Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: Heritage as a mediator between spatial, historical and social transformations of the Old City

Cesar Augusto Velandia Silva, Juan José Ospina-Tascón, Mirjana Ristic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses the ways in which has heritage mediated socio-spatial segregation of Cartagena de Indias. The chapter looks to reveal how from a historic process of social segregation, the old city of Cartagena relapsed and propelled the greatest population segregation in the history of Colombia. Using a research on historical documentary sources on the types of urban growth related to the population composition of Cartagena -and from planimetric contrasts- a verifying process of Cartagena’s Old City spatiality is based on statistical information obtained from census data or available since 1900. Also it is needed to retrieve population information supplied by the chroniclers of the Colonial period to understand the origins of an historical problem of bias and social expulsion.
The chapter argues that the city’s segregation has been conditioned by the heritage conservation and management policies that have driven the redevelopment of Cartagena’s old town—fortress, port and monuments—to the advantage of tourism over the local residents. Such redevelopment was focused on the preservation and conservation of the colonial heritage, linked to the European descendants, without taking into account the diverse local heritage, linked to the descendants of the indigenous people and former slaves. This has resulted in gentrification of the old town by the upper social classes and consequently, in the increase of the land value that pushed the lower social classes to the areas outside of the old town
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Heritage in Divided Cities: Contested Pasts
Subtitle of host publicationKey Issues in Cultural Heritage Series
Place of PublicationLONDON
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781138624870
StatePublished - 4 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameKey Issues in Cultural Heritage
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis


  • urban heritage
  • public space
  • Divided Cities

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