One to Six – social stratification in Barranquilla

By Gabriella and Stefan

Statements like “They seem to be happier” and “Oh, look how there are dressed” let assume that we were talking about people from another planet. But no, we were talking about people from the same city. During our trip through Barranquilla, we got a first impression of the city and its inhabitants. In particular we got a hands-on experience of the different strata in the city. Since Barranquilla is divided in six different zones, so called strata, people get taxed according to where they live. In return, they are provided with different services from the government in form of electricity supply or infrastructural maintenance for example. This is an official attempt of a progressive taxing system. But especially the Swiss students were surprised by the approach, that the level of taxing is connected to where people live. In their point of view, the physical and mental boarders between these strata are very clear – not only on a city map, but also already in the heads of the Colombians. Despite good intentions on behalf of the government, the taxing system has indirectly severe impacts on social segregation.

We find this difficult to justify. We want to look for novel ways how we can bring people to mix up again that people can better identify with their city and not only with their strata.

If you want to learn more about social stratification in Colombia here are three different authors opinion on the matter.  Download here : SocialStratification

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