Helping the Poor Stay Put: Affordable Housing and Non-Peripheralization in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Brazil Institute


This project seeks to develop a deeper understanding of new affordable housing experiments in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To do so, the interdisciplinary, multi-national project team will conduct a three-year study, guided by the following questions: How do these centrally-located, differently-modelled housing projects affect, in different ways and over time, the economic circumstances and livelihoods of the people who live in them? How do they shape, in different ways and over time, the social interactions, exchanges, and ties among project residents and between project residents and their neighbors outside? How do they impact, in different ways and over time, residents' norms of gender, kinship, and sexuality? To what extent does each housing project type have distinctive effects over time on the political views and behavior of its residents? To investigate these questions, the team will take an in-depth look at a specific range of organized efforts to help the poor stay put in a central district of Rio de Janeiro. The chosen setting will be the old port area downtown, which is currently undergoing a major planned "revitalization". In this district, the team will be able to observe and explain, within the same neighborhood, the differential impacts on the poor of a variety of different models for creating centrally-located affordable housing.

Planned Impact

Broader Impacts:

By bringing together anthropologists, a geographer, an architect/urban planner, and a housing advocate, this project will serve as an example of productive collaboration between these disciplines, as well as across the academic/advocate divide. Second, by bringing together researchers from three continents - the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil - the
project also promises to yield benefits for international cooperation, by developing good practices for international collaborations and focused reflection on cultural and national differences. Third, it is expected that this project will contribute to international policy discussions about affordable housing in the global south. Project activities and results will be presented to the Affordable Housing Institute, a major US-based venue for discussions and analyses of affordable housing worldwide; to the British Chartered Institute of Housing; to the United States Urban Institute's Center on International Development and Governance, in particular to the Center's thematic area on Harnessing the Power of Urbanization; to the Observatorio das Metropoles, the major Brazil-based research-and-policy think-tank on housing, to which one of the team members belongs; and to the Brazilian Federal Ministry of Cities, which is keenly interested in analyses of social housing.


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Description Our findings have contributed to the work of several different social movements working to secure housing for low-income people in Rio de Janeiro. These contributions have been modest and we hope that when we complete the study, we will have much more to offer these different groups. In the meantime, however, we have fed back our initial findings to the different housing movements we are working with, and we even produced a video to explain the study, the motivations of the research, and foreground the importance of the issues involved in this research (i.e., housing for low-income people). This video is available on youtube, and these social movements have been able to use this video by showing it to their participants (and others) to help explain the urgency of their work. This video has also served as a valuable teaching tool (in classes) for members of the research team.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description Conference presentation, Association of American Geographers 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In April, 2017, Dr. Jeff Garmany and Matthew A. Richmond organized a panel session at the Association of American Geographers in Boston, MA (USA). The title of this session was "Beyond gentrification? Considering new explanations of urban change", and in this session Drs. Garmany and Richmond presented an original research paper titled, "Limits to gentrification in Brazil". This paper drew on initial findings from this research project, and this grant and the funding sources for this research were specifically mentioned during the presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017