The Bartlett School of Planning


Cristobal Diaz Martinez

Research subject

New voucher programs for low-income families in Santiago and Valparaiso: residential mobility or struggle against segregation?

Primary supervisor: Dr Sonia Arbaci
Secondary supervisor: Dr Nicola Livingstone
Sponsor: Becas Chile
Start date: September 2019
Projected completion date: September 2023

Cristobal Martinez profile picture

Santiago and Valparaiso are two of the three most unequal urban areas in Chile (Mac-Clure,2011). Informal housing strategies such as co-residence (allegamientoin Santiago and self-built settlements (campamentosin Valparaiso have increased at levels only comparable with the 1980s (Techo, 2018) and housing policies seem not to alleviate the lack of housing for low-income families. The previous make relevant to find out the effectiveness of recent voucher housing policies in promoting residential mobility, desegregation and access to housing in both cities.

The research aims to understand the interplay among three sociospatial processes: Residential Segregation, Residential Mobility and Housing Production. The latter with an emphasis on informal housing strategies and recent housing policies in the metropolitan areas of Santiago and Valparaiso, for the period 1992-2017.

A historical analysis of segregation and housing production will be conducted in both cities. An assessment of recent housing policies such as the “Chao Suegra” rental subsidy and “2nd chance” social housing subsidy will be developed. The previous, in order to understand the effectiveness of the housing programs.

The success of the policies in promoting access to housing in low-income families will interact with the formal/informal housing strategies they pursue and the dynamics of residential segregation (patterns, resistances). The research will contribute to a comprehensive analysis of segregation and its structural factors, in order to develop a research line in Chilean and Latin-American cities, under a comparative contextual divergence perspective.

The relevance of this work is its contribution to decolonise the debate on segregation, developing contextualised analysis in Chile and Latin America, considering historical factors such as informality, the inclusion of vouchers in housing policies and residential mobility recent changes.


Cristobal Diaz (Chile), Bachelor degree in History, Geography and Social Sciences (Universidad de Santiago de Chile) and Master degree in Urban Development (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile). Professional experience as school and university teacher, research assistant in urban studies and geography projects, participation in seminars and publications. Research student of the Planning Studies MPhil/PhD since September 2019 and part of the research group on Cities, Governance and Planning.


2019: “The overflowing of institutionality and the new citizen territoriality”. Institute of Housing, Universidad de Chile. In https://invi.uchilefau.cl/el-desborde-de-la-institucionalidad-y-la-nueva-territorialidad-ciudadana/

2018: “Explosión inmobiliaria en Estación Central y proyecto Nueva Alameda Providencia: posibilidades de contribución al espacio público”. Revista PLANEO, No35, marzo, Latindex, ISSN: 0719-2932. In http://revistaplaneo.cl/2018/04/25/explosion-inmobiliaria-en-estacion-central-y-proyecto-nueva-alameda-providencia-posibilidades-de-contribucion-al-espacio-publico/

2016: “Rancagua: la universidad, la descentralización y las posibilidades como polo de desarrollo regional”, en Revista Planeo, No27, abril, Latindex, ISSN: 0719-2932. In http://revistaplaneo.cl/2016/04/04/rancagua-la-universidad-la-descentralizacion-y-las-posibilidades-como-polo-de-desarrollo-regional/

Conference papers/presentations

2020: “Housing crisis and recent housing policies in Santiago and Buenos Aires: new subsidies as an opportunity for the poor or the market?” Presentation in the session “Who is governing Latin American cities? Exploring contemporary urban development processes from a comparative perspective, in conference SLAS2020: Mind the gap: strengthening connections in Latin American Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

2019: “(Not so) new geographies of housing in Santiago de Chile and recent housing policies: deepening segregation or improving residential mobility?” Presentation in COES and LSE Conference 2019: Inequalities, conflict and change: perspectives and cases from Latin America, Panel 6: Segregation and urban inequalities.

2017: “Conocimiento espacial, SIG y Geografía en terreno para una educación interdisciplinar”. Presentation in Seminar: El rol de las didácticas específicas en la formación de profesores, Universidad de Santiago de Chile.


2017-2018: Centre of Educational Policies and Pedagogical Research (CPEIP, Chile). Professor and lecturer in the postgraduate course for primary teachers “Geography in primary education: experiences and resources”.

2016-2018: Universidad Diego Portales (UDP, Chile), module on Geography for undergraduate level.

2015-2017: Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH, Chile), various modules on Geography, Urban studies and education.

Related Links

COES (Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión social) PhD research student, https://coes.cl/integrantes/cristobal-diaz/

RED de Estudios para la profundización democrática. Collaborator,