Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gallaher, Courtney M.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geography


Altos de la Florida (Soacha; Colombia)--Economic conditions; Altos de la Florida (Soacha; Colombia)--Social conditions; Geography; Social research; Human geography--Colombia--Soacha; Economic development projects--Government policy--Colombia--Soacha


Colombia has a long history of internal displacement due to an ongoing armed conflict. Millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have made their way to urban areas around the country seeking safety and a new start. The municipality of Soacha, a suburb of Bogota, is the largest receptor area for IDPs in the country, and many Non-Governmental Organizations have set up operations to aid the residents of the area. Within Soacha the most vulnerable residents live in an informal settlement called Altos de la Florida Sector 3. This area has no infrastructure and a large portion of the residents are reported to be IDPs. Using the sustainable livelihoods framework, this study seeks to understand the impact of development programs on the daily livelihood strategies of the most vulnerable residents of Soacha. In order to examine the impact of development programs, semi-structured interviews (n=26) were conducted with Altos de la Florida residents. We employed thematic analysis in order to get an in-depth understanding of the daily impact of development programs on their livelihood strategies. We find that through the main actors in the area (the United Nations, World Vision, and the Colombian government) residents report primarily increased human, and social capitals. There is a less noticeable impact on financial, physical and natural capital.


Advisors: Courtney Gallaher.||Committee members: Thomas Pingel; Mark Schuller.


79 pages




Northern Illinois University

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