In a thorough, analytical study that brings together urban history and the history of the state, Simón Castillo Fernández argues that the canalization of the Mapocho River alongside central Santiago, and the construction of parks and new streets that went along with it, was “the principal urban design project [la principal operación urbanística] in Santiago between 1885 and 1918” (p. 435); he further argues that this project was the first in which “the State . . . used all its available tools to intervene in the urban landscape” (pp. 435–36). This project, he argues, expanded the core area of the city by adding not only the formerly peripheral Mapocho and its banks but also large areas on the north side of the river. Much as Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna had brought the rocky Cerro Santa Lucía into the east side of...

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