Paraisópolis, Brazil. A city of favelas aiming to be egalitarian, sustainable and accessible
My list

Author | Arantxa Herranz

Although it is hard to measure or monitor the exact population living in shanty towns, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) calculates that approximately 11.4 million people (6% of the country’s population) live in one of the 6,329 _favelas _or slums, distributed across Brazil.

The state of São Paulo is the richest in Brazil. The city is the economic and financial centre, but also the city in Latin America with the highest number of people living in shanty towns.NASA, using photographs taken with it satellites, illustrated the growth of this large city. The most notable change that can be observed from NASA’s photographs is the spread of the suburbs, where growth has been fastest. Over the last decade, the inhabitants living in shanty towns in São Paulo reached 1.7 million compared with the 800,000 living in the city centre during the same period.

The growth of favelas

Paraisópolis is one of the largest recognised favelas in Brazil. It is one of the most graphic examples of how poverty and the most extreme wealth can be separated by just a couple of streets. Around 20,000 people live in the approximately 331 square kilometres it covers. But Paraisópolis is also an example of how the situation and quality of life its inhabitants can be transformed and improved.

The marginalisation problem

Favelas are shanty towns in Brazil. Many people in these places have basic-salary jobs and, therefore, low incomes. These jobs tend to have irregular shifts and various work locations. This makes it even more difficult to collect accurate data to help with town-planning.

The problem with these slums is that their urban housing conditions tend to be so hard that they are declared “intolerable” by the United Nations itself. Insecurity, lack of basic services (particularly water and sewage), inadequate and unsafe construction structures, overcrowding, location in dangerous areas and high concentrations of poverty, as well as social and economic deprivation, broken families, unemployment, economic, physical and social exclusion are just some of the characteristics of these shanty towns.

Remodelling instead of demolishing

As a result of these circumstances, numerous governments decided to demolish these neighbourhoods as a way of eradicating all the problems associated with them. However, in 1980, Brazil decided to improve the quality of life in these shanty towns instead of demolishing them. The idea is that it is not just more humane to integrate the shanty towns into cities’ activities, but it would also be more economically beneficial than excluding them.

Paraisópolis was one of the first places to try out this new strategy. One of São Paulo’s objectives is to take electricity sewage systems and drinking water to as many areas as possible. Furthermore, they are promoting a kind of “home exchange” programme: when a family abandons a shack to go to an apartment built by the government, a new family from a worse area can move into that shack until a better solution can be found.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpo7fkolwoq/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The experience gained also enabled a national “City statute” to be established in 2001, which establishes that cities must have master plans in place for these shanty towns. This document also outlines a series of tools that can be used by municipalities, such as allowing cities to create “areas of special interest” for disorganised shanty towns, formally recognising them and classifying them for social services.

An alliance of cities

This City Statute is supported by Cities Alliance, a global partnership made up of national and local governments, UN-habitat and the World Bank, focused on extending solutions to combat urban poverty. One of the first measures is to always guarantee that settlements have access to running water and sewage services.

In 2006, the city of São Paulo also introduced an__ information system which enables it to know the condition of the shanty towns or areas in danger of flooding,__ so the cleaning and maintenance services in the city can be managed more efficiently.

The figures corroborate the change

The changes and transformation of Paraisópolis are clear and measurable with actual figures. For example, between 2000 and 2010, the employment rate among those aged 18 or over increased from 65.61% to 66.24%. At the same time, the unemployment rate went from 10.86% in 2000 to 5.60% in 2010.

Another indicator of this improvement is life expectancy at birth, one of the figures from Municipal Human Development Index (MHDI). In Paraisópolis , life expectancy at birth increased by 3.3 years over the last decade, going from 72.9 years in 2000 to 76.1 years in 2010. In 1991 it was 69.6 years. While the infant mortality rate (in children under the age of 1 year) dropped from 20.7 per thousand live births in 2000 to 13.7 per thousand live births in 2010. In 1991, the rate was 25.2.

Paraisópolis , therefore, proves that certain measures can be applied in the most adverse conditions to improve the lives of the inhabitants and for those responsible in the city to have more facilities available in order to manage these deprived areas more efficiently.

Images | nakagawaPROOF/Flickr, Wikimedia, Pixabay

Related Content
How India wants to become the future of smart cities
How India wants to become the future of smart cities
Coworking spaces: how cities are adapting to this new work concept
Coworking spaces: how cities are adapting to this new work concept
It’s 2021. Why Are Public Spaces & Roads Still Unsafe For Women?
It’s 2021. Why Are Public Spaces & Roads Still Unsafe For Women?
5 signs that a city needs to urgently change in order to stay alive
5 signs that a city needs to urgently change in order to stay alive
These are the reasons why people abandon their city
These are the reasons why people abandon their city
Creating opportunities for a better future with the Tel-Aviv foundation
Creating opportunities for a better future with the Tel-Aviv foundation
[ui!] Urban Software Institute: Mobility for your whole life
[ui!] Urban Software Institute: Mobility for your whole life
Will there be a digital divide between smart and dumb cities?
Will there be a digital divide between smart and dumb cities?
Smart tourism destinations: the challenge of achieving a harmonious balance between industry and habitability
Smart tourism destinations: the challenge of achieving a harmonious balance between industry and habitability
Technology in schools with an impact in and out of the classrooms
Technology in schools with an impact in and out of the classrooms
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
Can we combat poverty with an app?
Can we combat poverty with an app?
Welcome to Vienna, the World’s best city to live in
Welcome to Vienna, the World’s best city to live in
Huawei Intelligent Operation Center: The brain and central nervous system of a Smart City
Huawei Intelligent Operation Center: The brain and central nervous system of a Smart City
SCHRÉDER EXEDRA: Lighting up cities
SCHRÉDER EXEDRA: Lighting up cities
Sameh Wahba, World Bank:
Sameh Wahba, World Bank: "Policies that can enable the creation of denser cities may be fiscal but also administrative"
Smart Innovation & City Progress in Disruptive Times: How cities are using disruption to accelerate innovation
Smart Innovation & City Progress in Disruptive Times: How cities are using disruption to accelerate innovation
Human Rights, Sustainability & Technology: Digitally Organizing Communities
Human Rights, Sustainability & Technology: Digitally Organizing Communities
And what shall we do with Grandad? Smart cities tackling the challenge of an ageing population
And what shall we do with Grandad? Smart cities tackling the challenge of an ageing population
Cities leading the way towards a just digital transition in the post-covid era
Cities leading the way towards a just digital transition in the post-covid era
PEOPLE-FOCUSED SMART CITIES: Connecting all the world’s people by 2030 as a force for good
PEOPLE-FOCUSED SMART CITIES: Connecting all the world’s people by 2030 as a force for good
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Women's Leadership in Mediterranean Cities and Regions: addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
Women's Leadership in Mediterranean Cities and Regions: addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
Towards a New Latin American City: Rethinking Urban Development After COVID-19
Towards a New Latin American City: Rethinking Urban Development After COVID-19
#CitiesAreListening: Dialogue on a smart recovery in the post COVID-19 era
#CitiesAreListening: Dialogue on a smart recovery in the post COVID-19 era
Cities for global health: A city-to-city platform to face the pandemics
Cities for global health: A city-to-city platform to face the pandemics
Chicago’s inclusive response to Covid-19
Chicago’s inclusive response to Covid-19
BRENT TODERIAN: Brainstorming Urban Ideas
BRENT TODERIAN: Brainstorming Urban Ideas
Maimunah Sharif: the impact of Covid-19 in informal settlements
Maimunah Sharif: the impact of Covid-19 in informal settlements
Making Tech Work For People Across the Globe
Making Tech Work For People Across the Globe
Forced integration: how Singapore is preventing ethnic segregation in its neighborhoods
Forced integration: how Singapore is preventing ethnic segregation in its neighborhoods
How to Accomplish the
How to Accomplish the "Right to Housing"? Interview with Mayor Colau
SASKIA SASSEN: Urban Fragilities in a Post-pandemic World
SASKIA SASSEN: Urban Fragilities in a Post-pandemic World
Five changes with which cities can adapt to people living with Alzheimer's
Five changes with which cities can adapt to people living with Alzheimer's
CARLO RATTI: Reinventing the Post-pandemic World
CARLO RATTI: Reinventing the Post-pandemic World
Outdoor Smart Parking Solutions: Parking made simple
Outdoor Smart Parking Solutions: Parking made simple
MindSphere City Graph: Bringing the physical and digital world closer together
MindSphere City Graph: Bringing the physical and digital world closer together
Smartnodes: Realizing smart cities through smart lighting
Smartnodes: Realizing smart cities through smart lighting
X-Tention: How to avoid crowded places with an app
X-Tention: How to avoid crowded places with an app
Recommended profiles for you
Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
JS
Joana Selles
mediapro
test
Nick Dimitriadis
Nick Dimitriadis
STRATIS CONSULTING
Managing Director
AS
Anna Subirats Ribas
BR/SNS
Consultant Strategic planning
Sarah Wray
Sarah Wray
Cities Today
Always looking for city innovation stories.
Mara Luisa Sant Ana de Dantas
Mara Luisa Sant Ana de Dantas
No company
No company
Carolina  Pedraza Osorio
Carolina Pedraza Osorio
Camara Colombo Catalana
Directora jurídica
MY
Maja Yhde
Gate 21
Senior Project Manager
HR
Henry Rey
Cidti 4.0
I respond to the steering committee for the development of the center in front of the technical and
Sri Lestari
Sri Lestari
Nendra Lestari Sentana
Development Project
KW
Kathy Wong
Playright Children’s Play Association
Executive Director
Alfredo Molina
Alfredo Molina
Deloitte
Senior Manager
Long Pham
Long Pham
UCC
Senior Research Coordinator
EJ
Elena Jimenez Sanchez
Student
Biomedical engineer. Currently studying a master to become a teacher
Elena CO
Elena CO
FAD, Fostering Arts and Design
Partnerships Sponsorships
IB
Ivana Benda
AAI Architects International Inc.
Director, Senior Designer
kk
kevin l kevin
individu
student
CP
Christos Perentis
WizGo
IT and Research Development
mp
maria prieto
IE University
Senior Marketing Manager
AF
Augusto Ferreira
Macroplan
Consultant
Cedric GRIGNARD
Cedric GRIGNARD
Invest in Lyon
Director New Business & Innovation

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$