Paraisópolis is the second largest favela in SP, holding a population of 80 000 (which was the number given by the last census some 4 years ago- meaning that the current population might be closer to 100 000). This favela in particular represents an interesting condition-“ a city within a city”- as it is located within the expanded center- in the middle of the “formal urban fabric” (something uncommon for SP, most of its favelas located in its peripheries). Paraisopólis has a hospital (Albert Einstein), schools, a CEU (constructed in 2008), 3 formal bus lines in the major streets, etc. In addition, the favela was built on private land, with existing street delineations, and lot subdivisions (normally, informal settlements tend to grow in public and not private land since it is easier for settlers to secure their homes and not get kicked out of the land). As a result, the settlement grew within delineated blocks, respecting the major streets/access ways already present. In this sense, Paraisopolis represents an easier upgrading situation (with regards to basic infrastructure) than the usual Brazilian favela, even though the topography is still quite abrupt, holding large hills and very low areas with high risks of landslides and floods.
Recently, it seems as though the local government has taken Paraisopolis as a marketing strategy for international eyes. Through invitation, the prefeitura invited Caracas Urban Think Tank, Elemental (Chile), Paulista firm MMB + GSD (Harvard), as well as AA professor Franklyn Lee and Christian Kerez to design and build projects in this central favela. The projects range from social housing, to schools, and parks. In addition, the case of Paraisopolis was presented in the Rotterdam Biennale and will, apparently be one of the sites for the next Biennale, dealing with “Experimental Sites”.
Director of SEHAB (Secretariat de Habitacao de SP), Elizabete França secured 400 Million Reales from municipal ressources for Paraisopolis. Moreover, it appears that the first game of the Soccer World Cup will be played in the stadium adjacent to the settlement, an important reason why the local government is striving to make a viaduct that will directly connect Morumbi to the stadium, and conveniently locate various projects along the new avenue, which will automatically give a new façade to Paraisopolis.
Something that has stricken me is an almost literal reading of Caldeira’s “City of Walls”. Even within the informal settlements and social housing projects, wall and fences seem to be part of the strategy- automatically dividing the community in itself…
For more info on the project/debate see the following post: Comment + Reply