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Latino Urbanism

Summary and Keywords

“Latino urbanism” describes a culturally specific set of spatial forms and practices created by people of Hispanic origin. It includes many different aspects of those forms and practices, including town planning; domestic, religious, and civic architecture; the adaptation of existing residential, commercial, and other structures; and the everyday use of spaces such as yards, sidewalks, storefronts, streets, and parks.

Latino urbanism has developed over both time and space. It is the evolving product of half a millennium of colonization, settlement, international and domestic migration, and globalization. It has spanned a wide geographic range, beginning in the southern half of North America and gradually expanding to much of the hemisphere.

There have been many variations on Latino urbanism, but most include certain key features: shared central places where people show their sense of community, a walking culture that encourages face-to-face interaction with neighbors, and a sense that sociability should take place as much in the public realm as in the privacy of the home. More recently, planners and architects have realized that Latino urbanism offers solutions to problems such as sprawl, social isolation, and environmental unsustainability.

The term “urbanism” connotes city spaces, and Latino urbanism is most concentrated and most apparent at the center of metropolitan areas. At the same time, it has also been manifested in a wide variety of places and at different scales, from small religious altars in private homes; to Spanish-dominant commercial streetscapes in Latino neighborhoods; and ultimately to settlement patterns that reach from the densely packed centers of cities to the diversifying suburbs that surround them, out to the agricultural hinterlands at their far peripheries—and across borders to big cities and small pueblos elsewhere in the Americas.

Keywords: Latino, urban, Hispanic, city, architecture, transnational, immigration, neighborhood, metropolitan, landscape

Landscapes of Colonization

Latino urbanism originated in the encounter between the people and plans of Spain’s emergent overseas empire and the indigenous civilizations and landscapes of the Americas. Both of these regions included large and complex cities. Spain had been an urban civilization since the Roman period, and the Iberian Peninsula became a major political and cultural center by the 2nd century ce. It was home to numerous cities in which tens of thousands of people lived in landscapes that were a palimpsest of Roman, Visigothic, Muslim, and Christian architectural styles. Indigenous America was just as impressively urban, boasting a number of substantial cities and other population centers with large and elaborate buildings that required extraordinary technical ability in stone construction and exceptional creativity in ornamentation. This included, of course, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, its population of hundreds of thousands making it one of the world’s leading cities in the 15th century.

The Spanish advanced into the Americas in the 16th century with a developing set of landscape plans designed to facilitate the conquest and settlement of their newly explored and claimed territories. Their hope was to simply impose those plans upon the hemisphere, but they were limited by Native Americans’ existing human geography and infrastructure, which also benefited their colonial project. In most cases the Spaniards built on lands where Indians already lived, since such settlements had the wealth they sought, not to mention the people whose labor they exploited and whom they were determined to convert to their religion. In what is today Mexico, for example, the Spanish established their headquarters at the center of the Aztec capital; and there and elsewhere, particularly in the city of Puebla, they demolished indigenous temples and built churches in their place.

As they expanded their area of settlement northward, the colonizers made use of three key features of Spanish urbanism in the Americas: the mission, the presidio, and, most importantly, the three ranks of civil settlements—pueblo, villa, and ciudad. Missions were built near existing Indian villages in order to concentrate their populations, control their labor, and impose Catholicism on them—by force if necessary. The basic mission form was a church, an attached courtyard with dwellings for clergy and assistants, an atrio forecourt surrounded by a waist-high wall, and often a corral. Missions were constructed in various architectural styles.

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Figure 1. San Xavier del Bac, a mission church originally completed at the end of the 18th century, Tohono O’odham Nation, Arizona.

Photograph by Daniel Ramirez, Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).

Among the most durable and famous were those that combined elements of Spanish and Puebloan adobe and timber construction; many are still standing in New Mexico, for example. But it is important to remember that missions were situated across a vast area: throughout present-day Mexico and the U.S. Southwest from California to Texas, as well as northward from the Caribbean into Florida and Georgia.

Alongside the missions, the Spanish built structures known as presidios. These were fortified military garrisons intended to hold territory against those who resisted Spain’s claims on North America: both the Native peoples the colonizers were dispossessing and other European powers hoping to control part of the continent. The usual form of the presidio was a quadrangle of inward-facing rooms with bastions at opposite corners, but numerous variants were constructed in locations from coastal California to the Atlantic littoral, particularly in a cordon along what later became the U.S.-Mexico border.1

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Figure 2. Aerial view of the Castillo de San Marcos, a 16th-century Spanish presidio at St. Augustine, Florida.

Courtesy Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress.

But the major work of colonization in Spanish North America was accomplished subsequently through pueblos, or villages, as well as larger settlements classified as villas (towns) and ciudades (cities). In 1573 King Philip II of Spain promulgated the Laws of the Indies, a manual for colonizing the New World that contained detailed rules for locating, planning, and populating urban places. The basic plan was quite simple. Each town or city would be built around a rectangular central plaza, with a church occupying one side and the municipal headquarters another; this basic architectural arrangement thus manifested the primacy of religious faith and civil authority. The remaining lots on the central plaza and along surrounding streets would be awarded to its first settlers as their reward for holding the territory for Spain. They would enjoy the prestige (and greater safety) of living at the center of the settlement, and the merchants among them would have immediate access to the plaza on market days. These founders would also receive the royal title of hijodalgo or hidalgo, a rank of nobility they could pass down to their descendants. In sum, the Laws of the Indies was an urbanizing project—one intended to transplant basic elements of Spanish city planning into the Americas so that their people and places would become reflections in miniature of imperial Spain itself.2

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Figure 3. Aerial view of the Pueblo of Acoma, Cibola County, New Mexico, showing mission church and Indigenous and Spanish plazas.

Courtesy Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress.

The work of town building was rarely so straightforward, however, since the Spanish had to contend with Indigenous people and geographies already in place for centuries or millennia. The colonizers learned, for example, that they were hardly alone in planning their settlements around central gathering places. Puebloan peoples, for example, had long constructed villages around ceremonial spaces that were architectural manifestations of their cosmology, symbolizing their place at the center of creation while also orienting them to the four cardinal directions. Various existing patterns of habitation, along with the vagaries of topography and the limitations of materials and labor, shaped the resultant towns, which often included irregular or unsanctioned forms. In some, the plaza might be oddly shaped or incompletely bounded; in others, the church could be located well off the plaza; elsewhere, streets might not form a proper grid, or dwellings could be sited at odd angles.3

These places were the first iteration of Latino urbanism, their plazas serving as centers of community life, loci of face-to-face interaction in shared public space. Whatever the individual quirks of their planning and construction, they formed a cultural area extending across the southern part of North America, one that was home to thousands of communities over hundreds of years. These settlements were always both hybrids and palimpsests: a combination of landscape traditions in which subsequent arrivals to a place overlaid new design principles and everyday behaviors upon an already-occupied terrain.

Borders Crossing People

When the United States instigated a war with Mexico in 1846 and annexed its northern half two years later, the region’s Spanish-Indigenous landscapes became part of the U.S. Southwest. In some areas, most notably northern California in the era of the Gold Rush, Anglos began to arrive in large numbers and heavily outnumbered the Hispanic population within a few years. In other parts of the region with a larger settled population and fewer immediately exploitable natural resources, most notably New Mexico, it was decades before the numerical preponderance of hispanos was seriously challenged.

Among the ways that Anglos altered urban landscapes was by shifting the population centers of cities away from the plazas of the Indigenous, Spanish, and Mexican eras and toward other features. In the case of Californian cities, this typically involved a westward move toward increasingly busy Pacific Ocean harbors that became the leading foci of Anglo settlement. Further inland, the arrival of railway links with the East often meant that the plaza-centered urbanism of earlier centuries was challenged by separate urban grids oriented to the railroad tracks. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example, an Anglo settlement characterized by wood-frame Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and bungalow dwellings surrounding a commercial district consisting of brick business blocks grew up around the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad line; this “New Town” was located about a mile to the east of the hispano “Old Town” situated closer to the Rio Grande.4

The human geography of the Mexican borderlands was also shaped by another key part of the continent’s railway network: the one running from south to north. Over the last quarter of the 19th century and right up to the Revolution of 1910, the Mexican government worked to expand railroad connections between their North and the U.S. Southwest in a drive for economic development. This fostered population growth in numerous border towns and cities where Mexican urban forms and Anglo landscapes abutted each other directly and where there was sustained daily contact between Anglos and Mexicans. One common type of border settlement comprised small cities that grew quickly as resource-extraction and transportation centers—places such as El Paso, Texas, with its railroad, lead mining, and smelting facilities,

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Figure 4. Lithograph map of El Paso, Texas, in 1885, showing the Rio Grande, the city’s railway facilities, and its Spanish- and English-denominated streets.

Private collection. Creative Commons License, public domain.

and copper towns such as Bisbee, Arizona—where a substantial proportion of the working class were ethnic Mexicans. Also typical of the region were the river towns at crossings along the Rio Grande: places where both Mexican and Anglo workers, labor recruiters, entrepreneurs, consumers, and tourists crossed paths as they looked for employment, business opportunities, and entertainment on the other side of the border.5

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Figure 5. Postcard of the Rio Grande town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, showing both the Indigenous- and Spanish-derived plaza and automobiles from the United States, early 20th century.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Arreola.

The era’s other major move of consequence for Latino urbanism was the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the transfer of Puerto Rico and Cuba from Spanish to U.S. possession. This had no immediate effect on U.S. Latino landscapes, but it established the basis for subsequent migrations from the Caribbean that would populate cities decades later.

People Crossing Borders

By the turn of the century, the urbanistic confluence of Latin America and the United States had already been growing strongly, fueled on the one hand by U.S. companies searching for profits along the border and on the other by the simple fact that Mexican laborers could earn far higher wages in the United States than at home. This process was jolted in the 1910s by the Mexican Revolution. The violence and disorder of the conflict drove huge numbers of people to flee areas with intense fighting, with as many as one and a half million finding their way to the United States. These dynamics resulted in the augmentation of the ethnic Mexican population as well as the elaboration of new kinds and regions of settlement.

Early in the 20th century, the United States remained predominantly rural—even in 1920 half the people still lived in small towns—and the nation’s Hispanic population was even more so. Most were involved in agricultural work, whether in long-standing towns in the borderlands or as migrant laborers in the fast-growing farm sector. In California, for example, the dramatic expansion in citrus and other crops depended upon a greatly expanded workforce. Ethnic Mexicans were its largest contingent, which drove their pattern of settlement. Many lived in rural towns, but an increasing number made homes in colonias: small semiformal settlements on undeveloped land that lay between farms and cities. While such places offered inexpensive housing, their lack of basic infrastructure took a toll on the health of their residents.6

Over time, tens of thousands of ethnic Mexicans who worked on farms and lived in rural and peripheral areas began to migrate to cities. For most, it was the draw of better-paid urban employment in industrial, commercial, and service jobs that proved decisive, though many new city dwellers continued to do seasonal agricultural labor on farms not far beyond the city limits. Easily the most important example of this phenomenon was the rise of Los Angeles as the nation’s preeminent concentration of urban Latinos. From a population of between three thousand and five thousand in 1900, ethnic Mexican Angelenos grew to an estimated 97,000 to 190,000 people by 1930, likely comprising about ten percent or more of the city’s residents.

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Figure 6. Mercado Plaza, a store in a predominantly Mexican American commercial district, 427 North Main Street, Los Angeles, California, early twentieth century.

Courtesy University of Southern California Libraries. Creative Commons License (CC BY 3.0).

Notably, this growth propelled a reclaiming of Latino urban space as Mexicans became the predominant population around the old plaza area of Los Angeles. La Placita, as it was often called, which had been declining in importance since annexation in 1848, gradually grew into the focus of religious, social, entertainment, and business life for much of the growing community, especially male migrants.7

In other cities in or near the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, similar factors motivated many ethnic Mexicans to move from rural areas to urban centers, driving the expansion of Latino neighborhoods. Some “Little Mexicos” expanded in areas with a long-standing Hispanic presence; others sprang up in new places of settlement. In San Antonio, for example, the existing Mexican population grew to 41,500 by 1920; in Dallas, the same years saw the area just northwest of downtown fill with several thousand Mexican migrants and refugees, who soon remade Pike Park into a plaza that served as the center of community life.

The early 20th century also saw the spread of Mexican urban residents beyond the Southwest, particularly to the cities of the Midwest. This was the origin of Latino settlement in places such as Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Kansas City. The dramatic expansion of heavy industry in these cities generated a massive appetite for workers, one that was mainly fed by ongoing immigration from central, eastern, and southern Europe. But with the outbreak of World War I and the decline in European migrant flows, Mexico supplied a growing share of the needed labor. The integration of U.S. and Mexican railroad networks in previous decades had created a fast, direct route for workers from south of the Rio Grande, and northern companies sent a constant flow of labor recruiters to the border along the same tracks. As a result, by the end of the 1920s, communities of many thousands of Mexican workers had grown up, especially around the region’s factories and railway workshops.8

In whatever region they settled, ethnic Mexicans quickly set about creating the kinds of basic institutions and spatial forms that would serve their communities; these were the key elements of Latino urbanism in the United States. New Hispanic city dwellers were keen to do business in a familiar language, and entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to earn a living providing their co-ethnics with essential goods and services. It was in these circumstances that one sees the origins of the basic urban neighborhood infrastructure of Spanish-language business districts—restaurants, groceries, various kinds of shops, entertainment venues, a few professional offices, and the like—and of dwelling forms and everyday street-side conviviality around them. Ethnic Mexicans and other Hispanics were also eager to gather in welcoming church parishes and to establish schools and community centers—institutions that manifested their identity in physical space and became mainstays of neighborhood life.9

Notably, however, Mexicans in major cities typically did not live in homogeneous neighborhoods in this era. Rather, they were more likely to share urban space with immigrants of other nationalities: for example, even the plaza district in Los Angeles was 40 percent non-Hispanic, and in the industrial neighborhoods where Mexicans lived in Chicago, they were easily outnumbered by European immigrants—concentrated Hispanic neighborhoods in big cities would not come about until later. In the meantime, during the Great Depression Mexican migration and settlement were severely impaired by racial hostility and ruthless repatriation and deportation campaigns; though in many cases the neighborhoods that remained would eventually serve as centers of subsequent Latino urban settlement.10

From Wartime Recruitment to Urban Renewal

Although the first third of the 20th century had witnessed significant urbanization among the nation’s Hispanic population and the establishment or expansion of their settlement in a number of larger cities, the extent of Latino urbanism was still comparatively modest. Nationally, as of 1940 Hispanics only comprised between 1 and 2 percent of the national population, the overwhelming majority of them ethnically Mexican. And only in a few large cities were they able to shape substantial parts of the urban landscape; the clearest examples of U.S. Latino urbanism were still in the borderlands, in places of long-standing Hispanic settlement such as the plaza-centered towns of South Texas, southern Arizona, and northern New Mexico.

This began to change during and after World War II as an expansion of agricultural labor recruitment fostered Latino migrations that eventually fed urban growth. The first and most important example was the Bracero Program, initiated between the United States and Mexico in 1942 to remedy the wartime labor shortage. Mexican farmworkers became an indispensable part of the war effort by supplying the armed forces with necessary foodstuffs. (The program was renewed for nearly two decades after the war’s end to satisfy the nation’s persistent demand for farm labor.) Also beginning in the 1940s, officials and employers in the United States and Puerto Rico made agreements to bring agricultural workers to the mainland. These programs were firmly focused on farm labor, but their participants were often cheated of their wages and otherwise mistreated, and they had little recourse in isolated rural areas. Many therefore quit their jobs and sought work in cities, where wages were higher in industrial and other occupations; they were also attracted by the opportunity for sociability and support in larger Spanish-speaking communities.11

The resultant growth in urban barrios followed two distinct paths. People of Mexican ancestry were drawn to many of the same cities and neighborhoods where their co-ethnics had already established areas of settlement. The Southwest predominated as before, but there was also some growth in the Midwest. Notably, the Bracero Program included a railroad division that moved many workers through and to industrial areas, strengthening migration flows from Mexico. Among Puerto Ricans, New York City became the preeminent destination for migrants, who settled throughout the city, with concentrations in northern and southern Manhattan and Brooklyn;

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Figure 7. Street scene in a predominantly Puerto Rican section of Brooklyn, New York, 1963.

Photograph by Frank Espada. Courtesty of the Rubenstein Library, Duke University.

Philadelphia was also home to a growing community of puertorriqueños. In both cases, it became more common for Latinos to live in neighborhoods in which a single group predominated.

Even as they grew, these barrios faced a new threat in the form of urban renewal and highway construction. Beginning in the late 1940s, city officials grew concerned about the spread of “urban blight,” which they defined as decaying city districts with dilapidated housing and shabby storefronts that threatened to expand into “healthy” parts of the city. These officials also believed that cities needed better highway access to outlying areas and other cities. Municipal governments eagerly applied for federal funding, especially through the Housing Acts of 1949 and 1954 and the Interstate Highway Act of 1956, which would allow them to clear and renew some neighborhoods and cut through others to make way for highways. But because of these officials’ preconceptions about poverty and race, such projects disproportionately affected poor neighborhoods, especially ones where people of color lived. Black neighborhoods were most commonly targeted, but Hispanic areas were also repeatedly razed. One example of this was Chávez Ravine, a Mexican American neighborhood in Los Angeles area that was cleared in the early 1950s and ultimately given over for the construction of Dodger Stadium; another was the Puerto Rican neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper West Side that was destroyed to make way for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. While these kinds of clearance strategies had largely fallen out of favor by the late 1960s, the damage had by then already been done in the form of dozens of Latino settlements cleared, their homeowners forced out, their businesspeople deprived of stores and clienteles, entire communities divided or scattered.12

As they struggled to maintain a place for their communities in fast-changing cities, many Latinos and Latinas turned to public art to express themselves collectively. Mexican American artists in the Southwest led the way through muralism. Mexico had emerged in the early 20th century as the global leader in this medium, and eminent proponents of muralismo such as Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros completed works throughout Mexico in the 1920s and received commissions in the United States, especially at the height of the public art movement of the 1930s. In subsequent decades Chicano artists, inspired by the aesthetic quality and political commitments of muralismo, adapted the form as a means of social protest and place making. For example, Chicano Park in San Diego originated in the late 1960s after many years of demolition, displacement, and highway construction in the surrounding Barrio Logan. As the community mobilized to preserve key parts of the neighborhood, local artists began to paint murals on the highway overpass stanchions. In the years that followed, they created dozens of scenes depicting centuries of Aztec, Spanish, Mexican, and Mexican American history and social struggle.

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Figure 8. Three murals among dozens painted and restored over nearly half a century by community artists, Chicano Park, Barrio Logan, San Diego, 2015.

Photo by Roman Eugeniusz. Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Muralismo soon spread to cities across the nation and was adopted by artists from many backgrounds, becoming arguably the most distinctive visual signature of Latino urban places.

The Era of Mass Migration Begins

Beginning in the 1960s, the Latino demography and geography of the United States changed dramatically. At the most basic level, the number of Hispanic-origin people skyrocketed, rising far beyond the few percent of the national population that they had comprised previously. Immigration increased rapidly, and what had been an overwhelmingly Mexican American population of Latinos grew more diverse, especially due to a greater influx of people from the Caribbean. This period is often called the “post-1965” era of immigration, referring to the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, which abolished the racist quotas of the National Origins Act of 1924 but also introduced the first-ever limits upon migration within the Americas. This, in effect, criminalized many previously legal migrants, especially those from Mexico. But other contemporaneous events were at least as influential, including the cancellation of the Bracero Program, the agricultural crisis in Mexico, the Cuban Revolution, and the political instability in the Dominican Republic.13

This era’s Latino migration to cities was also linked to the emergent urban crisis in the United States. As millions of predominantly white city dwellers fled to suburbia in response to desegregation and other urban social changes, they left behind a large amount of older housing stock that was relatively affordable due to its condition and location. In many cases declining neighborhoods were repopulated by Hispanic migrants and immigrants who continued to move out of the agricultural sector and into cities seeking better jobs and more welcoming communities. As they did so, they gradually transformed entire city districts by supporting housing values, opening neighborhood businesses, and filling local institutions such as churches and schools.14

Neighborhood institutions such as these became important centers of community organizing and protest for Latino social movements. In mid-1960s New York City, for example, Puerto Rican activists joined their African American neighbors in demanding equality and accountability from a public school system that kept students of color segregated and underfunded; there and in other city school systems they launched campaigns for more community control of their children’s education. Mexican Americans also demonstrated in and around schools: among the most important episodes in the Chicano movement were a series of massive “blowouts” that began in 1968 in East Los Angeles, where thousands of high school students protested against the district’s discriminatory policies and near-complete neglect of their history and culture by walking out of their classrooms and assembling around nearby parks, monuments, and other public property. Similar demonstrations were launched in the years that followed in ethnically Mexican communities nationwide, including Denver, Chicago, and Crystal City, Texas. In subsequent decades, the public space of schools and universities and the sacred space of churches were indispensable sources of protest on other issues of importance to Latino communities, including labor organizing, police misconduct, and immigrant rights.

The existing elements of Latino urbanism expanded greatly in this period as newcomers occupied and modified the preexisting building stock, often importing physical forms and cultural norms common in Latin America and adapting them to the spaces of U.S. cities. The Mexican American hybrid homescape was one example. Homes were sometimes repainted in brighter colors than the previous staid palette, and many included shrines to Catholic saints, especially La Virgen de Guadalupe. But the most prominent and important feature was perimeter fencing around the property line of what was usually a freestanding house in the center of the lot. This homescape has been interpreted as a combination of the Anglo-style detached dwelling and the Mexican courtyard house composed of a series of rooms arrayed around the periphery of its property. Functionally, these houses created an active front area, sometimes called by the Spanish neologism la yarda, that extended the space of the home out onto porches, stoops, and front lawns. Not infrequently these areas were further equipped with furniture and playsets, which allowed parents and grandparents to keep an eye on children as they played safely inside the fence, away from cars passing on the street.

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Figure 9. Three residences showing characteristic features of the Mexican American homescape, Little Village neighborhood, Chicago, 2014.

Photograph by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz.

In neighborhoods with a heavy ethnic Mexican presence, one could often see block after block in which virtually every house corresponded to this typology. Another important type of Latino space that gained prominence in this period was the Puerto Rican casita. These were small houses built in the same architectural styles seen on the island. A casita, often sited on a vacant or abandoned lot, remade the empty space into a community center, often featuring productive gardening and social events.15

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Figure 10. The Casita Rincón Criollo, 158th Street and Brook Avenue, Bronx, New York, 2012.

Photo courtesy of Molly Garfinkel for City Lore.

Another key feature of Latino urbanism in this period was its distinctive commercial landscape. Many barrios gave rise to bustling shopping districts with numerous small businesses serving a Spanish-speaking clientele who lived on nearby residential streets. These were certainly not the first of their kind, as many had existed since the Latino immigrant influx of the early 20th century. Rather, they were more extensive iterations of these, some in existing locations, others in new ones due to earlier demolitions of Hispanic barrios. As with housing, these business districts often emerged in parts of cities where whites were moving out and where their small mom-and-pop stores were being shuttered due to competition from peripheral malls and big-box stores. For Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs, older commercial spaces were well suited to their kinds of businesses—small, local, and often family-run and lightly capitalized. By the early 1980s, there were dozens of cities with Spanish-language commercial districts in which people could access a wide variety of goods and services—from restaurants, clothing stores, and shops selling devotional items to banking, legal services, and medical care—all in their own language.

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Figure 11. A single block along the Twenty-sixth Street commercial corridor in Chicago’s overwhelmingly Latino Little Village neighborhood, 2014.

Photograph by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz.

Moreover, in the aggregate, these commercial districts led to an upsurge in business activity in central cities with growing Hispanic populations, and within a decade or two such barrios became essential sources of sales tax revenue for municipal governments in dire fiscal straits after the departure of many businesses for the suburbs.

The Little Village neighborhood in Chicago offers an excellent example. In the early 1960s, the area’s longtime ethnically Czech and Polish residents were increasingly moving out to the suburbs. A local real estate broker recalled that “single-family homes were selling for $12,000 and half-blocks were selling for $50,000” and that there were scores of empty storefronts along the Twenty-sixth Street shopping corridor. Indeed, the local chamber of commerce reportedly offered to pay to wash the windows of vacant stores so that the commercial district would not look so rundown. Only the arrival of mostly Mexican and some Puerto Rican families stabilized the neighborhood, which had become more than one-third Hispanic by 1970 and almost four-fifths Hispanic by 1980. Without these newcomers, Little Village would have lost residents at an even faster rate than Detroit in its worst-ever decade of depopulation. In the years that followed, the neighborhood became the most important shopping destination for ethnic Mexicans from around the Midwest. As business boomed, local Latino and Latina entrepreneurs teamed up with the City of Chicago to build an arch over Twenty-sixth Street in the Spanish Colonial style, emblazoned with the words “Bienvenidos a Little Village.” By the turn of the millennium Crain’s Chicago Business was reporting that the Little Village shopping district had become the second most active in the city, behind only the Magnificent Mile along Michigan Avenue.16

This and other Latino neighborhoods that appeared or expanded in this period were more culturally homogeneous than before, with high percentages of Spanish-speaking or Spanish-heritage residents. While this could provide advantages to local businesses and create cohesive communities, the increased separation also entailed disparities in political representation and municipal spending. In many cities, older non-Hispanic residents were reluctant to share power with the newcomers and worked to limit officeholding among them. In some cities, Chicago among them, this was accomplished through gerrymandering and secret deals with city hall; other municipalities, including San José and Dallas, relied upon older modes of de facto disfranchisement such as at-large elections. In all cases, however, it meant that these fast-growing barrios did not benefit from a level of spending commensurate with their population and economic importance. They therefore suffered from overcrowded and underfunded schools and were forced to take direct action to pressure city officials into belatedly building new ones. Much the same happened with other kinds of spending such as for road repair, fire stations, and policing: it was an early sign of official disinvestment even in neighborhoods that Latino newcomers were saving from abandonment.

Urbanism Across the Americas

Latino neighborhoods expanded and diversified due to a new wave of immigration that began in the early 1980s and continued for a quarter-century. This period saw the acceleration of arrivals from established sending countries and also brought newcomers from a wider variety of nations in the hemisphere. The causes of this were various and included strong growth in the U.S. economy that attracted workers, the eruption of U.S.-backed civil wars in Central America, sudden changes in Cuban emigration policy, and especially the neoliberal restructuring of governments and economies across a number of Latin American nations. This led to cuts in urban employment and shifts in agricultural production, leading many Latin American city dwellers to seek opportunity in U.S. metropolitan areas and also redirecting much preexisting rural-to-urban migration from within the region toward the United States.17

As a result, the overall population of Latinos in the United States surged from 14.6 million (6.4 percent of the national population) in 1980 to 22.4 million (9 percent) in 1990 to 35.3 million (13 percent) in 2000 to 50.5 million (16 percent) in 2010. This new influx was also discernible on the streets of Latino America: Salvadoran pupuserías and Peruvian ceviche restaurants joined the existing offerings of Mexican taquerías and Caribbean cocina criolla restaurants, and the sounds of Central American punta and especially Colombian cumbia were heard on the sidewalks of increasingly multinational Hispanic barrios.

The rising number and diversity of Hispanics added impetus to another key feature of Latino urbanism—the active use of a variety of public spaces. In Latin America, public sociability on plazas and in parks and the streets had long been a cultural norm, and the arrival of millions of Latino newcomers (as well as the many other groups that were also creating thriving immigrant neighborhoods) repopulated and repurposed countless urban spaces. Ambulantes, street vendors who offered everything from popsicles to empanadas to horchata from their pushcarts, roamed barrio streets, prefiguring the subsequent mainstream popularity of food trucks. Immigrants from the many Latin American nations where fútbol was the national pastime quickly organized soccer clubs that packed players and spectators into public fields on weekends. And Latino children and their parents and grandparents thronged city parks, restoring life and vitality to areas that had often been abandoned during the long crime wave that helped define the urban crisis years. This aspect of Latino urbanism often restored the kind of street-side sociability that Jane Jacobs had celebrated in her 1961 classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Many observers had bemoaned the decline of the public realm, correctly noting the gradual but pervasive privatization of space in which middle-class people withdrew from front stoops and sidewalks into sheltered backyards, from public natatoriums to private pools, and from movie theaters to home entertainment centers. But they often overlooked the way that Latinos were reclaiming and revitalizing public spaces across the country.18

Among the most important influences on Latino urbanism in this period was the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Two major provisions in the law—border reinforcement and immigrant amnesty—crucially shaped Latin American immigrant life in U.S. cities. The militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border made it more difficult, more expensive, and more dangerous for undocumented people to move between countries. In response, migrants who previously had only sojourned in the United States instead stayed; they also brought their families with them rather than suffer long-term separation from their loved ones. In addition, their search for year-round rather than seasonal work brought more of them from rural areas to cities. Meanwhile, the law’s amnesty provision allowed about three million undocumented people nationwide to regularize their legal status. With security of residence and no fear of deportation, these immigrants were free to come out of the shadows, purchase more property, and open additional businesses—and thus even more effectively revitalized the city neighborhoods where they lived.19

These legalizations augmented an earlier trend in which Latinos established a wider variety of city-based transnational business links. In Miami, for example, the Cuban community had organized banking operations that served a substantial clientele from Latin America, and the city soon became the nation’s second most popular location for such banks; these customers also became major purchasers of real estate, contributing to a construction boom in the city.

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Figure 12. The Freedom Tower, Miami, Florida, which was used in the 1960s as a processing site for newly arrived refugees from Cuba. The city’s Cuban American community subsequently turned the site into a monument and cultural center.

Photograph by Leonard J. Francisci. Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Meanwhile, the rising number of Latinos nationwide with citizenship or permanent resident status fostered an upsurge in businesses serving people who traveled back and forth between the United States and their home countries, especially Mexico. In the nation’s barrios, import-export firms, transportation companies, travel agencies, and associated service firms flourished. For example, a study of Dallas-based bus companies operating between Mexico and the United States found that virtually all of them had been incorporated after the IRCA. More generally, the rise in entrepreneurialism could also be seen clearly in the aggregate: the Kaufman Index, an established measure of entrepreneurial activity, showed that in almost every year from 1996 through 2008, Latinos were more likely than any other demographic group to open their own businesses.20

One of the most intriguing aspects of this phase of Latino urbanism was the way it began to link the United States with Latin America in new ways. The flows of people, money, and goods across the Americas intensified significantly in the 1980s and beyond. But distant places were also tied together in the most concrete way possible: through the built environment. The clearest example was seen in Mexico, where returning migrants began to build houses in their hometowns in American architectural styles. The pitched roofs, columned porticoes, and modern kitchens that often went into such homes were U.S. vernaculars transposed back to Mexico in a sign of the cultural cachet that they carried. Over time, other aspects of the Anglo-American landscape were reproduced throughout Latin America.

Latino UrbanismClick to view larger

Figure 13. Remittance house in Jalisco, Mexico, financed by Mexican migrants working in the United States, showing the influence of Anglo-American architectural features.

Photograph courtesy of Sarah Lynn Lopez.

Among the most notable was peripheral development. Suburban-style, automobile-dependent neighborhoods had been attempted in Mexico around the mid-20th century, but with limited success. That began to change near century’s end. In a notable departure from the previous expectation that the wealthy would seek out the prestige of the center city while the poor would occupy informal housing at the periphery, developers and prosperous elites in places such as Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil began to build homes and patronize stores located at the edges of their cities. The adaptation of culturally specific urbanisms across the border between Latin and Anglo America was thus becoming fully reciprocal.21

Into the Present

Since the late 1990s, Latino urbanism has become an important category of inquiry and practice in a number of fields, including planning, architecture, governance, and real estate. A number of city planners have emphasized how key features of most barrios—especially their density, walkability, mixed uses, public orientation, and small carbon footprint—exemplify the kind of urbanism essential to a future threatened by wasteful sprawl, fraying social fabric, and dangerous climate change. They often point out that Latino urbanism, which is already existing, non-elite, and participatory, is a more feasible alternative to New Urbanism, which shares the goal of smarter, more sustainable cities and suburbs but has been criticized as elitist and over-reliant on the built environment to modify people’s behavior. Some architects and planners, meanwhile, have deployed Latino-inspired plazas, shopping areas, and parks in order to show how well they function as parts of new developments and infill projects. Others have adapted vernacular uses from Latino and Latin American homes and workplaces as they design spaces to better accommodate and serve the fast-growing Hispanic population of U.S. metropolitan areas. They have been joined by municipal officials and local boosters who have sponsored initiatives to attract and integrate Latinos and other immigrants to their cities, foster growth and stability in their neighborhoods, and shield them from arbitrary and counterproductive forms of enforcement.22

Latino UrbanismClick to view larger

Figure 14. March in support of the rights of immigrants and migrants, Los Angeles, California, May 1, 2006.

Photograph by Jonathan McIntosh. Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.5).

Notably, the years of the most rapid U.S. Latino population growth have coincided with a period of dramatic decline in the nation’s crime rate, especially in cities with large numbers of immigrants. Urban sociologists have investigated what the relationship could be between these phenomena using sophisticated geodata techniques—essentially by mapping where and when crimes take place, where foreign-born people live and work, and their respective demographic characteristics. These studies have clearly demonstrated that the presence of immigrants has corresponded to significantly lower rates of many crimes; in addition, this protective effect is not limited to immigrants themselves but also to those who live in or adjacent to their neighborhoods (by far the largest contingent among these immigrants have been from Latin America, but the findings are similar for those from elsewhere in the world). Another line of research using incarceration records yielded similar findings, for example that American-born men were five times more likely to be imprisoned than men born in Mexico, and seven times more likely than men from El Salvador and Guatemala. Researchers have yet to settle on the causes behind these findings, but some have proposed that Latino urbanism may have played a role, since other studies have found that the spatial and social organization of Hispanic neighborhoods have offered protection against heatstroke fatalities, mental illness, childhood asthma, and other conditions.23

In a number of cities, Latino urbanism has been threatened by gentrification. Over the course of decades of immigration and migration, millions of Latino city dwellers have turned once-dying neighborhoods into viable urban communities, thereby preserving numerous historic districts. However, these very neighborhoods have become appealing to well-to-do people, the great majority of them non-Hispanic whites, who want to live in places with “character.” In many cases, real estate developers have exploited barrios through marketing campaigns that commodify Latino cultures and aesthetics as amenities in upscale real estate products—the effect of which is to push up the cost of living, making it difficult for working-class Latino families to stay in the communities they created. Among the best-known examples are found in the Mission District in San Francisco, Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights, and New York City’s Washington Heights, the heavily Dominican American neighborhood that served as the setting for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical, In The Heights (2005), in which gentrification was a central theme. While the population and extent of Latino neighborhoods in U.S. cities have grown more quickly than the incursions of gentrifiers, the prospect of displacement in some of the most vital barrios in the nation has generated a great deal of local organizing around issues of affordable housing and community sustainability.24

Cities have been the most important sites of Latino urbanism, but its influence has gradually extended throughout metropolitan areas and even to exurban and rural places across the country. Late in the 20th century, the outward migration of U.S.-born Latinos combined with a growing number of Latin American newcomers who immigrated directly to suburbia, resulting in fast-growing populations around major cities. For example, Westchester County, the closest suburban area north of New York City, is now about one-quarter Hispanic. And while suburbs are typically much less dense than cities, they include older satellite cities that have been resettled and revitalized by Latinos: the Westchester town of Port Chester, which includes a high-density industrial downtown that grew up around a harbor and a railway line, is now nearly half Latino, about the same percentage as Los Angeles itself. Another vector of migration has taken migrants from countries such as Mexico and Guatemala to towns on the Great Plains and hamlets in the rural Southeast, where they have found work in food processing and light manufacturing and where they have opened businesses on tiny main streets and set their children to play on courthouse squares—giving nearly extinct communities a new lease on life. In sum, Latino urbanism has grown into a nationwide phenomenon and a national resource—one that can be cultivated to our shared benefit, or squandered to our ultimate detriment.25

Discussion of the Literature

The historical study of Latino urbanism has involved scholars in a number of fields, each with its own intellectual trajectory and major questions. These literatures have often drawn on common sources and assumptions, however, and working together their authors have greatly improved our understanding of the subject.

The clearest historical genealogy for Latino urbanism originates with some of the founding texts of Chicano and Mexican American history. In Occupied America (1972), Rodolfo Acuña demonstrated that conflicts over territory were central to the history of the U.S. Southwest, emphasizing the struggles of ethnically Mexican communities as their lands were overrun by Anglos; in A Community Under Siege (1984), he showed how such struggles played out in the urban space of Los Angeles. Albert Camarillo’s Chicanos in a Changing Society (1979) paid close attention to the way power relations were manifested in the spatial reorganization of towns and cities following the U.S. invasion and annexation of northern Mexico. (Notably, these approaches to land and identity in the West became foundational parts of a new Western history that defined the “frontier” as a territory of violent conquest rather than a place of freedom and opportunity.) In addition to the way that borders crossed people, another line of research emphasized how people crossed borders, focusing on migration and immigration from Mexico and the ways that newcomers formed identity and constructed communities in physical space. These histories often focused on the origins and meaning of the barrio, documenting the way it was created by aggressive expropriation and segregation perpetrated against ethnic Mexicans. But these histories also considered how they used this disadvantaged space to create neighborhood institutions and movements that could help them make their way in a hostile society. Other key works on Latinos, such as Virginia Sánchez Korrol’s From Colonia to Community and María Cristina García’s Havana U.S.A., also emphasized community and place identity, though with less emphasis on the urban fabric, since Puerto Ricans and Cubans largely arrived in already-existing Anglo cities rather than defending long-standing Hispanic landscapes.

The idea of Latino urbanism as a distinct and identifiable set of spaces and behaviors that develop over time also has origins in cultural landscape studies, historical geography, and vernacular architecture. Scholars in these fields have defined cultural regions, catalogued their particular architectural and other material-culture characteristics, and debated what this has revealed about the people who created and recreated them. One early example was J. B. Jackson’s “Chihuahua as we Might Have Been” (1951), which surveyed the different built environments on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border and the reasons why these landscapes diverged even though they shared the same ecological and geological space. Other scholars, including Daniel Arreola and Chris Wilson, have done fieldwork in South Texas and New Mexico to identify and record landscapes built along mixed Spanish, Indigenous, and Mexican lines. They have shown how these landscapes have both persisted and eroded—combining with Anglo forms and also being reinvented or reintroduced by Anglos migrating westward and Mexicans migrating northward. Most recently, Sarah Lynn Lopez’s The Remittance Landscape has shown how the migration of rural Mexicans to the United States has created new transnational vernaculars, with Anglo-American design elements and enacted spatial behaviors being re-exported back to small-town Mexico.

City planning scholars and practitioners have focused more intently on Latino urbanism than people in any other discipline, using the term most consistently and regularly applying it to their design work. This is mainly because planners have been clearly oriented to the present and future: they look to the past to establish the lineage of Latino urbanism, but the majority of their collective energies are devoted to planning and architectural solutions. Key works in the field laid the groundwork by criticizing the majority of planners and planning programs for their Eurocentrism and consequent narrowness of vision when it came to professional practice. This was accompanied by the even more important task of looking around cities (especially Los Angeles, the unofficial capital of Latino America), identifying actually existing elements of Latino urbanism—plazas, portales, murals, parks, ambulatory vendors, walkability, and density, among others—and showing how they have met people’s practical needs. These Latino urbanistic resources were then available for use in actual projects in cities and suburbs, whether in existing barrios or in places with few Latinos but a need to densify the urban fabric, promote pedestrian use, enliven the streetscape, and create opportunities for entrepreneurship. Often such projects become the subject of additional publications, since the evaluation of Latino urbanism-derived planning solutions is an expected part of the cycle of study, planning, construction, and critique.

With the recent growth of a specialized subfield of Latino urban history has come greater attention to the broader historical processes within which Latinos have created their landscapes. In some cases this has been studied in U.S.-Mexico borderlands cities in places such as California, Texas, and Arizona, where local place identity and spatial inequality have been shaped by long-standing crossborder flows of workers, capital, and culture, as with William Deverell’s Whitewashed Adobe, Monica Perales’s Smeltertown, and Geraldo Cadava’s Standing on Common Ground. In others, Latinos have had to create neighborhoods and negotiate their identities in places where most people understood race in terms of black or white, as with the Puerto Ricans and Mexicans of Chicago in Lilia Fernández’s Brown in the Windy City. The transnational dynamics that connect distant municipalities together has also been an area of rising interest; Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof’s A Tale of Two Cities demonstrates how Dominican neighborhoods in New York City and those in the capital of Santo Domingo have for decades been engaged in a multifaceted process of mutual influence. Other works in progress feature Latino communities in smaller cities and other less widely recognized destinations for Latin American migrants.

Primary Sources

The sheer geographic and chronological extent of Latino urbanism is so vast that any account of the sources used to study it is necessarily partial. The study of urbanism is much more visual and architectural than most other fields of conventional history: purely textual sources are only part of the record and must be supplemented with images and, whenever possible, actual site visits. For an online introduction, there are about two hundred Hispanic sites documented in the Library of Congress by the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey of the National Parks Service.

The Native American planning and architectural legacy that form part of Latino urbanism are still visible in pre-Columbian sites across Latin America and the United States and ranging in size from the pyramid complex at Teotihuacán, Mexico, to the Pueblo structures at places such as Acoma and Taos, New Mexico. Spanish city planning in the Americas is detailed in text in the Recopilación de Leyes de Indias and shown visually in maps and drawings from the colonial period such as José Urrutia’s 1766 plan of Santa Fe in what eventually became New Mexico. The missions, presidios, and pueblos that facilitated the colonizing project are well documented historically, and many still remain in some form in places across the U.S. Southwest; in addition, there are scores of extant plaza-centered towns in the region. These sites also show how the preexisting palimpsest of Indigenous and subsequent Spanish urban landscapes were once again overlaid by the human geography of Anglo America.

In the post-1848 period, documentation from U.S. sources comes into play. As its statistical categories became more detailed and the manuscript census more complete, the Census Bureau increasingly compiled information on the geographic distribution of Latinos. Spanish surnames are apparent on the original enumerators’ forms in the manuscript census, showing a great deal about Hispanic settlement, family structure, type of residence, and occupation. Starting in the mid-20th century, the statistical tables begin to categorize the population using ethnic or national markers—Spanish language, Spanish heritage, foreign-born by nation of birth, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and the like—that make it increasingly easy to identify the concentration, persistence, and growth of Latino populations down to the level of census tracts containing thousands of people. For further details, see the data available online through the United States Census Bureau.

Having located a substantial Latino presence, a researcher can then use some of the basic sources in the field to learn more about the community: parish records; community organization archives; reportage from newspapers and magazines, whether the “mainstream” variety or the Spanish or English work of Latino publishers; reports by municipal authorities; and immigration and naturalization records. Because people who were workingclass or immigrants (or both) often had little opportunity to author conventional written sources, oral histories have become a regular feature of work on Latino history. In some cases historians have recorded their own interviews, and in others have depended on archival holdings of oral histories such as those at UCLA, the University of Texas, and the University of Florida.

The urbanistic aspects of Latino communities are also recorded in visual sources. State archives and local historical societies typically have photographic collections organized by subject and neighborhood, sometimes including by ethnicity. Local organizations such as the Dallas Mexican American Historical League have undertaken efforts to digitize photographs from community members’ personal and family collections, creating the possibility of a much more detailed visual record of Latino life. City planning agencies often commissioned reports on neighborhoods that included maps of ethnoracial settlement areas combined with surveys or statistical reports. And some municipalities systematically photographed properties by block or neighborhood, adding to the available visual evidence. Online resources related to Latina and Latino studies continue to grow; the Yale University Library maintains a guide to some of these, and the Smithsonian Latino Center maintains a Virtual Museum. For the most up-to-date visual information on Latino urbanism, however, there is no substitute for walking around the barrio oneself.

Further Reading

Acuña, Rodolfo. A Community Under Siege: The Chronicle of Chicanos East of the Los Angeles River, 1945–1975. Los Angeles: Chicano Research Study Center Publications, 1984.Find this resource:

    Arreola, Daniel. Tejano South Texas: A Mexican American Cultural Province. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.Find this resource:

      Cadava, Geraldo L. Standing on Common Ground. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

        Camarillo, Albert. Chicanos in a Changing Society: From Mexican Pueblos to American Barrios, 1850–1930. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979.Find this resource:

          Dávila, Arlene R. Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.Find this resource:

            Davis, Mike. Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. Big City. London: Verso, 2000.Find this resource:

              Deverell, William. Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.Find this resource:

                Diaz, David R. Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning, and American Cities. New York: Routledge, 2005.Find this resource:

                  Diaz, David R., and Rodolfo D. Torres. Latino Urbanism: The Politics of Planning, Policy and Redevelopment. New York: New York University Press, 2012.Find this resource:

                    Fernández, Lilia. Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.Find this resource:

                      García, Matt. A World of its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.Find this resource:

                        Hoffnung-Garskof, Jesse: A Tale of Two Cities: Santo Domingo and New York after 1950. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

                          Jackson, J. B. “Chihuahua as We Might Have Been.” In Landscape in Sight: Looking at America. Edited by Helen Horowitz. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.Find this resource:

                            Leclerc, Gustavo, Raúl Villa, and Michael J. Dear, eds. Latino Urban Cultures: La Vida Latina en L.A. Thousand Oaks, CA: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999.Find this resource:

                              Londoño, Johana. “Barrio Affinities: Transnational Inspiration and the Geopolitics of Latina/o Design.” American Quarterly 66 (2014).Find this resource:

                                Lopez, Sarah Lynn. The Remittance Landscape: Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.Find this resource:

                                  Mendez, Michael. “Latino New Urbanism: Building on Cultural Preferences.” Opolis 1 (2005).Find this resource:

                                    Perales, Monica. Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.Find this resource:

                                      Portes, Alejandro, and Alex Stepick. City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.Find this resource:

                                        Rios, Michael, Leonardo Vazquez, and Lucrezia Miranda, eds. Diálogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities. New York: Routledge, 2012.Find this resource:

                                          Rojas, James. “The Enacted Environment: The Creation of ‘Place’ by Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.” Master’s thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991.Find this resource:

                                            Sánchez, George J. Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

                                              Sandoval-Strausz, A. K., “Latino Landscapes: Postwar Cities and the Transnational Origins of a New Urban America.” Journal of American History 101 (December 2014).Find this resource:

                                                Valle, Victor M., and Rodolfo D. Torres. Latino Metropolis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.Find this resource:

                                                  Wilson, Chris. The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.Find this resource:


                                                    (1.) Michael P. Conzen, ed., The Making of the American Landscape, 2d ed. (New York: Routledge, 2010).

                                                    (2.) Dora P. Crouch, Daniel J. Garr, and Axel I. Mundigo, Spanish City Planning in North America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982).

                                                    (3.) Chris Wilson and Stefanos Polyzoides, eds., The Plazas of New Mexico (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2011); and Setha M. Low, On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000).

                                                    (4.) William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).

                                                    (5.) Samuel Truett, Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006); and Daniel D. Arreola, Postcards from the Rio Bravo Border: Picturing the Place, Placing the Picture, 1900s–1950s (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013).

                                                    (6.) Matt García, A World of its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

                                                    (7.) George J. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

                                                    (8.) Zaragoza Vargas, Proletarians of the North: Mexican Industrial Workers in Detroit and the Midwest, 1917–1933 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); and Gabriela Arredondo, Mexican Chicago: Race, identity and Nation, 1916–39 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008).

                                                    (9.) Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American; Michael Innis-Jiménez, Steel Barrio: The Great Mexican Migration to South Chicago, 1915–1920 (New York: New York University Press, 2013).

                                                    (10.) Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American.

                                                    (11.) Deborah Cohen, Braceros: Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in the Postwar United States and Mexico (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011); and Carmen Teresa Whalen, From Puerto Rico to Philadelphia: Puerto Rican Workers and Postwar Economies (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001).

                                                    (12.) Eric Avila, The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

                                                    (13.) Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

                                                    (14.) A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, “Latino Landscapes: Postwar Cities and the Transnational Origins of a New Urban America,” Journal of American History 101 (December 2014): 804–831.

                                                    (15.) Daniel Arreola, “Mexican American Housescapes,” Geographical Review 78.3 (1988): 300–301; and James Rojas, “The Enacted Environment: The Creation of ‘Place’ by Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles” (Master’s thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991).

                                                    (16.) A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, Migrantes, Negocios, and Infraestructura: Transnational Urban Revitalization in Chicago,” in Immigration and Metropolitan Revitalization, eds. Thomas J. Sugrue and Domenic Vitiello (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

                                                    (17.) Alejandro Portes and Kelly Hoffman, “Latin American Class Structures,” Latin American Research Review 38 (2003): 41–82.

                                                    (18.) Sandoval-Strausz, “Latino Landscapes.”

                                                    (19.) Jorge Durand, Douglas S. Massey, and Emilio A. Parrado, “The New Era of Mexican Migration to the United States,” Journal of American History 86 (1999), 518–536; and Sandoval-Strausz, “Latino Landscapes.”

                                                    (20.) Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick, City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Robert Kemper, et al., “From Undocumented Camionetas (Mini-Vans) to Federally Regulated Motor Carriers,” Urban Anthropology 36 (2007); and Richard T. Herman and Robert L. Smith, Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (New York: Wiley, 2010).

                                                    (21.) Sarah Lynn Lopez, The Remittance Landscape: Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); and Lawrence A. Herzog, Global Suburbs: Urban Sprawl from the Rio Grande to Rio de Janeiro (New York: Routledge, 2015).

                                                    (22.) Gustavo Leclerc, Raúl Villa, and Michael J. Dear, eds., Latino Urban Cultures: La Vida Latina en L.A. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999); Victor Valle and Rodolfo Torres, Latino Metropolis (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000); David R. Díaz, Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning, and American Cities (New York: Routledge, 2005); Mendez, Michael. “Latino New Urbanism: Building on Cultural Preferences. Opolis 1 (2005); and Michael Rios, Leonardo Vazquez, and Lucrezia Miranda, eds., Diálogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities (New York: Routledge, 2012). Available online.

                                                    (23.) Robert Sampson, “Rethinking Crime and Immigration,” Contexts 7 (2008), 28–33; Rubén G. Rumbaut and Walter A. Ewing, “The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation: Incarceration Rates among Native and Foreign-Born Men,” Immigration Policy Center Special Report (Washington: American Immigration Law Foundation, 2007); Eric Klinenberg, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); and Kyriakos Markides and Jeannine Coreil, “The Health of Hispanics in the Southwestern United States: An Epidemiologic Paradox,” Public Health Reports 101.3 (1986): 253–265.

                                                    (24.) Arlene Dávila, Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); and Johana Londoño, “Barrio Affinities: Transnational Inspiration and the Geopolitics of Latina/o Design,” American Quarterly 66 (2014).

                                                    (25.) Audrey Singer, Susan W. Hardwick, and Caroline B. Brettell, eds., Twenty-First Century Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburban America (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2008); Daniel Arreola, ed., Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004); and Owen J. Furuseth and Heather A. Smith, eds., Latinos in the New South: Transformations of Place (New York: Routledge, 2006).