Demostenes Moraes, Katerina Bezgachina – The Guardian, 01/03/2013
In October 2012 citizens across Brazil followed the news as police officers, backed by armoured cars and helicopters, moved to take control of two Rio de Janeiro slums notorious for drug crime. These raids were part of a policy known as “pacification”, designed to help state authorities gain a greater presence in the country’s shantytowns. At the same time, Brazil has been trying to clean up its most dangerous regions ahead of the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
It’s no secret that slums and informal settlements are one of the biggest global housing problems and as the rate of urbanisation continues to rise we will face even bigger challenges in our largest cities. Recent surveys ranked São Paulo as the 10th most expensive city in the world, with Rio de Janeiro in 12th position. At the same time, Brazil has up to 8 million fewer residential properties than it needs, with the poorest communities feeling the impact of this housing deficit.
It is estimated that more than 50 million Brazilians live in inadequate housing. Most of these families have an income below the minimum wage of R$675 (about US$330) a month. Roughly 26 million people living in urban areas lack access to potable water, 14 million have no refuse collection service and 83 million are not connected to sewerage systems.