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Rio de Janeiro is currently in the centre of the world’s attention due to the events the city and the Brazilian government have succeeded in attracting to the former capital. After having hosted the fifth Military World Games in 2011, and the “Rio+20” international conference on climatic changes in June 2012, it will host the World Youth Day in 2013, the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Such a succession of events is the result of a specific political strategy aimed at consolidating the image of a country undergoing a rapid expansion, which is becoming increasingly irreconcilable with the conspicuous presence of an informal urban tissue in the form of favelas.
The volume “Habitar a comunidade / Abitare la comunità” has been created within the context of an attempt to identify new strategies of intervention in the “informal city” that do not so much try to impose external models as to define some simple operational principles that may be implemented both by individuals and by administrations through shared and participative projects. The underlying concept is that the communities can only be upgraded through a direct involvement of its own members.
The work centres on the Babilonia and Chapéu Mangueira favelas in the Leme district in Rio de Janeiro. Each chapter is identified by a key word linked to a primary action of urban living: enter, move, inhabit, relate and sustainable living. Within them, every operational suggestion is conceived as a practical model that may be implemented autonomously by each inhabitant of the Community.
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