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Coexistence is central to Uruguay

Cycle on coexistence talks coordinated by ÁGORA. The first AGORA on coexistence focused on the territorial aspect.


Coexistence is an issue in which ÁGORA has special interest. A working group was opened to address the issue, led by Mariela Solari, founding partner and one of the most active in the organization.


After several discussions, the group decided to develop at least three thematic AGORAS on the topic. In Uruguay and the world, coexistence is a fundamental issue to take into account, from different areas: health, education, territorial development, employment policies, childhood, adolescence. The intention of the thematic AGORAS is to put the discussion on the table and also provide public policy ideas on this matter.





What do we understand by coexistence?


ÁGORA considers Coexistence as a multidimensional issue, it encompasses dimensions that have to do with the cultural, the territorial, which also has to do with security, access to justice, the strict coexistence of those who live in the territory and those people who live in institutions.


From this conception, an approach based on the life cycle of people from their gestation is promoted. People, throughout their lives, go through different spaces of coexistence that depend on the public policies built and implemented in their environment.




The first coexistence ÁGORA


The meeting took place at the CAF headquarters with the coordination of Mariela Solari, who will be responsible for coordinating the three discussion spaces. The first, developed in October 2023, focused on territorial segregation. The second thematic AGORA of coexistence will be about security and access to justice. While the third will focus on spaces of coexistence: family, neighborhood, educational spaces, work spaces.


The exhibitors' table was made up of: Victor Borrás (Msc. and specialist in urban sociology) Anahí Bermúdez (Msc. in urban policies), Gonzalo Márquez (Ec. specialist in mobility, transportation and energy) and Alejandro Andrada (activist and representative of the Casavalle de Pie).


Each of the participants presented, from their experience and vision, different issues that make up coexistence.


Some social consensuses were problematized. Firstly, the notion of a hyper-integrated society. Victor Borrás presented literature and stories that show that Montevideo, as a capital city, although until 1960 it had exceptional levels of cohesion in its context, spaces of territorial segregation are also observed (cantegriles, the first popular settlement in Montevideo, dates back to 1946). Victor also placed emphasis on the territorial segregation of people of African descent and the lack of attention to the phenomenon by public opinion. In turn, he placed emphasis on the processes of territorial segregation also of the population with high purchasing power to private neighborhoods and the like starting in the 1990s.


As a result of territorial segregation between different social contexts, the concentration of violent criminal acts and situations of insecurity is observed in some municipalities, while others, such as Ch, enjoy a climate of low violence.

Another of the visions that make coexistence has to do with the way in which one moves through the city. Gonzalo Márquez, a specialist on the subject, emphasized this view and exemplified the differentiated experience according to automobile mobility versus the use of public transportation. In relation to this, he mentioned the amount of negotiations and unwritten rules that a person who travels by public transport must learn compared to another who does not. Furthermore, a person accustomed to using public transport is also accustomed to living with different people, with different situations.


The power of public transport as a space for social interaction, coexistence, and heterogeneity in encounters is being lost. Regarding this, Gonzalo Márquez pointed out that the people who remain in public transportation are, to a greater extent, people captive to the system who do not have any type of private transportation and are looking for a level of service that public transportation cannot provide them today. This is also observed in the use by neighborhoods, where the people who remain in the system are those with low and low-middle resources, with few boys and girls using this transportation autonomously, impacting their future development and coexistence with the others. Which turns the transportation system into something increasingly homogeneous made up of people with less agency.


For her part, Anahí Bermúdez focused on homeless people who are not even considered in the national census since it is a census of households and not people. In her intervention, she focused on homeless people who tend to be the protagonists of conflictive events in which they are pointed out as the focus of conflict. Although this responds to different ways of living together, it is also a consequence of the lack of services during the day for people who must transit the city until they contact a shelter or at night.


The reasons why a person becomes homeless are identified, but some key reasons are identified, such as exit from deprivation of liberty, completion or exit from mental health treatment.


Finally, the intervention was by Alejandro Andrada, a Human Rights activist belonging to the Casavalle de Pie collective. From his experience as an activist and resident of the Casavalle region, he suggests that the segregation that the area experiences is alarming (lack of opportunities, infrastructure, high concentration of poverty, high levels of conflict, etc.). What he also worries about is the lack of participatory policies in which the environment is consulted about the most pressing demands they have. He observes, from his organization, a divergence between what he does and what the population demands.


Uno de los problemas que se identifican es el centralismo con el que se concibe la ciudad de Montevideo. En tanto, de manera pública no se reconocen localidades que son identificadas (reducidas) a la categoría de barrio. Pareciera que Montevideo tiene un único centro y periferias. Mientras que de reconocer las localidades, existen diferentes centros, cada uno con su nivel de desarrollo, y periferias. 





Puntos en común sobre Convivencia 

Todos los oradores estuvieron de acuerdo en que en Montevideo se suele partir de una visión mucho más integrada de la convivencia entre personas. De hecho, suele ser un problema al abordar todos los problemas sociales del país. La autopercepción suele ser más favorable de los datos que se observan en la realidad. Que puede responder a situaciones pasadas más auspiciosas y la comparación con la región que pone al país en un lugar destacado en varios indicadores. 


La convivencia debería ser uno de los temas centrales a abordar por el actual y futuro gobierno de nuestro país. En tanto se observa un deterioro importante, condiciones que pueden generar situaciones irreversibles en términos de cohesión social. 


En las siguientes ÁGORAS de convivencia se abordarán temas vinculados con violencia, seguridad,  justicia y trayectoria de vida: familia, barrio, instituciones. 


Luego de finalizada la tercera de estas ÁGORAS se espera contar con un documento de discusión y propuestas claro que pueda ser de utilidad para las personas que toman decisiones. 


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