This symposium looks at the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) as a point of departure for an ample discussion regarding the diverse models of urbanism that emerge at the intersection of resource extraction and regional integration projects (primarily through mobility corridors).

Initiated by former Brazilian president Fernando Enrique Cardoso in 2000 and rapidly endorsed by the eleven other South American nations, IIRSA—a comprehensive energy, transport, and communications network —is the most aggressive transcontinental integration project ever planned for South America. Through the systematic deployment of ten east-west infrastructural corridors, the initiative is sidelining the Americas’ time-honored north-south axis—exemplified by the Pan-American Highway—to provide Brazil, which occupies almost 50% of South America’s surface, access to ports along the Pacific and to give its flourishing economy stronger trading ties with Asia, while providing means of entering to remote regions that have untapped surface and subsurface natural resources. With a projected investment surpassing US$83 billion in June 2010, a total projected investment of $96 billion, and an expansive portfolio of projects (10% are completed, and over 33% are under construction), the scope and ambition of IIRSA is having an unprecedented effect in reconfiguring the urban and rural dynamics of the South American hinterland.

The ultimate objective of the symposium is to shed light on alternative physical, operative and experiential identities
for the South American hinterland and search for models of urbanization that go beyond purely utilitarian resource extraction and the deployment of mono-functional infrastructure, casting new light on well tempered models of urbanization that can spin off from such a vast continental undertaking.

Felipe Correa, Assistant Professor of Urban Design and Director, Urban Design Programs, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Ana Maria Durán Calisto, Loeb Fellow ‘11, Harvard Graduate School of Design; co-Principal Estudio A0

This event is free and open to the public


Participants in the conference will address 4 specific lines of research that are fundamental to the development of a conceptual framework for the region. Each topic will be discussed in a panel format.

Download the Conference Poster here


  1. Most of the gold ore are being acquired by Britain's treasury to be smelted into gold coins uk. I hope the earnings trickle down to the micro economic development of South America.

  2. One problem with developing South America is that a huge part of those hinterlands are either swampy or underwater for nearly half the year. Laying down the concrete is one thing, keeping it in decent shape is another. I can already imagine how much will have to be spent on concrete repair alone.