Despite being one of the world’s most popular destinations, Rio de Janeiro is not void of problems. One of the city’s growing problems is its dramatic population increase which is mainly due to the migration of a great number of rural poor. And since land value in Rio is high, and there is a vast demand for space, these people are forced to flock in squatter settlements called the favelas – named after the hill of Morro da Favela which is the first location of such settlement.
Rio de Janeiro favelas occur in two main areas in the city: one, along the urban expansion’s outer fringes, the other along its steep hillsides. The latter is actually the city’s famous favelas.
Most people in Rio perceive the faveladors (as what the people from favelas are called) as the source of the city’s urban problems. They are also often associated for the crime, promiscuity, violence, and even family breakdown in the city. The creation of poverty culture in Rio is blamed to these people as well.
Rio de Janeiro Favelas vs Inner City poor
Although there are poor people in the inner part of Rio, they are not considered faveladors. These “inner city poor” compared to the favelas are not considered slums, and they are made up mostly of Spanish, Portuguese, and Jewish families who live in the area for some time already. The inner city poor are in such condition mainly for the city’s high rates of land value which results to a high turnover rate of poorer areas.
People in favelas are looked down partly for the fact that majority of them are black or mulatto (about 70% of the favelas population).
Attempts on favela eradication
In 1955, then Rio de Janeiro Archbishop, Dom Helder Camara, launched the St. Sebastian’s Crusade, which is a project financed federally to build an apartment complex in the city’s biggest favela at that time, the Praia do Pinto. The project’s goal was to transform the faveladors into citizens that are more acceptable on the condition that they give up vices they had with their favela life. Although with no definite outcome, the projects was still followed by several similar concepts designed to eradicate favelas in city. These attempts however were paralyzed mainly because of the people’s resistance.
Although not a favourable sight, many tourists consider Rio de Janeiro favelas a sight still and even go on favela tours. Making them leave for a while their cozy experience at the fabulous beaches, a tour on the city’s shantytowns provides the visitors a glimpse on Rio’s other side, which in a way offer a better understanding and knowledge of the city.