Cities Under Lockdown: Mobility and Access Inequalities Stemming from COVID-19 in Urban Colombia

Oviedo Hernandez, Daniel;

Guzman, Luis;

Arellana, Julian;

Sabogal, Orlando;

Scholl, Lynn;


Cities Under Lockdown: Mobility and Access Inequalities Stemming from COVID-19 in Urban Colombia.

In: Attard, Maria and Mulley, Corinne, (eds.)
Transport and Pandemic Experiences.
(pp. 107-126).

Emerald Publishing Limited: Bingley, UK.


The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities have transformed the lives of urban societies across the globe. One of such effects has been the redefinition of access and urban mobility patterns, exposing divides and inequalities along the lines of class, gender and social positions. In Latin America, long-term lockdowns and widespread containment-oriented restrictions have deepened already acute conditions of poverty and deprivation. Low-income and socially vulnerable households and individuals in countries such as Colombia find themselves unable, or in a disadvantaged position, to work from home, access goods and services securely and avoid transport modes that increase exposure to contagion. This chapter examines inequalities in urban mobility and access to essential opportunities in urban settings in Colombia, through data collected from 3,900 respondents to a web survey organised during the national lockdown in the country in April 2020. The chapter presents a Latent Class Analysis model exploring how intersecting differences in class, gender, ethnicity, age and other relevant socioeconomic characteristics, influence the degree of adaptability and capacity to adapt to the challenging conditions posed by COVID-19 for physical travel and carrying out everyday activities. Building on three distinct classes of mobility and access-related conditions, the chapter reflects on structural inequalities associated with Colombian cities’ urban form, functional and productive structures and its wide social gaps. The chapter builds on empirical findings to reflect on urban policy and discuss avenues for addressing social and spatial inequalities worsened by the pandemic.

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