Theses Master's

Upgrading Favelas: Funding Schemes and Their Effects on Economic Opportunities, Infrastructure Provision, and Safety

Formicki, Guilherme Rocha

Public-private favela-upgrading schemes in São Paulo (known as Urban Operations) manage to collect and allocate more funds than the conventional public upgrading. It would thus be safe to assume that favela-upgrading interventions financially backed by Urban Operations are more successful in bringing up indicators related to infrastructure and public services than the conventional public schemes. It might as well be assumed that public-private upgrading also provides economic opportunities and more perceived safety. This is what I have investigated in this thesis. My methods for this research entailed the conduction of semi-structured interviews and informal talks, the consultation of government reports, census data, and real-estate
information, as well as taking on-site pictures and the conduction of non-participant observations.

I selected one case study for each type of upgrading scheme. My findings mostly point to the fact that conventionally-funded upgrading and Urban Operations-backed favela interventions achieved similar results in the selected cases, especially when it comes to providing housing affordability, as well as public services, facilities, and infrastructure. Perceived levels of safety also evolved similarly in the studied communities. Economic and real-estate development followed different paths, which nevertheless also resulted in a few similarities. Overall, my analysis showed that the rationale of favela upgrading has reasonably evolved throughout the last decades. Yet, the reality of the upgraded communities that I studied still seems to be unmet by either type of intervention, especially when it comes to the affordability conundrum.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Wu, Weiping
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 16, 2019