous than they were
when they were first drawn. In Cali, much of the growth
of the city has been more recent; it grew from a population
of 284,186 in 1951 to a population of 637,929 in 1964. Thus
many of the barrios in the city are new. The boundary lines
of these new barrios almost always were drawn on the basis
of homogeneous areas, according to conversations with staff
members of the Cali Municipal Planning Office; observation
confirmed this homogeneity. Though there were some excep-
tions (mainly in the commercial center of the city), it
seemed to this observer that the older barrios in the city
also exhibited striking internal residential homogeneity.
At the time of the field work there were one
hundred and fifty-seven barrios in the city for which data
were collected, but not all of them are residential. Some
are composed entirely of institutions, such as the main
public hospital and the air force base. Others have such a
small population that their inclusion would be meaningless.
For example, barrio Paso-Ancho had a 1964 population of one!
The population range among the barrios is unfortunately
large, ranging from less than one hundred to more than
twenty-eight thousand for barrio Alfonso L6pez.
For most of the purposes of this study, two types
of barrios included in the field survey and in the statis-
tical compilation of data by the Municipal Planning Office
will be eliminated.1 The first type consists of specialized,
'For a very few of the eliminated barrios included
in the statistical compilation of data by the Cali Municipal
Planning Office, data were incomplete.
generally nonresidential barrios. These include the water
reservoir, a municipal park, railroad repair yards, an air
force base, the water aqueduct and plant, the main prison, a
psychiatric hospital, army barracks and base, a cemetery, a
country club, a sugar mill and fields, the university
(Universidad del Valle) and the university hospital, a
women's prison, and a race track (horse races). There are
twelve such specialized barrios. Although a number of other
barrios were heavily commercial or industrial, in every case
they contained a sizable residential population as well, and
therefore will be included in the study of residential
The second type of eliminated barrio consists of
"rural-oriented" areas that have recently been included in
the statistics for the city of Cali. There are fourteen of
these barrios. None has a population in excess of eight
hundred, and all but two have a population of less than
three hundred. These barrios were eliminated because it was
felt they were not representative of urban social structure,
but of rural social structure; their inclusion could have
seriously biased findings oriented to urban residential
differentiation. In the field work, it was patently obvious
that these people were not oriented to the city. Virtually
all of them were engaged in agricultural occupations, and
had lived there for a long time. The rapid growth of the
city boundaries, which often extended far beyond the area of
settlement, had simply included much of the rural hinterland.
Many of the people, in fact, denied that they were
connected in any way to the city of Cali.
One well-known author of a number of studies of
urban ecology has pointed out the dangers of including rural
areas in studies of urban structure. In an examination of
theoretical and methodological implications of his compara-
tive studies of Boston and Helsinki, Frank Sweetser
the evidence is not entirely clear, but it is at least
highly suggestive, and it leads to one practical con-
clusion--that in the delimitation of metropolitan com-
munities for factorial ecological analysis, careful
attention ought to be paid to the outer boundaries
chosen. Boundaries too narrow--geographically constric-
tive city limits, for example--may produce distortion
through an overemphasis on the inner city mode of dif-
ferentiation. Boundaries too wide--extended metropolitan
regions, for example--may introduce unwanted effects of
the rural-urban mode of differentiation (Sweetser, 1969:
This study is not a factorial ecological analysis, but it
appears the principle is the same. Our examination of
indicators of socioeconomic status and family status would
almost certainly be affected by a rural-urban mode of dif-
ferentiation. To include these rural areas would have meant
including a new dimension that would have been difficult, if
not impossible, to control in this study.
With the elimination of the twelve specialized
barrios and the fourteen rural barrios, there remain one
hundred and thirty-one barrios upon which the study of the
residential ecology of Cali will be based. The population
distribution of these remaining barrios is given in Table 1.
POPULATION RANGE OF CALI BARRIOS USED
IN STUDYING RESIDENTIAL ECOLOGY
Population Number of
0 999 16
1000 2999 43
3000 4999 29
5000 9999 29
10000 14999 8
15000 19999 4
20000 29999 2
As related earlier, the central thrust of the
investigation is to study the effect of socioeconomic status
and family status on the residential differentiation of the
city. Having established the rationale for using the barrio
as the basic unit of analysis, and having delineated the
universe of barrios, we turn now to a consideration of
socioeconomic status and family status, and the indicators
used in measuring these.
The main indicator used to measure socioeconomic
status is housing; the use of one basic indicator for such
an important dimension of urban differentiation requires
both explanation and justification. In their theoretical
elaboration of social area analysis, Shevky and Bell used
nine types of sample statistics to measure the social rank
(socioeconomic status) construct. These were years of
schooling, employment status, class of worker, major
occupation group, value of home, rent by dwelling unit,
plumbing and repair, persons per room, and heating and
refrigeration (Shevky and Bell, 1961: 228). For our study,
systematic education and occupation data by barrio were not
available, and there was no way in which we could system-
atically include these variables in a measure of socio-
economic status. Likewise specific barrio-by-barrio data
for value of home, rent by dwelling unit, plumbing and
repair, persons per room, and heating and refrigeration
could not be obtained. Very early in the study, however, it
became apparent that a barrio-by-barrio field survey of
housing could include most of the important aspects of this
latter group of five sample statistics, and thus allow the
construction of a typology of barrios by socioeconomic
The field survey was oriented to the construction of
this typology. The classification scheme ranged from one to
six, with one being the highest and six being the lowest.
After a survey of each barrio, a number in this socioeconomic
classification was assigned to it. A one meant that the
barrio was well-to-do, being upper class. A two meant the
barrio was well off, though clearly not so much so as the
one barrios; these barrios were comprised mainly of the
middle class. A three referred to a lower-middle-class
barrio, where the people were clearly above the working
class, but not very well off. A four referred to the stable
working-class barrio which was somewhat more secure and
established than the bulk of the working-class barrios. The
poor but usually-employed working class, who lived on the
margins of real poverty, lived in barrios which were classed
five. These were the most prevalent barrios in the city.
The desperately poor, who had to struggle each day just to
survive, lived in barrios classed as six. These were the
slum barrios often referred to as tugurios.
There was surprisingly little difficulty in differ-
entiating among these classifications. Perhaps because of
living in the city for more than five months before the
field survey was undertaken, and thus having acquired great
familiarity with housing types within the city, it was
usually quite clear to which category a barrio belonged,
once the field survey of each barrio had been completed.
This categorization was supported by on-the-spot observations
of electricity, sidewalks, sewage systems, internal plumb-
ing, and the factors included in the field schedule.
The six-fold classification was chosen because it
seemed the clearest to the author, and because it afforded a
check on the reliability of the field-survey data. The Call
Municipal Planning Office had previously classified all the
barrios of Cali according to "RS" status, which ranged from
one to six, with one being the highest and six being the
lowest. "RS" referred to socioeconomic status, and was
composed of such indicators as water, sewage, type of house
construction, paved streets, transportation, education,
health, culture, green zones, and community juntas (Oficina
de Planeaci6n Municipal, "Estratificaci6n Socio-Econ6mica
S. ," n.d.; Oficina de Planeaci6n Municipal, "Distribuci6n
de la Poblaci6n . .," n.d.). These indicators were
assigned point values (0, 5, or 10), and the classifications
were delineated on the basis of point totals. (Unfortunately,
some of these data were missing, which made it impossible to
use these data directly.) When the results of the field
survey were compared with this classification, the similar-
ities were striking. Of the one hundred and thirty-one
barrios to be used in the examination of residential
ecology, only sixteen were classified differently by the two
methods, and in not a single instance was the difference
greater than one.2 Of these sixteen barrios, thirteen were
classified lower and three higher. The reason for this
deviation, generally, was the tendency for a few extremes to
differentially weight the RS rankings of the Call Municipal
Planning Office. In a few cases the difference was a result
of different time periods; the Municipal Planning Office
data were gathered several years prior to the field survey.
In the field survey, it should be noted that the
general housing characteristics used to classify the barrios
according to socioeconomic status were supported by much
informal data on such things as education, occupation, and
2It should be noted that not all of the one hundred
and thirty-one barrios had been classified by the Municipal
Planning Office. Data were unavailable for eight of these
income obtained through informal chats with barrio resi-
dents. This should give additional validity to the six-
fold classification of barrios by socioeconomic status based
on the general criterion of housing.
A question of somewhat greater importance is whether
the use of housing is valid as a measure of socioeconomic
status, or, put another way, whether one can discriminate
among socioeconomic status levels on the basis of external
Caplow, in his study of the ecology of Guatemala
City, discussed this as an important factor, and did not
feel housing could be used in this way.
While location near the center remained an important
element of status, it is striking that the use of hous-
ing itself as a form of conspicuous display or as a
means of social mobility was inhibited by a number of
characteristics in the Spanish colonial housing pattern.
Both the climate and the culture helped to maintain the
interior privacy of the dwelling which turned a blank
wall or barred windows toward the street. This, added
to the one-story limitation, accounts for the curious
fact that even today it is sometimes impossible to dis-
tinguish between the four-room marginal slum dwelling in
a built-up area and the twenty-room palace which may be
next to it, by their external appearance (Caplow, 1949:
Perhaps Guatemala City is different from the rest of
Latin America, though this seems highly doubtful. Excepting
this possibility, one wonders how a trained observer with
much experience in Latin America could arrive at Caplow's
conclusion. Richard Morse, one of the outstanding experts
on the city in Latin America, and especially the colonial
Latin American city, holds views diametrically opposed to
those of Caplow. In one of his brilliant reviews of recent
research on Latin American urbanization, Morse talks of
Latin America as an area "where conspicuous consumption
motivates the upper class" (Morse, 1969: 498), where "For
many observers urban shanty towns are the most spectacular
visible hallmark of the social composition of a Latin
American city (though the mansions of the rich run them a
close second)" (Morse, 1969: 488). Whiteford, in talking
about the upper class in Queretaro, Mexico, noted that "A
large house was one of the most important symbols of social
position" (Whiteford, 1964: 69-70). In Popayan, Colombia,
Whiteford implied that external appearance also distinguished
lower class homes.
In Popayan, as in Queretaro, .they [the lower classes]
lived in crowded, inadequate, unsanitary rooms scattered
throughout the city, or were concentrated in various
undesirable areas on its peripheries. In the Barrio
Alfonso L6pez Viejo . houses were small, poorly
built, and almost totally without utilities. Most of
them were built of unplastered, unpainted adobe blocks
and, of 240 houses, 116 had only one window, and 65 had
no windows at all; 134 had no running water, 188 had no
toilets, and 191 consisted of three small rooms or less
(Whiteford, as quoted in Smith, 1967: 367).
In the Dotsons' study of Guadalajara, Mexico, which was
commented on previously in this study, they came to the
"conviction that five types of housing, sufficiently dis-
tinct to be differentiated quickly by external appearance,
exist in this city" (Dotson and Dotson, 1954: 369).
Faris, in reviewing the work of urban ecologists in
the United States, noted that
S. a strong connection exists between urban
ecological research and the study of socio-economic
differentiation which has been in so great vogue in
recent years. The schematic zones of the city do
describe variations of social class levels almost as
well as any other factor, except perhaps for the var-
iable of education. Some scales devised to measure
social differentiation in fact employ area of residence
as one of the variables (Faris, 1967: 63).
In sum, the position taken by Caplow seems to have
little support. The preponderant weight of evidence seems
to be that housing is a reflection of socioeconomic status.
Thus the socioeconomic status of city areas (e.g., barrios)
can be delineated on the basis of the external appearance of
Housing having been justified as a valid indicator
of socioeconomic status, our attention turns to a considera-
tion of the indicators used to measure family status. Shevky
and Bell used four types of sample statistics to measure the
urbanization (family status) construct: age and sex, owner
or tenant, house structure, and persons in household (Shevky
and Bell, 1961: 228). These broke down to a fertility
score, a women-in-the-labor-force score, and a single-
family-detached-dwelling-units score (Shevky and Bell, 1961:
Fertility data and women-in-the-labor-force data,
by barrio, are not available for the city of Cali. However,
data pertaining to the number of family members, by barrio,
are available. These data, though not the functional
equivalent of fertility, should also measure "differentiation
of function," one of the key postulates concerning industrial
society posited by Shevky and Bell (1961: 228). In addi-
tion, data giving number of family units per housing unit
by barrio are available; these data are similar to Shevky
and Bell's single-family-detached-dwelling-units score.
All data for the indicators used to measure family
status were obtained from the Cali Municipal Planning Office
and are based on the 1964 Colombian census results (Oficina
de Planeaci6n Municipal, "Distribuci6n de la Poblaci6n . ."
n.d.). Data are available for all of the one hundred and
thirty-one barrios included in the study of the residential
ecology of Cali.
Lack of data measuring the participation of women in
the labor force, a basic aspect of the Shevky-Bell urbaniza-
tion (family status) construct for which data are not
available, may not be serious. This is because, first, the
participation of women in the labor force is generally not a
highly significant factor until a city reaches some advanced
stage of industrial maturity, which Cali has not yet reached,
and second, Latin America has a very low level of labor
force participation by women. As Abu-Lughod points out in
her examination of the theory of social area analysis, "The
proportion of females in the labor force does not relate
closely to variations in family types in those societies
where the over-all proportion is either very high or very
low" (Abu-Lughod, 1969: 202). She suggests the use of sub-
stitute measures in cross-cultural applications of social
area analysis. One of these measures is average family size,
which we are using in this study (number of family members)
(Abu-Lughod, 1969: 202-203).
Data relating to the growth of the barrios and their
density are used to support the discussions of socioeconomic
status and family status. These data, obtained from the Cali
Municipal Planning Office, are based on the 1951 and the 1964
Colombian censuses (Oficina de Planeaci6n Municipal, "Com-
parativo Por Sectores . ."). Also supporting the dis-
cussion of socioeconomic status and family status are data
relating to the distribution of various land uses in the
city of Cali. These data were obtained through the field
Finally, information concerning major arterial
streets will be offered, on the assumption that residential
location in Latin American cities is and has been determined,
at least in part, on the basis of the accessibility of
transportation. Smith and McMahan make this explicit.
One who has visited South American cities can hardly
have failed to notice that the worst slums frequently
are on the very outskirts of the communities and that
Rio de Janeiro's favelas, the miserable quarters in
which a large share of the Negroes live, are spread over
the hills which overlook the city. Such observations
suggest that the availability and cost of transportation
are basic factors in determining the ecological pattern
of any city.
The abundance of rapid, cheap, and convenient transpor-
tation, and especially.the automobile, seems largely
responsible for the fact that in [North] American cities
generally the most undesirable residential districts are
those nearest the center, whereas the most desirable are
at the greatest distance from the downtown areas. On
the other hand, in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Lima,
and other such cities, where the automobile is still a
luxury, residences of the least privileged classes are
relegated to the more remote sections (Smith and
McMahan, as quoted in Schnore, 1965: 381).
Presentation and Interpretation of
This study is essentially descriptive. Data per-
taining to density, growth, land use, socioeconomic status,
and family status are mapped. Mapping has been chosen as
the method of data presentation because it seems the most
comprehensive and the easiest to understand. Tables are
used as a supplementary method of data presentation whenever
they seem appropriate.
Several approaches are used in interpreting the
results. The first, and most important, is a "common sense"
approach, whereby the various maps are examined carefully to
see if any obvious patterns or configurations appear.
The second approach is inspired by that used by
Anderson and Egeland (1961) in their study of the spatial
aspects of social area analysis. Barrios of the city are
marked off, ranging from the center to the periphery, and
are examined for differences in family status. Details of
the procedure are presented when it is utilized.
The third and final approach is to determine if
barrios of high socioeconomic status show a greater relation
to major arterial streets than do barrios of low socio-
economic status. The procedure adopted here, to be
explained when it is used, is inspired by the Peialosa study
This study makes no claims to methodological
innovation, and indeed does not wish to do so. In an area
of the world where patterns of residential differentiation,
other than "traditional" patterns, are essentially unknown,
it seems wise to use methodological tools that have already
been used in other areas, such as the United States, if we
are going to have much hope of comparing our results to
those studies. Further, studies which are "one-of-a-kind"
usually add very little to the generation of basic theory,
which ought to be part of the long-range hope of most
research. In sum, in this study we do not wish to confuse
findings of content with findings of method.
Before we can meaningfully present the findings of
content, a comprehensive picture of the city with which we
are working must be drawn. It is to this task that we turn
in the next chapter.
CALI: FROM COLONIAL TOWN TO
Shortly after the conquest of Peru, one of Pizarro's
lieutenants, Don Sebastian de Belalcdzar, marched north from
Peru to explore what is today Ecuador and southern Colombia.
He established cities as he went, and upon his arrival in
the Cauca Valley in Colombia in 1536 founded the city of
At this .time the broad Cauca Valley was heavily
populated with Indian villages. Because of the fierce
nature of these Indians, they fought the Spanish, and
through war and subsequent famine were virtually exter-
minated (Cieza de Le6n, 1864: 93-97). This explains why
Cali, virtually from its inception, had so few Indians. Yet
the city was apparently named after these Indians, as Smith
notes that "the Indians of the Cauca Valley were the Lili or
Cali" (Smith, 1970: .67).
The Spaniards who first settled in Cali appear to
have been Castilians (Smith, 1970: 70). Bringing with them
a Spanish culture which had been involved with "appropriating
lands reconquered from Islam" (Morse, 1969: 475), they
divided the lands and devoted themselves to cattle raising
rather than to intensive tillage of the soil. "Less than a
generation sufficed for the Spaniards to convert the once
intensively tilled bottom lands [of Indian times] into . .
pastures" (Smith, 1967: 66).
Unlike many of today's largest Latin American
cities, which early acquired political importance, Cali was
completely overshadowed by Popayan, about seventy miles to
the south, and it long remained a minor town in the social,
economic, and political sense. Cali did not emerge as a
major Latin American city until the twentieth century.
During the colonial period, all of the important affairs
were handled by Popayan. It was Popay&n which became "the
-capital of an intendencia which stretched from Ecuador to
the Caribbean . ." (Whiteford, 1964: 9), and it was
Popayan which was granted a charter and a coat of arms, and
became "the seat of a university, and an important center in
the hierarchy of the church" (Whiteford, 1964: 10).
Throughout the colonial period, Cali was of very
secondary importance to Popaydn, and was not much more
"important" than several other small towns in the Cauca
Valley, such as Buga, Cartago, Anserma, and Tulua. Indeed,
much of the colonial history of Cali is replete with the
economic and political marginality of the town, with refer-
ences to commercial decline (ca. 1580) (Arboleda, I, 1956:
92), economic prostration (ca. 1618) (Arboleda, I, 1956:
167), litigation over boundaries with neighboring towns,
such as Buga (ca. 1668-1680) (Arboleda, I, 1956: 283, 304),
the economic difficulty of the city because of "la
decadencia de la ganaderia" (ca. 1690) (Arboleda, I, 1956:
317), which was a repeated theme (ca. 1753) (Arboleda, II,
1956: 82-83), "La ganaderia iba siempre en desmedro," (ca.
1754) (Arboleda, II, 1956: 265), restriction of municipal
autonomy (ca. 1739) (Arboleda, II, 1956: 113-114), prohibi-
tion of foreign commerce (ca. 1745) (Arboleda, II, 1956:
121), economic depression (ca. 1770) (Arboleda, II, 1956:
360), the prohibition against sending cattle beyond municipal
boundaries (ca. 1788) (Arboleda, III, 1956: 66-67), and a
boundary dispute with Cartage (ca. 1791) (Arboleda, III,
1956: 109). Taken together, these references give a pic-
ture of a colonial town that was important only in its local
area, and not in the wider region. Concern was devoted
almost exclusively to local matters, and it was not until
the 1800's, with the outbreak of the cry for independence,
that Cali began to assume some regional importance, when the
city demanded the division of the province dominated by
Popayan, and hosted a meeting of representatives from cities
in the area for this purpose (Arboleda, III, 1956: 285-310).
Cali early rebelled against the Spanish, while Popayan was a
Spanish stronghold. "On the outbreak of the independence
war Buga, Cartago, Caloto, Toro, and Anserma were all quick
to join Cali in a 6-city federation to challenge the power
of absentee Spanish landlords" (Friedel and Jimenez, 1971:
While it is clearly impossible to ascribe the
transformation from a town to a large city to a single
factor, or a single set of factors, it does appear that the
regional leadership exercised by Call during the Indepen-
dence period, along with its support for the lessening of
Popay6n's sphere of influence, led to Cali's clear emergence,
in the early 1800's, as a "first among equals" of the cities
in the Cauca Valley region. This was a formative period in
Colombia's history as a nation, for "the warfare that
characterized the Spanish American Independence movements
was of such intensity and duration (1810-28) that it could
not help but affect the societies of the nations involved"
(Maingot, 1969: 297). At the same time that Cali was
achieving this local predominance, Popayan was in decline, a
decline that took place throughout the nineteenth century,
though it was perhaps most pronounced in the middle of the
century, when Popayan's vast territories were divided. As
As Popaydn . was divested of its richer lands, which
became part of the wealth of new or neighboring states,
its fortunes declined drastically. Its rich and fertile
valleys became the state of Valle del Cauca, its mines,
which once supported the aristocracy in a life of royal
wealth, passed to the states of Narifo and Antioquia,
and even its mountainous southerly regions of unexplored
but potential riches were turned over to the state of
Huila. Popayan was left to rule a decimated state,
small in size, and composed principally of rolling hills
and unexplored mountains. The shock of loss, the feel-
ing of impoverishment . led to a paralysis, an
inactivity, which deterred and impeded the full and
active exploitation and development of those resources
and potentialities which did remain. The result was
stagnation. . Increasingly, [Popayan] became
isolated . and traffic with the outside world
dwindled at the very time when other cities were
expanding their commerce and increasing their relation-
ships with other regions and other nations. Popayan was
superseded by Call as the principal city of southern
Colombia . (Whiteford, 1964: 11-12).
Colombia is a country of extreme regionalism, and
each of the main regions seems to focus on an important
Today at least four principal regions are significant in
terms of population and resources. Each also has a
major urban center. These regions are: the eastern
cordillera, centered on Bogota; the department of
Antioquia and its southern extension, Caldas, centered
on Medellin; the Valle del Cauca in southwestern Colombia,
formerly focused on Popayan, now on the economically and
demographically burgeoning Cali; and the Atlantic
coastal region, once with Cartagena as its principal
city, but with Barranquilla now dominant (Dix, 1967: 21).
Thus Popayan's decline left a socioeconomic void in southern
Colombia, a void that Cali began to fill.
Yet regional leadership alone cannot account for
Cali's development as an industrial city. Other factors,
such as a rich agricultural hinterland, la violencia, which
drove many southern Colombians from their rural homes to the
safety of the cities, the port of Buenaventura and the
development of Cali as a transportation nucleus, and foreign
investment must surely have been important. Another factor
contributing to Cali's eventual rapid urbanization is that
"Valle was more 'urbanized' and unified than most regions
because many of its 16th-century village nuclei had sur-
vived . ." (Friedel and Jimenez, 1971: 67). One factor
that has probably not been important in Cali's rise to
prominence is the Catholic Church. Unlike many large Latin
American cities, Cali was not a religious center of impor-
tance, and only in 1964 was it made an archdiocese.
The Growth of the City
The reconstruction of the demographic history of Cali
is difficult. There are no census figures for the first two
hundred and fifty years of its existence, and figures for
all except the 1938, 1951, and 1964 censuses leave much to
be desired. Of course, even the 1938, 1951, and 1964
censuses have shortcomings, though they become progressively
better. Those figures that are available are given in
This table shows that, at the outbreak of the Wars
of Independence in the early nineteenth century, Cali was
still a relatively small city which grew very slowly for
nearly a century. With the exception of the 1840s, when
"Cali's growth spurt . seems explainable by an influx of
freed slaves and the Cauca tobacco boom" (Friedel and
Jimenez, 1971: 67), the average annual growth rate until
1893 was considerably less than one per cent. From 1893 to
1905, Cali grew rapidly, at an average growth rate of nearly
seven per cent per year. Much of this growth is probably
attributable to the coffee boom, for "it developed an
internal market, creating a large class of small independent
farmers in Antioquia, Caldas, and Valle . [and] brought
prosperity to . most of the nation's cities" (Friedel
and Jimenez, 1971: 72-73). From 1905 to 1912, the city's
GROWTH OF CALI FROM 1793 TO 1964
Source for 1793, 1797, 1807:
Arboleda, III, 1956: 120, 154, 207.
Source for 1836:
Friedel and Jimenez, 1971: 62.
Source for other years:
McGreevey, 1967(?). ("The data
presented here are derived entirely
from published sources available at
the University of California
Library at Berkeley.")
population declined, for unknown reasons.' From 1912 on,
the city entered into a period of growth that has not yet
ceased.2 This growth stems from several important factors.
In 1915, the Pacific Line railroad linked Cali with the
port of Buenaventura, and, via the newly-opened Panama
Canal, Europe and the eastern coast of the United States,
and "soon these two cities were the major coffee shippers
from Caldas, Valle, Tolima, and southern Antioquia" (Friedel
and Jimenez, 1971: 74). The transportation link with the
port of Buenaventura, the coffee boom, and the relatively
large population base in the hinterland around Cali probably
all played a role in the incipient industrialization that
began in Cali around 1920. At the same time, Cali was
becoming the commercial center of Valle, and this too con-
tributed to its steady growth during the twentieth century.
Around 1950, another factor leading to great popula-
tion growth added its force to the factors of burgeoning
industrialization and commercial vigor that were already at
work. This was la violencia, which was to be a significant
factor in Cali's growth for the next fifteen years.
1It is entirely possible that the census figures are
in error, and that no decline took place. While the 1912
census figures appear to have some validity, there is a
possibility that the 1905 figures may be inflated.
2While the figures in Table 2 show a population
decline between 1928 and 1938, it is probable that there was
a steady increase in the population between 1918 and 1938.
The 1928 population total is almost certainly highly
inflated, which would account for both a too-steep rise from
1918 to 1928 and a decline from 1928 to 1938.
"La violencia . is a general term which . [is] used
to refer to banditry, kidnapping, and homicides, partic-
ularly in rural areas" (Payne, 1968: 91). Dix notes that
"in the years between 1948 and 1964, la violencia took
between 100,000 and 200,000 Colombian lives, perhaps more
than in all of the country's nineteenth-century internal
strife, and was responsible for an undetermined number of
maimed and wounded" (Dix, 1967: 362). While few authorities
agree on the exact number of lives lost in la violencia, the
magnitude of the loss was certainly great enough to cause
huge numbers of rural dwellers to flee to the sanctuary of
the larger cities, which were relatively free of the vio-
lence. Cali received a large share of these migrants,
because la violencia was especially pronounced in..southern
Colombia and the province of El Valle, in which Cali is
located. The following account indicates the extent and
impact of this violence:
Between March 19 and 22 , in El Valle, two
brothers were assassinated by pistol fire; a coffee-
roaster was killed by stab wounds and his place of
business sacked; a man was shot and killed by "long-
range" fire; the body of another was found dead of bul-
let wounds on a lonely road; and a hacienda owner was
killed by seven bullets fired at close range. Total in
El Valle killed by persons unknown, seven. In these
same days, many people fled for safety from the district
of Monteloro (El Valle); a Cali newspaperman was
threatened with death because of stories he had written
about the violence; panic spread through the area
(Fluharty, 1957: 271).
Clearly, migration from country to city in Colombia
"is intensified by.the violent fighting between Conservative
and Liberal villages, which has scared thousands of country
people into the 'safety' of the city . ." (Powelson, 1964:
30). La violencia, then, is one of the chief causes of
recent migration to Cali. Another is the "city's rapid
industrial growth [which] has given it a sort of El Dorado
reputation that exerts a magnetic effect on peasants who are
tired of the meager existence of the countryside" (Holt,
1964: 165). Yet one should probably not overestimate the
magnitude of the industrial pull on these rural peoples, for
the land-tenure system and the agrarian reform laws have
undoubtedly had a strong influence in "pushing" many rural
dwellers out of the countryside. As Smith notes, other
forces leading to migration are also at work, such as more
modern transportation and communication, educational
improvements and aspirations, social legislation, and social
ferment among the masses (Smith, 1970: 109). In fact, the
causes of migration are complex and intertwined, and
specific causes for individual migrants often cannot be
What can be ascertained, at least for the recent
period of Call's history, is the effect of migration on the
city's growth. The Cali Oficina de Planeaci6n Municipal
estimated that approximately 43 per cent of Cali's growth
during the 1951-1964 period was attributable to migration,
while a report prepared for CELADE assumes "that 62.3 per
cent of Call's urban growth was derived from in-migration in
recent years" (McGreevey, 1965: 6). Probably the most
accurate estimates of migration to Cali are those based on
sex and age distributions made by McGreevey. He found that
101,132 migrants came to Call in the 1938-1951 period, and
constituted 67 per cent of the adult population in 1951; and
that 210,232 migrants came to Call in the 1951-1964 period,
and constituted 58.9 per cent of the adult population in
1964 (McGreevey, 1965: 14). Most of the migrants "were of
working age on arrival and the majority (53.9 per cent in
the first period, 54.3 per cent in the second) were female"
(McGreevey, 1965: 16); "census figures in Colombia . .
indicate that older people tend to stay in the rural areas"
(Beyer, 1967: 207). McGreevey's figures, cited above,
indicate that while the total numbers of migrants were
increasing, the percentage of the total population of the
city that was of migrant origin was decreasing. Given the
size of the city, which in the early 1970s has reached per-
haps one million people, this is almost inevitable.
Increasingly, natural increase (the importance of which has
tended to be underestimated by social scientists) should
account for the largest part of the city's growth. Further,
la violencia has ceased to be a major cause of migration from
rural areas, although sporadic violent incidents still
occur. In fact, it is probable that la violencia seriously
depopulated some rural areas in Colombia, so that the
ultimate rural source of migrants is not nearly as fertile
as it was in the past few decades.
While the origins of the migrant stream to Cali were
in the rural areas, evidence from recent Latin American
migrant studies (Browning and Feindt, 1971; Leeds and Leeds,
1967; Morse, 1971b; Beyer, 1967) indicates that rural
dwellers migrate to small towns, and their offspring then go
on to the larger urban areas. Thus migrants to urban areas
are considerably more "urbanized" than had at first been
realized. There is some evidence that this may be the case
with Cali (though the extreme migration induced by la
violencia may have altered "normal" patterns of migration).
McGreevey notes that
migrants to the city have a lower rate of unemployment
than do native-born Calefios. While native-born Calefios
made up less than 20 per cent of the labor force, they
contributed 25 per cent of the unemployed population.
S. there can be little doubt that the migrants con-
tribute more to production than they use up in consump-
tion, at least as compared to the native-born population
(McGreevey, 1965: 12).
Whatever the role of the migrant in an economic
sense, there can be no doubt that migration in a demographic
sense has made Cali one of the largest cities in Colombia
and Latin America. This demographic growth
is one of the key determinants of change in physical
pattern Moreover, the "components" of population
growth (for example, net migration versus natural
increase) may exert an influence on spatial patterns; in
general, growth via migration will probably be more
conducive to change (Schnore, 1965: 381-382).
Cities in Colombia and Latin America
Table 3 shows the population of the Cali municipio
for the years 1905, 1918, 1951, and 1964 in relation to
the other ten largest municipios in Colombia on these
dates. From this table, it is evident that Cali in 1964
POPULATION OF ELEVEN LARGEST MUNICIPIOS, 1905-1964
1967(?) : Table
has clearly become the third largest city in Colombia.
While Cali grew at an annual average rate of 8.3 per cent
between 1938 and 1951, and 6.3 per cent between 1951 and
1964, Colombia grew at an annual average rate of 2.1 per
cent for the 1938-1951 period, and 3.3 per cent for the
1951-1964 period. No other major Colombian city grew as
fast as Cali in the 1938-1951 period, and only Bogota among
the major cities exceeded Cali's rate of growth in the
During the recent period of rapid growth (1938-1964),
Cali has steadily increased its share of the total national
population from 1.2 per cent in 1938 to 3.6 per cent in
1964, as can be seen in Table 4.
GROWTH OF CALI IN RELATION TO
THE GROWTH OF COLOMBIA:
Percentage of Colombia's
Year Cali Colombia Population in Cali
1938 101,038 8,701,816 1.2
1951 284,186 11,548,172 2.5
1964 637,929 17,484,508 3.6
Source: Departamento Administrativo Nacional de
Estadistica, 1967: Tables 3 and 4.
While some, such as Schnore, have contended that the popu-
lation growth of the city is closely connected to the popu-
lation growth of the national population (Schnore, 1971: 38),
it is apparent that Call's growth has run well ahead of
national population growth during this period. This seems
due to the pronounced effect of migration on Call's growth.
As migration declines in importance as a factor in Cali's
growth, as it now seems to be doing, and natural increase
becomes a more predominant factor, it might be expected that
the rate of Cali's growth will conform more closely to that
National urban structure is usually examined either
by the concept of urban primacy or by the concept of a
"normal" urban hierarchy, often termed the "rank-size rule."
Both of these are useful in exploring the structure of
cities in Colombia, and each will be examined in turn.
Morse summarizes the ways in which urban primacy is
Urban primacy has various definitions. Some refer to
national pyramids of cities, ranked by population size,
culminating in a primate city which is by one or another
criterion abnormally large. Looser definitions emphasize
concentrations of functions and services. Interest
attaches to the phenomenon because of the suspicion that
primate cities may be dysfunctional, parasitic, and
symptomatic of underdevelopment (Morse, 1971b: 36).
One of the most cited studies of urban primacy is that of
Mehta (1964). In this study his measure of primacy is "the
percentage of the population of the four largest cities
residing in the largest city of the country" (Mehta, 1964:
141). The study, using circa 1955 data, ranked 87 countries
in terms of the primacy of their urban structure. Twenty-one
of these countries were in Latin America. Of these 21
countries, Colombia was ranked 21; it had the lowest level
of primacy of all the Latin American countries listed (all
of the countries in South America were listed, except Guyana,
which was not an independent country in 1955). Of the 87
countries included on the total list, Colombia was ranked 80
(Mehta, 1964: 141). Clearly, Colombia is not dominated by
one large city, as are so many of the Latin American
Yet Colombia is highly regionalized, and it may be
that there is a tendency for regional primacy to exist.
Although there are few studies of regional primacy, it seems
reasonable that one could combine the already-tested measure
of primacy used by Mehta with a recent unpublished regional-
ization of Colombia (Hollingsworth and Webber, 1968). How-
ever, the regionalization devised by Hollingsworth and
Webber must be modified to fit the purposes of this study.
Their scheme delineated twelve sociocultural regions in
Colombia (Costa Atlantica, Los Santanderes, Cundinamarca-
Boyaca, Medio Magdalena, Grupo Paisa, Costa Pacifica, Valle,
Alto Magdalena, Cauca, Narifo, Llanos, Otros). However, for
this study, three of the regions (Medio Magdalena, Costa
Pacifica, and Llanos) can be eliminated, because they do not
contain one of the largest cities in the country, which are
the cities for which adequate .data are available. The nine
remaining regions are combined into four larger regions,
which I term southern Colombia (including Valle, Alto
Magdalena, Cauca, and Nariio), the "Paisa" group (including
only the Grupo Paisa), highland Colombia (including Los
Santanderes, Cundinamarca-Boyaca, and Otros), and the
Atlantic Coast (including only the Costa Atldntica). It
should be noted that two of these new regions are the same
as the Hollingsworth-Webber regions, and the other two
regions appear to have some basis in fact--all of the parts
of the southern Colombia region (Valle, Alto Magdalena,
Cauca, and Nariio) send sizable numbers of migrants to Call,
while all of the parts of the highland Colombia region (Los
Santanderes, Cundinamarca-Boyaca, and Otros) send sizable
numbers of migrants to Bogota. The four largest cities in
each of these regions are listed in Table 5. The measure of
primacy used in this table is the percentage of the popula-
tion of the four largest cities residing in the largest city
of the region.
The results of Table 5 are somewhat surprising.
While the mean level of primacy for the 87 countries in the
Mehta study was 59.8, the mean level of primacy for the
four "regional cities" in Colombia was 62.0. If the median
rather than the mean is used, then the median level of
primacy for the 87 countries in the Mehta study was 60.0,
while the median level of primacy for the four "regional
cities" in Colombia was 59.5. Thus there does not appear to
be a high level of regional primacy in Colombia, contrary to
what has been suggested: "Colombia is highly regionalized;
a city like Medellin might be said to have primacy at the
departmental level" (Morse, 1969: 486 [footnote 43]).
PRIMACY OF URBAN STRUCTURE: FOUR REGIONS
OF COLOMBIA, 1964
Each of the Measure
Four Largest Cities Largest Cities of
Region in the Region* in the Region Primacy
Southern Colombia Cali 637,929 60.5
"Paisa" Group Medellin 772,887 58.5
Highland Colombia BogotA 1,697,311 78.1
Atlantic Coast Barranquilla 498,301 50.9
SIt is interesting that all of the fifteen largest cities
in the country are included in this list; Barrancabermeja
ranks 27 in size among Colombian cities.
Source: Departamento Administrativo Nacional de.
Estadistica, 1967: Table 6.
Another way to examine national urban structure is
by means of the "rank-size rule." This is a theoretical
model of the distribution of cities by size, where "the
population of each city tends to be in inverse proportion to
its rank by order of size . the second, third, and
fourth largest city might be expected to have one-half,
one-third, and one-quarter the population of the largest
city, and so forth" (United Nations Commission for Latin
America, 1969: 194). If the actual population of the
largest cities in Colombia and the "expected" population of
these cities (based on one-half, one-third, one-quarter,
etc., the population of the largest city) are compared, as
is done in Table 6, it is found that there is a rather good
"fit" between the actual and the "expected" population.
Thus Colombia conforms rather well to the idea of an urban
RANK-SIZE DISTRIBUTION OF COLOMBIAN CITIES, 1964
Source: Departamento Administrativo Nacional de
Estadistica, 1967: Table 6.
hierarchy, theoretically indicating that there is a rather
well-balanced structure of cities in Colombia, without an
overwhelming predominance of just one or two cities, as is
so often the case in Latin America.
An interesting theoretical discussion of the rank-
size distribution of cities is provided by Vapfarsky, when
he examines regions in Argentina for both primacy and rank-
size distribution (Vapharsky, 1969). In this study he
insists that regions must be drawn not on the basis of
geographic or political boundaries, but on the basis of
ecological systems. This has been the intent of the
Colombian regionalization presented above. Vapfarsky also
observes that "primacy and rank-size rule are not mutually
exclusive models" (Vapiiarsky, 1969: 584). Thus, as Morse
notes, "primacy depends on the level of closure or self-
containment of an area (i.e., proportion of interactions
beginning and terminating within the system) and rank-size
distribution upon the level of internal interdependence or
interaction of an area" (Morse, 1971b: 43). Since the
rank-size rule appears to apply to all cities in Colombia,
while there is a very low level of primacy, the Vapfiarsky
model would lead us to expect both a high level of closure
and high interdependence. Colombia, with its extreme
regionalization, undoubtedly does have a high level of
closure, whereby most interactions beginning within the
region terminate within that region. Interdependence is the
interaction that takes place among the units in a region, so
that "low interdependence means relative isolation of the
units from each other in the area" (Vapiiasky, 1969: 585).
While this is not the place to test the level of interaction
within the various regions of Colombia, it does appear that
there is a high level of regional interaction, at least with-
in the southern Colombia region, with which the author is
most familiar. Therefore, Colombia appears to "fit" the
Vapharsky model, to have both high closure and high inter-
dependence, with a rank-size distribution which generally
applies to all the cities.
Turning from the structure of cities in Colombia to
the level of urbanization, the facts show that Colombia has
become an urban rather than a rural nation. In 1938, the
first year for which urban-rural data were available, 30.9
per cent of the Colombian population was urban; this rose to
38.9 per cent of the population being classed as urban in
1951. By 1964, the date of the most recent census, 52.8 per
cent of the Colombian people were urban, which means that
these Colombians were living in places of 1,500 or more
inhabitants (Webber, 1973: Table 1).
In Table 7, Colombia is compared with other Latin
American nations in terms of per cent urban. As can be seen
in the table, Colombia is one of a growing number of Latin
American countries which have crossed the threshold from a
predominantly rural to a predominantly urban population.
URBANIZATION OF THE LATIN AMERICAN POPULATION
Country Date of Data Per Cent Urban
Uruguay 1963 80.8
Chile 1970 76.0
Venezuela 1970 (E) 75.7
Argentina 1970 (E) 74.3
Cuba 1971 (E) 60.5
Mexico 1970 58.7
Brazil 1970 55.9
Peru 1971 (E) 53.2
Colombia 1964 52.8
Panama 1970 47.6
Nicaragua 1968 (E?) 44.7
Dominican Republic 1970 39.8
El Salvador 1971 39.4
Ecuador 1970 (E?) 38.3
Paraguay 1970 (E?) 35.7
Bolivia 1970 (E) 35.0
Costa Rica 1963 34.5
Guatemala 1964 33.6
Honduras 1969 (E?) 32.2
Guyana 1970 (E) 29.5
Haiti 1970 (E) 16.2
Trinidad and Tobago 1970 12.4
E = estimate
E? = estimate of questionable reliability
Source for all except Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti:
United Nations, 1972: Table 5.
Source for Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti:
Beyer, 1967: 223. (Estimates of the Inter-American
Growing Industrialism -- The Economic
Base of the City
Prior to the twentieth century Cali was a small,
rather plebeian town whose economy was based almost entirely
upon agriculture, and especially upon the raising of cattle.
Other activities which were beginning to center in Cali were
the tobacco and sugar interests. Tobacco made its presence
felt in the city before the middle of the nineteenth cen-
tury, and the sugar industry began shortly thereafter.
In 1864 . the first major enterprise in commercial
agriculture was initiated in Valle: the planting of a
relatively large hacienda in sugar cane and the
installation of steam-powered sugar mill by a Russian-
American immigrant to Colombia, James Eder. His
successful example was followed by the Caicedo sugar
mill in the early 1900's, and later by others (Posada
and Posada, 1966: 52).
There were also a few other small commercial ventures which
dealt with the Cauca Valley area, as the smaller cities in
the region were beginning to look to Cali for commercial
In 1915, the city of Cali was linked with the
Pacific port of Buenaventura by the railroad. With the
opening of the Panama Canal at nearly the same time, the
city had an outlet to the rest of the world. Suddenly there
was a market for the produce of the Cauca Valley, and as
the transportation network in the Cauca Valley steadily
improved, Cali became the hub for the accumulation and ship-
ment of this produce, and the center for the concentration
of the wealth that was derived from these activities. This
stimulated the beginnings of industrial expansion, from
about 1925 to 1930. While the worldwide depression subse-
quently slowed industrial growth, after 1930 "several types
of government investment took place, especially in trans-
portation, communications, and electric energy facilities,
which generated industrial activity" (Dow, 1971: 32-33).
At the same time in the early 1930s, "because of protection
to agriculture . agricultural production gained
impetus" (Posada and Posada, 1966: 52).
The Second World War and its aftermath led to a
boom in manufacturing production, and "For the first time
large industrial establishments and the consequent large-
scale production started to replace the smaller establish-
ments" (Dow, 1971: 33). Foreign capital, which had flowed
into Colombia during the 1925-1930 period, but had been
severely curtailed during the depression (Lipman, 1969:
26), again began to pour into Colombia.
In the most recent decades, agriculture in the Cauca
Valley region has advanced rapidly. One of the world's most
efficient and modern sugar factories, La Manuelita, is
located in the municipio of Palmira, near Cali. The wide-
spread use of tractors is most prevalent in the
department of El Valle del Cauca, whose rich, productive
and level lands, after 400 years of use in a very rudi-
mentary pastoral culture, rapidly are being transformed
into sugar-cane, rice, and cotton plantations. . .
it is here that the mechanized system of agriculture is
making the most headway (Smith, 1967: 233).
Thus the years after World War II in Colombia were
marked by both industrial growth and the rapid expansion of
large-scale commercial agriculture in the Valle region. It
is the growth in both of these vital sectors of the economy
that made the rapid growth of the city of Cali possible.
Yet at the same time this agricultural "modernization"
hardly touched a large part of the agricultural potential,
so that much of the rural area is still rather backward.
The result is that agriculture in the Cauca Valley
today is unevenly developed, and the contrasts are
stark. It is highly mechanized and productive for a
small group of large owner-operator and tenant-operator
wealthy farmers; it is extremely backward, even primi-
tive for the vast majority of the owners of small and
medium-sized farms, located especially in the hills
(Posada and Posada, 1966: 52).
One of the most important factors that is presently
at work in the Cauca Valley stimulating agricultural
development and also greatly aiding industrial growth is
the Autonomous Regional Corporation of the Cauca Valley
(CVC). Rather like the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in
the United States, this decentralized, administratively
autonomous agency was established in 1954 "for the purpose
of promoting the unified development of the natural resources
of the Upper Cauca River Valley in Colombia" (Posada and
Posada, 1966: 11). The specific goals of the CVC are to
render "a series of public services, such as generation,
transmission, and distribution of electric power; the promo-
tion of agricultural and industrial enterprise; and cooper-
ation in the development of programs in education, public
health, and community action" (Posada and Posada, 1966: 63).
By the late 1960s, the CVC had had success with three pro-
grams: "(a) Supplying electric power for the entire region,
as a result of which its industrial development has
obviously increased; (b) land reclamation (flood control,
irrigation, and drainage), and (c) raising the standard of
living of the rural population by disseminating modern and
improved methods of production" (Posada and Posada, 1966:
Perhaps the most crucial project for the growth of
industry in Cali is the supply of energy. Indeed, one of
the most useful indicators of modernization is per-capita
energy consumption. "Even though the surprising industrial
development of Valle during the past two decades [1945-
1965] cannot be attributed to electricity alone, it is
evident that the supply of a greater volume of electric
power has been an element basic to this development" (Posada
and Posada, 1966: 106). One study noted that between 1956
and 1958 electrical production increased from 77,569,000 to
83,157,000 kilowatt hours (Pendleton, 1965: 44). Another
study reported that
the electric power potential of Valle is excellent and
relatively easy to harness. The total installed
capacity of the Cauca Valley region in 1955 was 75,000
kilowatts, of which 49,200 was from hydro sources and
25,900 thermal. But the rapid expansion of population
and industrialization led to an estimate made in 1955 of
an increase in demand for power of 150,000 kilowatts by
1965. However, these estimates of demand have been
periodically revised upward as the progressively
increasing population growth rate invalidates previous
estimates in demand (Posada and Posada, 1966: 46).
While more recent estimates of energy demand are not avail-
able, it is apparent that the demand has been rapidly grow-
ing. Now under construction in the Valle region by a
Mexican construction company is "one of the largest dams in
South America. When it's finished, it will supply power for
the 900,000 residents of Cali, and most of the other people