El Cono Norte

El Cono Norte (Northern Cone) is one of the most important axes for Lima's growth, which has developed mainly in the valley of the River Chillon and the land between the Chillon and the river Rimac, along two principal roads which link the capital, one linking with the north (the Panamerican Highway North) and the other with the interior or centre of the country, and the Andean Sierra region (Avenue Tupac Amaru).

The Northern Cone consists of the following districts of the Province of Lima: Puente Piedra where Zapallal is situated, and also San Martin de Porres, Comas, Los Olivos, Carabayllo, Independencia, Ancon and Santa Rosa, and one district of the Province of Callao (Ventanilla).

We use the local market in Puente Piedra. You can read one of our volunteer’s memories of this local market where we go every week http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/lima-market-puente-piedra/

The average density of population in the Northern Cone is 140 inhabitants/hectare, whereas Lima as a whole has an average of 120/hectare.

The 1981 census showed a population of 990,463 inhabitants.

1990 estimates indicated a population of 1,464,600 inhabitants.

1996 estimates were 1,792,340 inhabitants, though the municipalities themselves estimate that actually the population has now reached about 2.7 million or between a quarter and a third of the official population of Lima. [2015 estimates]

This huge increase in population is not only due to rural-urban migration. There are other districts which are already saturated and with no room for expansion, such as Lima itself and Callao. Such districts look at ways of expanding into the Northern Cone, so bringing more serious problems there. And urban development in the city anyway displaces poorer families who may move to the outer parts of the city.

In the Northern Cone:

  • 2 out of every 10 families do not have housing.
  • Indiscriminate and unplanned holding of uncultivated land can increase pressure to occupy agricultural land with serious consequences for the whole population.
  • There is a shortage of water. Only 2 families in 5 have an adequate supply and in many parts it is restricted to 1 or 2 hours per day even in normal times.
  • There is an inadequate urban road network linking the different districts in the Cone; parts of the road-system even are invaded for housing, and many by street vendors. There is no rationality in the planning of transport routes thus obliging public transport users in the Cone to often make two or more changes, even for some short journeys.
  • There are inadequate Cleansing and Environmental Health Services, and limitations on how municipalities can address that. Critical points exist where heaps of rubbish form. Difficulty of disposal through conventional means.

Additionally and regularly:

  • The cost of living rises.
  • The recommended minimum wage loses its value.
  • Agricultural land is being destroyed, even though the Cone has the biggest agricultural area in Lima and could supply food needs in the Cone.
  • Small scale enterprises and traders are squeezed out by a market that is basically run by monopolies on behalf of oligarchies.
  • This generates an increase in unemployment and underemployment, including more and more street traders.

Based on information from alternativa - Centro de Investigacion Social y Educación Popular.

See also Latin America – Migration to the Cities in our Peru section.