Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-22-2018


This thesis involves the San Blas neighborhood in the Historic Center of Cusco, Peru. It aims to better understand local effects of the changes that San Blas has undergone since the 1990s and to explore possibilities related to improving the qualities of life of long-term residents (vecinos) who have lived in San Blas for at least two generations. It has two principal objectives: 1) Make recommendations to present to various public and private entities who have a presence and influence over the San Blas neighborhood to improve the likelihood that vecino demands are heard, 2) Illuminate the ways that vecinos are adapting to neighborhood change in order to maintain a sense of community, traditions and ways of life in spite of the strong presence of tourism in the neighborhood. The data in this thesis were derived from participatory asset mapping sessions and interviews with San Blas vecinos, academic literature, literature published by the Municipality of Cusco and the Ministry of Culture, the Master Plan of the Historic Center of Cusco and participatory observation. Recommendations for improving vecino qualities of life were suggested by vecinos and myself. While this thesis is specific to the San Blas neighborhood of Cusco, I hope that its findings, methods and methodologies might be applied to additional areas of the Historic Center of Cusco and other UNESCO World Heritage cities of Latin America and beyond for exploring strategies and solutions to the displacement of long-term residents and the disruption of their livelihoods in the context of highly concentrated cultural tourism.

Project Sponsors

Latin American & Iberian Institute, UNM; Tinker Foundation; Office of Graduate Studies, UNM; Graduate and Professional Student Association, UNM



Document Type


Degree Name

Community and Regional Planning

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Laura Harjo

Second Committee Member

Dr. Ronda Brulotte

Third Committee Member

Moises Gonzales


cultural tourism, gentrification, Indigenous mapping, placemaking, cultural patrimony, Cusco