Given the regional geographic specificities of Central Andean valleys, the social and environmental impact of dispersed urbanization on smallholder farmers is particularly high in the new urban peripheries of Peruvian mountain cities. Collaborative planning is seen as promising approach to achieve sustainable use of the remaining agricultural areas.Cognitive empathy between local stakeholders in periurban areas of the Peruvian Andesâmore powerful urbanites and less influential smallholdersâis a helpful ingredient for collaboration at eye level: but are urbanites empathetic toward smallholders and their perceptions of urban expansion? Using the example of the periurban Shullcas Valley near the city of Huancayo Metropolitano, this empirical study reveals: (1) the city dwellersâ motives to live on the new urban periphery, (2) how urbanites assess the impacts of urban growth on smallholders, and (3) to what degree these assessments conform to the farmersâ perceptions.The results show that urbanites are mostly empathetic toward smallholders: they clearly perceive advantages and disadvantages, especially the irretrievable loss of agricultural land on the valley floor. However, they show little awareness of the smallholdersâ land tenure situation and their dependency on the lease of additional farmland. Consequently they largely overestimate the advantages of rising land prices driven by an increasing demand for lots. The results point to the need for including periurban smallholder farmers into urban planning and call for the creation and/or valorization of cognitive empathy in a preparatory process to collaborative planningâespecially in the new urban peripheries of the Central Andes.
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