Utopian urbanism, dystopian realities: An (im)possible ethnography in yachay, the city of knowledge

Miquel Fernández González, Maribel Cadenas Álvarez, Thomas Purcell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


© 2018, Centro em Rede de Investigacao em Antropologia. All rights reserved. Described as the most important project in Ecuador’s history, Yachay, meaning knowledge in Kichwa, is an urban development initiative conceived as the bridge towards a society free from the dependent exploitation of nature. Embracing the current wave of optimism that surrounds open-source platforms of information sharing, Yachay has been projected as a new “knowledge heaven.” This is the utopia of a new city converting a society based on an extractive economy into one based on knowledge. The risk of pursuing this dream is ignoring the existing economic and political conditions but also the hopes to build a “new country” that the so-called Citizen Revolution brought about. We wanted to think, reflect and learn about one of the most thrilling urban plans to have emerged in Latin America. This paper reports on frustrated attempts to conduct this research and interprets the eloquent silences and reluctance of those responsible for this urban macroproject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-360
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Censured ethnography
  • Citizen participation
  • Ecuador
  • Smart cities
  • Yachay


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