The conflicts and dilemmas present in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: new responsibilities and new forms of participation

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The Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro is putting forward a new ambitious program of pacification and slum upgrading in some favelas in the city of Rio since 2008 – the Pacification Police Units (UPP). It aims to recover the territories once controlled by drug dealers, establishing a program of peace building and institutional reconstruction together with the construction of basic infrastructure and public services. In the favelas with the UPP program, one can observe new urban dynamics, such as new services and commercial ventures, upgrading of homes, expansion of informal real estate, new touristic, leisure and sport activities, which generate new jobs, income and new perspectives for dwellers. On one hand, these new socioeconomic dynamics strongly restructure and redesign the favelas; on the other, the absence of a planning body that coordinates the several ongoing projects, together with the precarious infrastructure and the ominous presence of the police force, diminish the potential gains. The UPP generates new responsibilities and new expectations towards public safety and quality of life in a population now with more income and consumer power, demanding a more effective public response and new forms of participation. As long as these demands are not fulfilled, new conflicts and new forms of resistance appeared in these communities. The objective of this paper is to analyze the progresses and setbacks of the UPP program, focusing on the rising conflicts and dilemmas, taking as case studies two communities in Rio de Janeiro: the Complexo do Alemão and the Pavão-Pavãozinho-Cantagalo.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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