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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Regional Planning

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Henry Renski

Second Advisor

Robert L. Ryan

Third Advisor

Clara Irazábal-Zurita

Subject Categories

Civic and Community Engagement | Human Geography | Latin American Studies | Place and Environment | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies and Planning


One of the challenges in urban development is to promote civic engagement, especially in processes that involve vulnerable lower-income populations. Participation in civic life is often tied to subjective factors such as their experiences within a community; memories and care for place or even situations of trauma such as housing evictions. Thus, this dissertation identifies place-based emotional factors that motivate civic engagement in informal settlements. I observed the process of zoning regulation in the city of Fortaleza to examine how the risk of housing displacement and place attachment trigger community members to become engaged. A statistical analysis of variables about informal settlements in Fortaleza supported the hypothesis that the risk of housing displacement increases the likelihood of civic engagement. Interviews with civic leaders in Fortaleza have supported those findings showing how they have raised risk awareness to fight displacement and used the zoning legislation as a legal tool to achieve concrete results. The risk of eviction is a triggering factor that pushes people toward mobilization but place attachment is a driving force that keeps them active over time. This study shows how place attachment is a community asset that can be promoted to support informal residents’ discourses and actions in face of eviction.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.