“Protecting” street children? Urban revitalization and regulation in Lima, Peru
In this article, I develop a critical analysis of the relationship between urban “revitalization” campaigns and the regulation of street children in Lima, Peru. Scholars writing mostly in the Global North have drawn attention to increasingly punitive policies regarding public space. While in many regards Lima’s urban policy is reflective of such larger trends, I consider whether the regulation of street children is as punitive as might be assumed. I am particularly concerned with the role that children’s rights play as another logic structuring urban regulation. I first show how a language of children’s rights has been manipulated to justify the removal of street children from public space, as is most evident through Peru’s Law to Protect Minors from Situations of Begging. However, there is also something more ambiguous occurring. In the second part of this article, I examine the uneven implementation of policy: street children themselves resist and rework policies “on the ground,” and children’s rights frameworks may offer possibilities for rupture of formal regulation. I suggest that these overlapping and competing dynamics sustain an uneven and contingent geography of urban regulation.