Brazilian Architect Shows in the US How to Make Slums Home

Brazilian Jorge Mário Jáuregui, an architect and urban designer who has been working in the favelas or shanty towns of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the last 10 years, will discuss the Favela-Bairro Project during a Friday, February 3 lecture at Woodbury University.

The free program will begin at 6 p.m. in the Design Center at Woodbury University, 7500 Glenoaks Boulevard., Burbank, in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Jáuregui and his team have had incredible success in navigating these waters, with completed community projects in seven of the favelas, and several more underway. 

The initiatives include construction of daycare facilities, community laundry areas, street and walkway improvements, soccer fields, community meeting centers, etc.  They are creating this new city after the people are already there.

Jáuregui’s work, the Favela-Bairro Project, has been recognized with a number of awards, including Harvard University’s Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design in 2000.  A book, The Favela-Bairro Project, edited by Rodolfo Machado, was published in 2003.

The favelas of Rio have existed for over 100 years, established by freed slaves, the indigent poor, refugees, and other cast-offs of society.  Today, a staggering 1.3 million people live in the favelas, fully one-quarter of the city’s population. 

As opposed to most other urban shanty towns, the favelas exist directly within the city, not on the periphery.  They command some of the most beautiful hillside sites overlooking the bay, a powerful contrast to the harsh conditions within.

Over the decades, the city has alternately ignored or tried to remove the favelas and their inhabitants, to no avail.  The city finally decided in the early 1990s to work to bring the favelas into the mainstream of urban life, finding ways to convert them into bairros, or neighborhoods. 

This is a highly complex process, both in the physical work necessary to provide infrastructure, and more importantly in the communication, negotiation, and involvement of the residents themselves.

Woodbury University – www.woodbury.edu

Jorge Jáuregui – www.jauregui.arq.br

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