RIO DE JANEIRO - Inequality
The favelas in Rio de Janeiro is a place saturated with multitude of accumulated layers of history’s attempts to eradicate, transform or gentrify its status through the eyes and hands of many generations. From Le Corbusier’s radical vision in 1929 to build a serpentine building with a highway running above, to the recent Minha Casa Minha Vida initiated by the Brazilian government, many forms of regulations, designs and plannings have been implemented without effectively improving the lives of these informal settlers which accounts for about 20% of the total population. With the anticipation of the city’s role for the 2016 Olympics, the conflicts around the existing inequality and corruption are exacerbated by the neighborhoods being evicted for the capital-driven large-scale developments.
One of the critical reasons for the recurring failures stems from the fundamental disconnect in communication and collaboration between the decision makers and the communities, resulting in architectural solutions that fail to support the residents, or conversely, economic policies that ignore the spatial dimensions altogether. For instance, the cable cars implemented in Providencia is mainly used by the tourists, and fails to function as an effective infrastructure for the community. In fact, the cable car station hinders the mobility and the social value of the community by obstructing their communal space. These urban solutions were provided only from observing the symptoms of the problem, not their causes, neglecting the fact that each established neighborhood has its own unique organizational and support structure. Understanding the social and spatial arrangements of these informal communities through active communication and engagement is crucial in formulating implications that respond to the residents’ true needs, and identify the causes.