Placemaking in the Anglo world can be understood as a concept where through a social and political process, value and meaning in a particular setting is created. This focus of placemaking revolves around a setting in the urban environment, its role as a unique setting and, importantly, the people that make up this place: all of which is focused on a highly structured and formal participatory planning process.

The role of placemaking in Latin America’s informal settlements, however, is largely untested. With more than 75% of Latin America’s population living in cities since 2001 and over 30% (128 million people) of the urban population estimated to reside in what the United Nations define as slums; these informal settlements can offer alternative ways of thinking about urban space and the transformation of spaces people live in. In essence, informal settlements are, to a large extent, what people make of them through their own initiative and imagination. What they achieve is remarkable considering their limited resources and sometimes nonexistent participation in formal planning.

Through empirical data collected in January 2013 and February 2014, this paper discusses how through a, largely, nonexistent formal participatory planning process (as the west or Anglo world may perceive it) and lack of resources the of Caracoli, in Bogotá has been able to create value and meaning in their place. This has been possible, despite social and economic difficulties –which are not to be forgotten-, through inventiveness and the richness of one’s life. In this sense, it can be argued that informal settlements can offer a different path to understanding the concept of placemaking currently dominating the Anglo world.