Peri-urban land grabbing in Colombia

Blog post published on the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development’s website (available here) on our publication: Feola, G., Suzunaga, J., Soler, J., Goodman M.K. (In press). Ordinary land grabbing in peri-urban spaces: land conflicts and governance in a small Colombian cityGeoforum, DOI:


New article/Nuevo artículo: Ordinary land grabbing in peri-urban spaces: land conflicts and governance in a small Colombian city

Feola, G., Suzunaga, J., Soler, J., Goodman M.K. (In press). Ordinary land grabbing in peri-urban spaces: land conflicts and governance in a small Colombian cityGeoforum, DOI:


Emerging scholarship on urban land grabbing has urged researchers to take more nuanced perspectives on land appropriation. There is the need to understand the actions of and interactions amongst a multiplicity of local actors—beyond large-scale investors and global cities—when considering land grabs in the spaces of urban development. Therefore, this paper analyses what we conceptualise as the more ‘gradual’ and ‘ordinary’ dynamics of land dispossession in the peri-urban spaces of the small-scale city of Sogamoso, Colombia. Based on 38 semi-structured key-informant interviews, we explore everyday actions, actors and power relations involved in urban expansionism, mining, farming and ecosystems conservation as these activities seek to coexist and compete for the same, relatively sparse amount of peri-urban space. We find that land appropriation is facilitated by multi-level policy incoherence and the failures of municipal governance. Policy incoherence results in normative uncertainty and weak environmental governance, while a lack of coordinated municipal governance in peri-urban spaces leads to further small scale, ‘ordinary’ and therefore ‘invisible’ conflicts, to the detriment of citizens’ livelihoods. This paper contributes to understanding spatially differentiated urban land appropriation, and its articulation with local, gradual, subtle and more hidden land use conflicts, governance regimes and power relations at the scales of the everyday. Our findings suggest the need to theorize urban land grab also as a result of ordinary, place-based, quotidian dynamics that emerge from governance problematics, including policy incoherence, and land use conflicts, and from the intersection of a more diverse set of drivers, mechanisms and actors than discussed in the extant literature with focus on large urban centres.

Nuevo articulo/new article: Contra la indiferencia: un llamado para la participación civil en el posconflicto en Colombia

Feola, G. 2018. Contra la indiferencia: un llamado para la participación  civil en el posconflicto en ColombiaRevista Ciudad Paz-ando, 11(1): 51-61. (English translation here).


El acuerdo de paz del 2016 fue recibido con indiferencia por gran parte de la población colombiana. Este articulo sugiere que la indiferencia tiene que ver con fracturas estructurales en la sociedad colombiana. Se presentan cuatro tesis contra la indiferencia: (i) las limitaciones del acuerdo de paz no eliminan su potencial de generar cambio; (ii) la presión de la sociedad civil puede responsabilizar a los que están en poder por la realización del acuerdo de paz; iii) la sociedad civil puede apropiarse del proceso de paz e influir en su construcción; (iv) la construcción de la paz es una oportunidad no sólo para construir paz, sino para dar forma a un país más diverso, inclusivo, democrático, digno, y ambientalmente consciente.


The peace accord of 2016 was received with substantial indifference by a large part of the Colombian population. This article suggests that indifference relates to fractures in Colombian Society. Four theses against indifference are put forward: (i) the limitations of the peace accord do not eliminate its potential for change; (ii) pressure from the civil society and the public can hold those in power accountable for the realisation of the peace accord; (iii) the civil society and the public can appropriate the peace process and influence peacebuilding; (iv) peacebuilding is the opportunity not only to build peace, but to newly shape a more diverse, inclusive, democratic, dignifying and environmentally-conscious Colombia.