Luis Tsukayama-Cisneros's public scholarship, photography and visual documentation
The city of Lima is located on the Pacific coast. This is a view from the coast line of one of Lima's most modern and cosmopolitan neighborhoods, Miraflores, a traditional high-class district which has the second highest cost of land per square meter in Peru.
In the mid-2000s, along with the gastronomic boom, the explosive growth of Peru's economy was led in great part due to the growth of the construction industry (as well as the export of mineral resources). Whilst there are buildings that date back from the early 1980s, the area looking onto the seaside was built on very rapidly. Nowadays these properties are among the most expensive in the country, and their inhabitants (as it is in the rest of Miraflores) are among the top earners in the country. Miraflores, more than almost any other district in Lima, is full of green and public spaces, and its crime levels are among the lowest in the city and the country.
Miraflores's neighboring district, San Isidro, is also a high-income district. Both districts, along with others such as San Borja, La Molina and Surco, are widely seen by Limeños as the "modern Lima." The skyline of tall buildings of these districts are also easy to spot.
In terms of space, the city of Lima is at least 7 times bigger than "modern Lima". In this picture one can see the tall buildings of Miraflores and San Isidro in the distance, close to the sea. Lima is built on a "wet dessert," a desert with little access to potable water, with soft land, but with high levels of humidity. The city has as its natural boundaries the sea on the west, and the tall mountains that slowly become part of the Andes on the east.
Looking to the other side (towards the east) it is possible to see how the city has grown to urbanize the hill sides. This growth occurred starting in the 1940s, when mass migrations from the countryside of Peru began to take place. The city of Lima had roughly 300,000 inhabitants in the mid 1940s, but its population has grown to be almost a total of 10 million in 2017. Nowadays 33% of the entire population of Peru lives in the so-called Metropolitan Lima. The city was neither structurally nor culturally prepared for this enormous change in little over 50 years.
This is Cerro San Cristobal, the top of which is one of Lima's highest points (and where the previous pictures were taken). The informal urbanization of the hill by immigrants was among the first ones to take place in the 1950s. It is within walking distance from the historical center of Lima (founded in 1532). Much of this urbanization process, like the great majority of Lima, began without the aid of the government, and it was done through association of migrants, whose members usually migrated from the same areas of the country and who could easily establish networks of mutual collaboration.
A closer view of what the buildings in this area look like.
A map of the growth of Metropolitan Lima since the 1940s. Notice how the hills are the natural limits to the horizontal expansion of the city.
A map of the different "Limas" within Lima, and the percentage of Limeños who live in each of them
A income map of Lima. Blue is richest, red the poorest (data until 1993). Notice how the neighborhoods largely follow a pattern of income. Modern Lima has traditionally been majoritarian populated by Limeños whose families either are "traditional" Limeños (mostly white), foreign immigrants (mostly European, but there has also been big waves of Japanese and Chinese migrations in the late 19th century and early 20th century) and early immigrants to the city (pre-1950s). In that sense, migrants and new settlers became the inhabitants of what in the middle of the 20th century was the periphery of Lima.
Even though things have been changing for the past 18 years of so, by and large the city growth throughout the 20th century was designed according to class and race lines: traditional limeños and foreign immigrants in modern Lima, and Andean migrants on the periphery. Initial mutual distrust between these groups, the development of differentiated economic and entertainment centers throughout the city, and a very inefficient public transportation system means that until now the great majority of Limeños seldom spend time in areas outside of their own. People from modern Lima are often discouraged to go outside of their own neighborhoods for fear of crime (or any other cultural or economic incentive) and vice versa.
In this picture, a very common sight: gated communities and controlled access to residential areas of even Lima's poorest neighborhoods.