Porous boundaries in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas

Community based initiatives, urban mobility infrastructure, tourism and environmental issues in the urbanisation of fringe areas as a socio-spatial means to reconcile the favela with the city





Favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, would be going through a third era of development, as a result of changes and accumulation of investments made in urban improvements. From alternative places of residence for the poor, where organized crime settled in the late twentieth century, today the slums of the South Side are places that are home to a new urban dynamics, with the rise of real estate prices, informal economy growth and increase of tourist and cultural activities. Community based initiatives have been an important way of social and spatial transformation. For the preparation of major sports events hosted by the city of Rio de Janeiro (FIFA World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Olympics) there were implemented new urban and public security projects in various slums. Our research presents the case study of the “Favela da Babilônia”. This slum presents an interesting process in its borders, having on one side a large forest area and on the other a formal middle-class neighborhood. The possibilities that community processes related to environmental issues, such as reforestation and tourism – structured on government built urban mobility infrastructure – have revealed Rio de Janeiro as a city in which diversity stands out.