The year 2002 represented rock bottom for Argentina and its capital Buenos Aires. The country’s embrace of structural adjustment policies advocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had meant high-flying times during the 1990s. Investment flowed from around the world, with Argentina representing a major emerging market for institutional funds and savvy investors (Blustein 2006: ch.1). Large-scale urban redevelopment projects turned the city’s derelict port into glittering new office space (Jajamovich 2012) while the former fruit market was converted into an urban shopping mall (Centner 2012a; Carman 2006) and new highways connected the city centre to rapidly expanding gated communities to the city’s north and west (Libertun De Duren 2006; Torres 2001; Crot 2006). But by 2001, mired in recession and drowning in dollarized debt, the fragile nature of the country’s open-market model was evident. In early 2002, the government of Argentina devalued its currency, defaulted on its debt, and sent 57 per cent of the country’s urban population below the poverty line (Beccaria and Groisman 2008).