Gzyl / Caracas, Departure City

Caracas, Departure City Ethnography of Caretaking

Author: Stefan Gzyl, TU Delft

Supervisor: Marc Schoonderbeek, TU Delft; Aleksandar Staničić, TU Delft

Research stage: initial doctoral stage

Category: Paper


The deterioration of living conditions in Venezuela has triggered a migratory crisis of unprecedented proportions. More than 20% of Venezuelans have fled the country since 2014. While the refugee crisis and the emergent diaspora have been the focus of aid and research, the local impact of emigration remains largely unexplored. Locally, emigration manifests itself as an ever-growing and distinct vacancy. This vacancy is managed through relational, interdependent, and dynamic practices of caretaking that transform spaces and social life, implicating local actors in migration processes.

The research project examines caretaking in its reproductive and creative role with regards to belonging, citizenship, and the city in a context of departure. As emerging practices create new architectural and urban conditions, space becomes a vehicle for observing cultural transformations, economies, forms of solidarity, and activism that connect migrant and non-migrant actors in novel ways.

Keywords: Departure city, emigration, architectural ethnography