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TerriStorias on-the-ground #3 – Brazil

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Favelas in Recife - Photo credit: TerriStorias

Let’s go to another hemisphere and context: time to Brazilian investigations !

Making researches upstream, we found out that in Brasil, people notably get very active and innovative face to these 2 major national issues:

- Decent Housing and Right to the City: we’ll have various opportunities to explore their  solutions to improve the informal settlements (called favelas) and make them more integrated to the city (examples in Rio de Janeiro and Recife). In Recife, we’re going to discover moreover an application of the concept 'Social Production of Housing' (where the initiative and the decisions all come from the future residents).

- Another main topic for our investigation in Brasil will be the Waste management. This is a tricky issue there, as in Brasil nearly all the waste gets mixed instead of separating recycles from the source. Though, some cities in the southern part of this big country appear as exceptions (as Curitiba).

Consequently, thousands of informal workers (called catadores in Brasil) have turned this lack into opportunity: they usually sort out recycles from the landfills and waste containers in order to sell these materials to the companies specialized in waste recovery.

As you can guess, their work conditions are extremely precarious and dangerous, while they are an essential taskforce for the cities, which landfills are mainly saturated1.

That’s why we’re going to discover with the deepest interest the 2 following brasilian initiatives. The first one aims at improving the working conditions, the efficiency and the income of the groups of catadores (through technology upgrading, organisation training, security awareness and material, empowerment of the workers…). This project is born in Rio de Janeiro but has been extended to many brasilian states so far.

The second project, very comprehensive, even questions the concept of 'waste', as these architects found out how to use the waste as basic ingredients for a chemical fabrication process of various ecological materials for construction (romm-dividers, flooring, tiles…). Then, they use these materials to build affordable and healthy housing (Sao Paulo).

For each project studied on the field, you’ll find soon our Reports and Projects Sheets in the Our Reports section.

1 : According to Adriano Pires, Head of the Brasilian Center of Infrastructure (CBIE), quoted in this article: http://arquivoetc.blogspot.com/2011/09/revisao-de-uma-realidade-adriano-pires.html

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