|M.Sc Student||Altalef Joseph|
|Subject||The Dynamics of Urban Morphology in the Metropolitan|
Area of Guatemala
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Daniel Czamanski|
|Full Thesis text|
This Final Paper presents an analysis of the spatial evolution of Guatemala City of the years 1980 and 2000. The analysis relies on maps of the footprints of the built up area of the city. By means of accepted methods, clusters of built up area are identify and characterized. Based on this finding, comparison is made with the spatial evolution of some cities of the developed world. The empirical analysis was used to describe and to explain the evolution of this metropolis. The method identified the main processes by means of historical data. The importance of this study stems from the fact that few investigations of this kind have been made in developing countries. The units under examination are urban clusters, rather than boundaries determined by political municipalities. By means of data based on digitalized satellite photographs of Guatemala from the years 1980 and 2000 we present the cluster statistics and dynamics.
The conclusions of our work suggest that the evolution of the morphology of the metropolis of Guatemala can be divided into three stages: The first stage (1776-1900) is characterized by an orthogonal grid expansion, since no topographical influences were encountered. The urban plan represented the typical Colonial design, where everything evolved around a plaza where political and religious structures were located. In the second stage (1900-1964), the city underwent a rapid change, when the state put an end to the agrarian reform program, which, together with an increase in socio-economic problems, accelerated the migratory process. For these reasons, the urban plan of the metropolis grew and had to start dealing with the topographical irregularities like cliffs and mountains. The design of the urban grid of the new zones was dictated by the topographical features breaking up the original Colonial orthogonal grid.
The third stage (1964 - 2008) began when the Metropolis of Guatemala spread over the municipal boundaries. A study made by the University of San Carlos of Guatemala shows that, in 1964, various zones around the municipality, which spread beyond the Metropolis, were joined up.
Empirical analysis showed that the Metropolitan City of Guatemala acted as a Primate City during the two years analyzed. This is due mainly to the topographical irregularities which avoided development and physical connection of the different clusters, making one of them the main one that captured a large proportion of the country's population, as well as its economic activity.