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Favela Bairro and a new generation of housing programmes for the urban poor

Riley, E; Fiori, J; Ramirez, R; (2001) Favela Bairro and a new generation of housing programmes for the urban poor. GEOFORUM , 32 (4) 521 - 531.

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Abstract

To date Favela Bairro is the largest-scale squatter settlement upgrading programme implemented in Latin America. It aims to comprehensively upgrade all the medium-sized squatter settlements in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro by 2004, and the programme is currently being promoted by the city's municipal government as an example of a new approach to tackling poverty and social exclusion in the city. Based on research carried out by the authors, the article examines the central characteristics of Favela Bairro. (During the field research, undertaken in 2000, a total of 39 people were interviewed in Rio, including staff of a range of municipal departments and agencies, community groups and residents, architects, academics, construction company workers, and NGO workers). The examination is conducted in the light of seven policy characteristics which the authors have identified, using policy/project documents and agency agendas, as typifying an emerging new generation of housing policies whose objective is to reduce urban poverty. Through this examination the article aims to add to the growing literature on Favela Bairro, which to date, has been largely descriptive. It also aims to test the proposed framework of analysis, using it as a means to reflect upon the latest generation of housing-poverty policies. The article concludes by arguing that processes of participation and democratisation are central if the latest generation of poverty reduction initiatives is to have an impact which is both substantive in scale and lasting in impact. Yet, as demonstrated in the case of Favela Bairro, it remains extremely problematic for governments to implement projects which devolve significant decision-making powers to poor urban communities,. and even more difficult still for governments to institutionalise mechanisms for civil society participation, thereby embracing processes of state reform and democratisation. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Favela Bairro and a new generation of housing programmes for the urban poor
Keywords:poverty, Favela, participation, scale, municipal housing policy, POVERTY
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit

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