Arequipa is a large secondary city in southern Peru. With over one million inhabitants, it is the country’s second largest city by population and second most important by economic power after the capital Lima. Situated on the Rio Chili and at the foot of the partially active volcanoes Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu, much of the land is extremely dry. Rain usually falls only one month a year, and the city’s water supply is problematic in the long term. Arequipa was founded as a Spanish colony in 1540, but the fertile strip of land around the Rio Chili played an important role for the Inca much earlier. What remains from the colonial era is the historic city centre, which is now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together with the nearby Colca Canyon, it attracts a large number of tourists to the city. However, the largest and most important employer besides the public sector is the Cerro Verde mine in the south of the city.
Other mines and production sites of larger companies make Arequipa the second most important industrial location in the country. The city is also a commercial and service centre, including the heavily privatised health and education sectors. The agricultural sector also plays an important role. Due to its economic strength, Arequipa is the destination of many migrants, especially from the economically weaker Peruvian regions north of the city. This leads to an increase in population and a strong expansion of settlement areas, especially through land invasion by the population. The subsequent formalisation of these processes and the fight against land trafficking are among the current challenges of local administration and politics.
FIELDWORK IN PERÚ
Christian Rosen was on a first fieldwork trip from April to June this year. Focusing our project, he examindes three different neighborhoods in terms of watersupply structures and mobility services. Find out more about “Casa Huerta las Lomas del Cural” in Cerro Colorado, “Àngeles de la Cruz” in Sachaca, “Peregrinos de Chapi” in Yarabamba and Christians trip, his reports and experiences in our blog.
First impressions from fieldwork in Arequipa
Exploring our neighborhoods in Arequipa
The struggle for land titles: Protest march of the people of Peregrinos de Chapi