Rio does not only respond to its land, it also responds to needs, to surroundings, and to the times. Many buildings in the city are noticeably antique, while others are quite modern. There was no evident movement to build all neighborhoods in one style, or one to keep buildings in modern architecture, but somehow all these differences meld into each other in a lively manner. The theme that resonates, holding all these things together, is the force of nature that is present all throughout the city. Seeing this has gotten me to rethink the concept of city planning for aesthetics. I now consider that city designs might not need to be so particularly managed to work well if there is a theme that is holding the differences together. With that thought, I welcome the idea of how much easier that would make it to address areas with personal consideration, with less worry of complying to a general picture. Because of that ease, I believe it’s possible for Rio to better address its favelas by extending the same approach and distributing some more investment.
Favelas have lots of undistributed struggle, but doing away with them might not be the best solution. My brother’s fiance considers the life of
people with less carefully managed communities, with 22% of people housed in favelas against the view of places with rich investment. She describes a culture of stealing and getting things easier, which may grow to be part of those people’s lives. Even when it comes to the built environment, that culture
might apply. People in the communities will often build their houses right to the edge of the earthly mounds, to the point where many simply fall down during heavy rainfall. But all surroundings considered, doing away with that is more complicated than just dealing with the results. The government does arrive to tell people they cannot live in those dangerous conditions, but many times the people have no other option but to stay anyway. On a rare opportunity where the government provides those endangered citizens with new houses, it will be in a farther location, which can make things difficult for them. Many people will sell the house they were given and move back to the old house where they are closer to their jobs, or simply to benefit from the boost in their finances. If the power of drug dealers over how those people live is considered, those solutions can be even further complicated. Yet, though it might seem like a
large percentage of the population is just cornered into these conditions, even as they face their difficulties, people do protect their communities. Communities such as Vidigal often run out of water and have to share use from a small reservoir that is polluted by bar activity nearby, but they still want to live there.
Many of the investments the city of Rio has made are beautiful and quite successful, but these investments did not greatly disturb the function of communities. When new structures did interfere with communities, usually with f avelas, there was an unforeseen backlash. The people whose communities were challenged, such as it was with Vila Autodromo, had little money and were expected to gratefully take reimbursements to move elsewhere. That was not entirely the case. When a demolition of a favela comes into play, there are protests despite the money they are offered. People fight for what they value there. If we consider favelas for the choice they are, even Brazilian citizens can open their minds into the riches they have provided. The people in favelas created for themselves with great effort, in very challenging slope, a community near the city they want to be in and in an environment they grew together in. They like their communities. The question of whether the neighborhoods suit the people is not in location, but in resources. The people have designed for themselves a culture in these places that can be responded to with greater investment for strength and structure. They do not need to turn into the blank slate that the government has tried to make of them many times. It does not need to be tidy and neat to work beautifully, it only needs funding where the people value it. And as it has worked throughout the tourist and working class communities, I don’t see why it would not work in the poor areas of the favelas as well.