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Favelas—A Global Challenge and Opportunity

October 16, 2012

Favelas—A Global Challenge and OpportunityInteraction between emerging middle class and rising lower class: inequality is rising in two thirds of countries, especially in emerging countries – and paradoxically the middle class is rising fast in these countries.

People living in favelas have to be empowered – and we need to help them to do so.

Housing solutions fail if they are top-down, designed in an office. In those cases, they do not fit the needs of the population, for example, their social capital, closeness to schools, etc. especially in case of relocation. Self-determination and choice of where and how to live are important.

Residents’ associations can help to promote the needs of the residents with the city. Governments should promote these organisations.

UPP cannot be exported, since it is designed for Rio and may do more harm than good in other countries. The problems are different in different countries. The criminal organization of the favelas is not the biggest problem in many other regions. Also favelas are different even within countries, there are all across the city in Rio, but mostly around the city in other cities. And even within Rio, favelas differ greatly in terms of service provision, jobs, income levels, and life expectancy.

UPP is not so much about drugs but about weapons. In this respect it has been very successful. Once the security issues are solved you can start with all the other programmes like job creation, etc. Solving security issues is the first step for solving other problems and self-development.

Investing in the favelas is perceived to be much more expensive than investing elsewhere in the city. This is specific to Rio’s environment.

We will start to have generations living in favelas and this will create a big social problem, because it divides society into included and excluded.

We have to reach the point where living in a favela is living in a neighborhood.

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Kathrin Kupke