Villa El Salvador

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Villa El Salvador

An urban residential district on the outskirts of Lima, Villa El Salvador (VES) has become an international symbol of community-based development and citizen participation. VES began in 1971 as a land invasion in the flat, sandy dunes of southern Lima to meet the needs of homeless families from Lima's slums and newly arrived migrants from the countryside. Initially a pet project of the reformist military government of Juan Velasco Alvarado, VES later became a center of left-wing organizing. From its early years, residents have mobilized to address local problems, from hunger to crime, and to demand public services such as water, electricity, and schools. VES was established as a municipal district in 1983 and in the early twenty-first century is a vast city of 380,000 residents.

See alsoCities and Urbanization; Moyano, Maria Elena.


Blondet, Cecilia. Las mujeres y el poder: Una historia de Villa El Salvador. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1991.

Burt, Jo-Marie, and César Espejo. "The Struggles of a Self-Built Community in Peru." NACLA Report on the Americas 28, no. 4 (1995).

Zapata Velasco, Antonio. Sociedad y Poder Local, la comunidad de Villa El Salvador 1971–1996. Lima: DESCO, 1996.

                                          Jo-Marie Burt