Case Examples


Example of:

    The Importance of City Cooperation

    • Prevent Future Land Invasions

    • Integration of Informal Settlements into Urban Fabric

Click for map of Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Inter-American Development Bank funded this US$180 million “slum to neighborhood” project in 1995 in which it sought to integrate existing favelas into the fabric of the city through infrastructure upgrading and service increases. The project involves 253,000 residents in 73 communities. Key to the success of this large project was a committed and flexible city government and the use of intra- and extra-institutional partnerships with NGOs, the private sector, churches, and the general population. Especially instrumental was the use of grass-roots level infrastructure upgrading experts as project managers who could work easily with both the government and with the community members.
For further information:
Contact Jose Brakarz at the Inter-American Development Bank:

  • The city government seeks to 1. integrate existing favelas into the fabric of the city through improvement in infrastructure and level of services, 2. prevent future land invasions, and 3. provide more low-cost housing opportunities.
  • “It seeks to ameliorate the effects of poverty through a combination of infrastructure investments, improvement in the coverage and quality of social services, regulatory changes, and incentives and assistance for land legalization.” (IDB, 1)
  • It is meant to benefit 25% of Rio’s favela and illegal subdivision dwellers and to provide a replicable model for use by local governments
  • Favela upgrading;
  • irregular subdivisions formalization; and
  • monitoring and evaluation, sanitary education, and institutional development.

A typical project sequence:

  1. Selection of locality and contact with the community organization;
  2. design of a master plan for the area (for favelas);
  3. discussion of proposals with the organized community and adjustment of project designs;
  4. preparation of final drawings for investment projects, approved by state and municipal agencies;
  5. technical analysis and approval by the executing unit;
  6. project implementation by construction companies, with incentives for employing local community labor;
  7. operation and maintenance, by city or state agencies; and
  8. monitoring and evaluation.
What worked and why?
  • A committed and flexible city government was very important to the success of this project. Policy changes had to be implemented to make this work. This project is the “first time the full apparatus of the city government has been made available for resolving the problems of residents of favelas and irregular subdivisions” (IDB, 4).
  • This program “supports existing city programs for implementing low-income urban settlement policy, increasing their scope, improving their effectiveness” (IDB, 4).
  • Also important was the use of program managers coming from grass-roots infrastructure upgrading efforts in Rio de Janeiro. They know the technical aspects of upgrading and they know the community. They can act as an efficient middle person between the communities and the government.
What didn't work and why?
  • The training for employment segment of the plan didn’t find much success. It seems that what residents really needed before job training was literacy training.
  • Residents need credit but the IDB shies away from microcredit schemes as it is more effective for a smaller agency to implement such programs
To Learn More:

Inter-American Development Bank. “Programa de Urbanizacao de Assentamentos Populares do Rio de Janeiro.” (Washington, D.C.: IDB, September, 1998

Inter-American Development Bank. “Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Urban Upgrading Program.” Operation no. 898/OC-BR. Approved on November 1, 1995. (BR-0182)

IDB project reports are available through their Public Information Office in Washington, D.C., USA.
Telephone: 202.623.1376

| What is Urban Upgrading? | Doing Urban Upgrading | Case Examples |
Issues and Tools | Resources | About This Site |
Search Web Site | Site Map | Home | Ask Grady | Feedback |

Copyright © 1999-2001, The World Bank Group. All Rights Reserved.