Favela da Rocinha

Since the reading from this week’s class started with an entrepreneur in Brazil, I decided to write about the favelas in Brazil, but to use one in particular as a topic for my final paper; the  Favela da Rocinha.

Favelas are shanty towns and unfortunately are very common in Brazil. “Shanty towns are units of irregular self-constructed housing that are typically unlicensed and occupied illegally. They are usually on lands belonging to third parties, and are most often located on the urban periphery. Shanty town residences are built randomly, although ad hoc networks of stairways, sidewalks, and simple tracks allow passage through them. Most favelas are inaccessible by vehicle, due to their narrow and irregular streets and walkways and often steep inclines.(wikipedia)

The Rocinha saw its first occupants in 1930, when a large farm was divided into small pieces of land; its first inhabitants were farmers also and lived of the land, selling its produce at the weekly farmer’s market.

Starting in 1950 through 1970 there was an intense migration from nordestinos (people that live in the Northern part of Brazil) into Rio de Janeiro – and they would come in search of a job and having no place to go they would go live in the favela.

Still, there was a lot of controversy since these lands are occupied illegally and the units are built by its inhabitants and the structure is not to code. Also, they are built randomly, even though network of stairways, sidewalks, and simple allies allow passage through them. Most favelas are inaccessible by vehicle. However, this ‘houses’ are built with brick and cement, have basic sanitation, and electricity; being very different from the shanty town in other countries where the ‘houses’ are built out of cardboard.

Whether approved or not the Rocinha is not going away. Today the favela occupies an area on 810 thousand squared meters, or 200 acres,  and has more than one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, two neighbor association, several non-profit organizations such an “Two Brothers”,  banks, restaurants, even a Mc Donald’s. On a not so bright side it is controlled by drug dealers, they are the law in the slums.

Most of the population lives in fear especially at night, where heavily armed gunmen patrol the allies and streets.

Since 2006 there is an ambitious urbanization project that is starting to come alive, but even the architects have to get all this things approved by the leaders of the neighborhood association, if you know what I mean.

So, what kind of organization is this? How does it stand? Will the leaders of the favela allow the government to follow through with the urbanization project?

Even though one may say the drug dealers, controll everyting by fear,  they must be doing something right, since all these people live somewhat peacefully in a very small area, along with banks, non-profit organizations, grocery stores, amongst other things. I would like to use this paper to explore more about this unlikely organization.






9 Responses

  1. Hey Anna,

    I love your Idea about writing about favelas in Brazil. I was wondering if you have ever seen the movie City of God? I’m pretty sure it is based in Brazil in a favela type community.

  2. I agree with Ross, it’s great that you have found an organization system that we barely touched on in class and brought it to life. I also find you blog post to be very helpful. I knew what they were talking about when they said favela, but I did not know all that much. It is interesting to me that these areas or “towns” were built illegally and I am impressed that so many people have done something for themselves. I do however think it is sad that the drug dealers have taken over where people have built so much for themselves. I hope that the urbanization project can change this.

    Good luck with your paper!

  3. This is post for this week of 4/15?

  4. Which is the organization? The whole favela? IT may demonstrate a certain social order, but that does not make it the same as an organization. Although the neighborhood associations, businesses, and drug gangs are probably all viable candidates as organizations.

    But, convince us. Look at the definitions of organziation Scott and Davis provide. Does Rocinha fit?

  5. yes, it’s post for this week I got ahead of myself…
    on another thought….the favela is a world in itself. There’s a “godfather” and he oversees and knows everything that happens there, although I don’t think I can find out who he is. I’m going to do some more research and see if there’s enough information to make a case. 🙂

  6. […] on Organization Culture– Fi…annabu on Final Paper: How economy affec…annabu on Favela da RocinhaHolly Boyle on Final Paper: How economy affec…Jordi on My participation isn’t […]

  7. Your blog on favelas is intreguing. I have also experienced some of Brazil’s favelas and my travels there have compelled me to start a project in one of the many areas as you describe. You may be interested in having a look at a project that I am involved with in Brazil at the following link. Perhaps it can add to your learning. http://www.givemeaning.com/project/hfth

  8. i am from Rocinha, whatever you like to know, i can tell you ok?



  9. The “godfather” in Rocinha is a guy called Antonio Francisco Bonfim Lopes or, more commonly, “Nem.” He’s not mythical, just a guy who runs a drugs scheme. Also, the terms the author used to describe the rule of the drug gang (Amigos dos Amigos) appear sensational, based on my experience. Many if not most people have more trust in the ADA than they do in the police, and are not worried about being hurt except perhaps in the crossfire from police shootouts. As one guy I met put it, “I feel much safer in the middle of a bunch of bandidos than I would in the middle of a bunch of cops.” Not that people like it the drug trade, it seemed like most people accept it as an unfortunate fact of life.

    The drug trade is a tragic outgrowth of the underemployment and marginalization of the poor working class. Being young, male, black, and poor is often enough to keep a guy from getting a decent job and enough to boost him in the direction of the ADA. It’s a real struggle for a lot of young men. It is said that Nem himself only joined the ADA when his daughter fell ill and he had no way to pay for treatment.

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