Abstract Barrios

The Crises of Latinx Visibility in Cities

Abstract Barrios

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 47 illustrations Published: September 2020

Author: Johana Londoño

Subjects
American Studies, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Sociology > Urban Studies

In Abstract Barrios Johana Londoño examines how Latinized urban landscapes are made palatable for white Americans. Such Latinized urban landscapes, she observes, especially appear when whites feel threatened by concentrations of Latinx populations, commonly known as barrios. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and visual analysis of barrio built environments, Londoño shows how over the past 70 years urban planners, architects, designers, policy makers, business owners, and other “brokers” took abstracted elements from barrio design—such as spatial layouts or bright colors—to safely “Latinize” cities and manage a longstanding urban crisis of Latinx belonging. The built environments that resulted ranged from idealized notions of authentic Puerto Rican culture in the interior design of New York City’s public housing in the 1950s, created to diminish concerns over Puerto Rican settlement, to the “Fiesta Marketplace” in downtown Santa Ana, California, built to counteract white flight in the 1980s. Ultimately, Londoño demonstrates that abstracted barrio culture and aesthetics sustain the economic and cultural viability of normalized, white, and middle-class urban spaces.

Praise

Abstract Barrios does a masterful job in moving beyond the hype of the ‘Latinization’ of US urban areas and instead offers a deeply historicized account of the rise of Latinx majority cities.  Crafting a theoretical analysis of the role of Latinx brokers in the late twentieth century, Johana Londoño helps us understand how urban designers use everything from bright colors to ‘Latin’ architecture to domesticate the urban barrio and prepare it for gentrification and the passive inclusion of Latinas/os in US urban society.” — George J. Sanchez, author of Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945

“A captivating account of the everyday moments that produce the barrio, Abstract Barrios offers a unique view into the built environment of Latinidad. Its ambition and vastness singularly fills gaping holes of urban planning and architecture scholarship on Latinos. Providing a wide-ranging view of how barrios are made and the actors involved in their making, this special and unique book is a crucial work of scholarship for Latino studies, urban studies, and urban sociology.” — Zaire Zenit Dinzey-Flores, author of Locked In, Locked Out: Gated Communities in a Puerto Rican City

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Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Johana Londoño is Assistant Professor of Latin America, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0965-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0879-8
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