The Suitability of Affordable Housing, 'Smart Urbanism,' and Informality

Material Information

The Suitability of Affordable Housing, 'Smart Urbanism,' and Informality A Case Study of Rocinha, A Favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Abernathy, Laura
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (104 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( M.A.U.R.P.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Urban and Regional Planning
Committee Chair:
Larsen, Kristin E.
Committee Members:
Silver, Christopher
Williamson, Anne
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Affordable housing ( jstor )
Cities ( jstor )
Community power ( jstor )
Favelas ( jstor )
Housing ( jstor )
Land use ( jstor )
Neighborhoods ( jstor )
New Urbanism ( jstor )
Retirement communities ( jstor )
Transportation ( jstor )
Urban and Regional Planning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
affordable, brazil, growth, housing, new, rocinha, smart, urbanism
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Urban and Regional Planning thesis, M.A.U.R.P.


Recently smart growth and the New Urbanism have been recognized as two of the most significant contributions to planning theory, providing principles by which to manage growth in economically, environmentally, and socially responsible ways. By limiting sprawl, promoting public transportation, and creating diverse, vibrant communities in which residents feel a sense of pride, the goals of smart growth and the New Urbanism are not dissimilar to the overall goals of affordable housing providers both aspire to create meaningful, thriving communities that enrich the lives of residents. Recent housing policy, however, has overwhelmingly focused on affordability, ignoring the components of housing that contribute to a suitable and livable environment. Using the concepts of smart growth and the New Urbanism, this study suggests an integrated concept of Smart Urbanism, exploring the components of a livable, suitable community. While scholars debate the effect of Smart Urbanist principles on the cost of housing, these policies clearly encourage and contribute to the quality and suitability of housing, creating collaborative communities that are dense, walkable, and provide access to transit, open space, and numerous functions of daily life. Typically, studies exploring the relationship between smart growth and/or the New Urbanism and affordable housing examine communities in the United States where large-scale developers or progressive local officials mandate implementation of the strategies. The context for this study, however, is the organic, grassroots application of these strategies in the favela of Rocinha, providing an analysis of the intersection of formal and informal development practices. Notoriously recognized as enclaves of poverty and violence, favelas can also contain certain attributes. Responding to the failure of formal government policies that provided few housing options, residents of Rocinha used their limited resources to build their own community. By using field notes from a visit to the site and conversations with locals to examine the prevalence of Smart Urbanist principles in Rocinha, this study finds that the organic, grassroots development of the community led to the implementation of the same Smart Urbanist principles advocated by scholars and practitioners in the United States. This finding reinforces the connection between these policies and suitable housing, reinforcing the suitability of Smart Urbanism, and legitimizing the grassroots process through which Rocinha was built. While arguing for an integrated approach that embraces both formal and informal development processes, this study also provides opportunities for further research on the suitability of informal squatter settlements around the world and the dichotomy between formal and informal planning practices. ( en )
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis (M.A.U.R.P.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Adviser: Larsen, Kristin E.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Laura Abernathy.

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Copyright Abernathy, Laura. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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2 2009 Laura Michelle Abernathy


3 To Mom and Dad


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Synthesizing two years of for mal study and a lifetime experiencing th e realities of cities into a thesis proved more challenging than I ha d anticipated, and could not have been completed without the unwavering help of a number of people. I want to first thank Dr. Kristin Larsen, who challenged me to produce work of which I c ould be proud and gave me an opportunity to collaborate with a team of scholars on a project that fed my interest in the suitability of affordable housing and directly inspired my thesis. I would also like to thank Dr. Anne Williamson for her genuine and reassuring guidance throughout the process and Dean Chris Silver for his enthusiasm and constant smile. Saving the best for last, I am always gratef ul for the encouragement and humor of my family Mom, Dad, Amy, and Jen; my F&M famil y, my IHP family, and my UF family. I love you all and your support has meant more than you know.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS.......................................................................................................... 9 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................10 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION: SMART GROWTH, TH E NE W URBANISM, AND INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS....................................................................................................................12 Affordable Housing, Smart Gr owt h, and the New Urbanism................................................ 12 Rocinha Case Study................................................................................................................14 Progression of the Study....................................................................................................... ..15 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE: RE DEFINI NG AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF SMART GROWTH AND THE NEW URBANISM AND AN INTRODUCTION TO INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS........................................ 17 Affordable Housing............................................................................................................. ...17 Smart Growth..........................................................................................................................20 New Urbanism........................................................................................................................26 Reevaluating the Literature.....................................................................................................32 Beyond Affordability What Else Is Impor tant in Providing Affordable Housing? ...... 33 Smart Growth, the New Urbanism, and Great Places..................................................... 38 Smart Urbanism ...............................................................................................................39 Informal Settlements and Self-Help Housing as a Means to Ev aluate Smart Urbanism........ 42 3 METHODOLOGY: A CASE STUDY OF ROCINHA......................................................... 54 Selection of a Case Study.......................................................................................................54 Implementation of Rocinha Case Study................................................................................. 56 4 THE SUITABILITY OF ROCINHA.....................................................................................62 An Introduction to Brazils Favelas........................................................................................ 62 An Introduction to Rocinha....................................................................................................65 Smart Urbanism in Rocinha.................................................................................................... 69 Community Collaboration, Sense of Place, and F air, Predictable Development Decisions......................................................................................................................69


6 Walkability, Mixed Land Uses, and Density...................................................................71 Transportation Choices, Existing Development, and Open Space.................................. 74 Housing Options..............................................................................................................76 Summary of Findings............................................................................................................ .78 5 THE SUITABILITY OF SMART URBANISM AND INFORMALITY............................. 82 Informality and Suitability.................................................................................................... ..82 Formality and Informality: Do They Necessarily Conflict?................................................... 84 Beyond Rocinha: Suitability in Formal Developments.......................................................... 89 Beyond Rocinha: Opportunities for Further Research........................................................... 90 APPENDIX: PRINCIPLES OF THE NEW URBANISM............................................................ 95 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................98 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................104


7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 A Comparison of Smart Growth and the New Urbanism.................................................. 463-1 Elements for Analyzing Smart Urbanism in Rocinha........................................................ 604-1 Smart Urbanism in Rocinha............................................................................................... 79


8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Households that Spend More of their Budget on Housing Spend Less on Transportation ....................................................................................................................502-2 What Makes a Great Place?............................................................................................... 512-3 Tradeoff Between Housing and Transportation Costs in U.S. Cities................................ 522-4 Patterns of Development for Formal and Informal Settlements........................................ 534-1 Map of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, and Rocinha...................................................................... 804-2 Population Density in World Cities................................................................................... 81


9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ADA Amigos dos Amigos AMI Area Median Income ASPA Ao Social Padre Anchieta; a da ycare, education, and community center in Rocinha CNU Congress for the New Urbanism CV Comando Vermelho EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency HOPE VI Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere HUD U.S. Department of Ho using and Urban Development IBGE Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics LEM Location Efficient Mortgage PPS Project for Public Spaces SGN Smart Growth Network TC Teraceiro Comando


10 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning THE SUITABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HOU SING, SMART URBANISM, AND INFORMALITY: A CASE STUDY OF ROCI NHA, A FAVELA IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL By Laura Michelle Abernathy May 2009 Chair: Name: Kristin Larsen Major: Urban and Regional Planning Recently smart growth and the New Urbanism have been recognized as two of the most significant contributions to plan ning theory, providing principles by which to manage growth in economically, environmentally, and socially re sponsible ways. By limiting sprawl, promoting public transportation, and creating diverse, vibrant communities in which residents feel a sense of pride, the goals of smart gr owth and the New Urbanism are not dissimilar to the overall goals of affordable housing providers both aspire to create meaningful, thriving communities that enrich the lives of resident s. Recent housing policy, however, has overwhelmingly focused on affordability, ignoring the components of housing that contribute to a suitable and livable environment. Using the concepts of smart grow th and the New Urbanism, this study suggests an integrated concept of Smart Urbanism, explor ing the components of a livable, suitable community. While scholars debate the effect of Smart Urba nist principles on the cost of housing, these policies clearly encourage and contribute to the quality and suitability of housing, creating collaborative communities that are dense, walkable, and provide access to transit, open space, and numerous functions of daily life. Typically, studies explori ng the relationship between smart


11 growth and/or the New Urbanism and afford able housing examine communities in the United States where large-scale develope rs or progressive local officials mandate implementation of the strategies. The context for this study, however, is the organic, gr assroots application of these strategies in the favela of Rocinha, providing an analysis of the inte rsection of formal and informal development practices. Notoriously recognized as enclaves of povert y and violence, favelas can also contain certain attributes. Responding to the failure of formal government policies that provided few housing options, residents of Rocinha used their limited resources to build their own community. By using field notes from a visit to the site and conversations with locals to examine the prevalence of Smart Urbanist principles in Rocinha, this study finds that the organic, grassroots development of the community led to the implementation of the same Smart Urbanist principles advocated by scholars and practitioners in th e United States. This finding reinforces the connection between these policies and suitable h ousing, reinforcing the suitability of Smart Urbanism, and legitimizing the grassroots pr ocess through which Rocinha was built. While arguing for an integrated approach that em braces both formal and informal development processes, this study also provides opportunities for furthe r research on the suit ability of informal squatter settlements around the world and the dichotomy between formal and informal planning practices.


12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: SMART GROWTH, TH E NE W URBANISM, AND INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS Affordable Housing, Smart Growth, and the New Urbanism In 1949, the U.S. Congress adopted legislati on calling for a decent hom e and suitable living environment for every American family (S chwartz, 2006, p. 1). Yet 60 years later, this goal remains an intangible dream for many familie s. As indicated by declining rates of home ownership and the growing proportion of in come paid for housing by many low-income households, a major issue is housing affordability (v an Vilet, 1997). In fact cost burden, defined as housing costs that exceed 30% of pre-tax hous ehold income, has become the primary concern of government policies and program s. This concept does not consider, however, the quality and suitability of housing which play an integral role in ones quality of lif e, with the potential of directly contributing to ones mental, physical and emotional well-being. In 1940, 45% of all households in the United States lived in homes without complete plumbing (Schwartz, 2006, p. 16). Although this number dropped significantly by 1990, to little more than 1% (Schwartz, 2006, p. 16), Americas housing challenges cannot be described with statistics alone; they must be understood as a quality of life issues as well (Millennial Hous ing Commission, 2002, p. 3). It thus becomes necessary to redefine a ffordable housing, recognizing that a minimized cost burden does not alone make housing suitable for a particular household. For housing to be considered suitable, accessibility, density, wa lkability, and mixed la nd uses, including the availability of adequate open space, must be considerations. Though less tangible, a sense of place, as afforded through community collaborati on in the planning process, also contributes to suitability. Suitable affordable housing faces the challenge of providing al l these amenities while simultaneously keeping costs at a minimum.


13 In addition to a lack of affordable housing, m odern American cities face unbridled growth, as land consumption outpaces population growth two to one (A Complex Relationship, citing HUD, 2000). Responding to sprawling development patterns, smart growth and the New Urbanism emerged in the 1990s as two separate movements aimed at managing growth in economically, environmentally, and socially re sponsible ways. Specifically, smart growth advocates aspire to thwart sprawl through ten broad principles ranging from promoting infill development to encouraging community collabo ration in the development process (SGN, 2008). New Urbanists promote twenty-seven principles to guide public policy, development practice, urban planning, and design, which can be synthesized into four major goals : the restoration of existing urban centers, the restructuring of spra wling suburbs, the conservation of the natural environment, and the preservation of the built legacy (CNU, 2001). While on first glance housing a ffordability and managed growth1 may appear unrelated, recognizing the connection between the two is th e first step towards building more livable communities. As both have become hot topi cs of popular media and even dinner table conversations, a significant amount of scholarly li terature has emerged analyzing the effects of smart growth and New Urbanist principles on a ffordable housing. Much like the majority of government policies over the last several decad es, however, this lite rature overwhelmingly emphasizes the affordability of housing, noting only ones financial ability to pay for shelter rather than the suitability of that shelter. Affordable housing should address quality of life, integrating smart growth and New Urbanist features to create suitable, not just affordable, housing. This study explores how smart growth a nd the New Urbanism can contribute to housing suitability, exploring the applic ation of this approach in a low-income, self-help housing 1 At times in the remainder of this thesis, smart grow th and the New Urbanism will be referred to as growth management strategies or progressive planning policies.


14 community. Specifically, this thesis examines how these typically formal tools used in the U.S. are implemented in the informal squatter settlements of the Brazilian favelas. Rocinha Case Study Assessing the influence of smart growth and the New Urbanism on affordable housing requires the use of a case study, many of whic h already exist. These case studies, however, largely focus on Western developments where large-scale developers or progressive local officials mandate the implementation of specific st rategies associated with smart growth and/or the New Urbanism. While these case studies have contributed to our understanding of design and, to a lesser extent, land use and affordable housing, a case study of an informal settlement built using a self-help approach provides insight on the organic application of smart growth and the New Urbanism in an entirely different c ontext to create suitable, affordable housing. In Brazil, favelas exist as informal infill co mmunities built by residents in response to an inability to afford shelter w ith access to the myriad opportunities of the city. Although favelas are popularly perceived as enclaves of violence and poverty, the inherent self-organization of these communities makes them ideal for examini ng the incorporation of smart growth and New Urbanism concepts to create affordable and suitable housing and commun ities. Because favela residents implement the design of the community themselves, the elements they choose to incorporate are those that contri bute most meaningfully to thei r daily lives. Any implementation of smart growth or New Urbanist features, then, is the direct result of the positive impact these elements have on the suitability of housing and residents quality of life. Specifically, this study will use a case study of the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to examine the organic application of smart gr owth and New Urbanist strategies and their impacts on housing suitability. Could the grassroots design strategies of Rios urban poor be the same as those advocated using professional met hods in the United States? What implications


15 could this finding have for these movements in th e United States? After reviewing the literature on smart growth and the New Urbanism, a compre hensive list of their re spective policies, many of which overlap, was created. Using field notes from a 2006 visit to Rocinha and conversations with both community leaders and residents, the re searcher was able to note the similarities in community design between formal growth mana gement polices of the U.S. and informal development patterns of Rocinha. While most st udies of favelas note the many deficiencies of these communities, this study will focus on their attributes. Desp ite the historic efforts of governments and citizens to eradicate favelas, the organic evolution of these communities generates several desirable feat ures (Salingaros et al., 2006), including those advocated by the smart growth and New Urbanist movements. The international, informal case study of Rocinha provides an opportunity to explore the universality of sm art growth and New Urbanist strategies and features as part of an or ganic process that challenges th e formal approach of growth management strategies in the United States. Progression of the Study The following chapters address the characteris tics of suitable affordable housing, exploring the ways in which the p olicies advocated by smar t growth and the New Urbanism contribute to this concept and the applicati on of these methods by the urban poor in Brazil. The literature review in Chapter Two redefines affordable housi ng within the context of smart growth and the New Urbanism. It provides the context for the re st of the analysis, offering a review of the critical literature related to the topic, ge nerating a comprehensive definition of suitable affordable housing, and making the necessary co nnection between housing and quality of life. Chapter Three outlines the methodology used in conducting the study, maintaining that the organic self-help development pattern of Roci nha represents a significant case study of the natural benefits of smart grow th and the New Urbanism. The findings associated with the


16 implementation of this case study approach are reviewed in Chapter Four. Finally, Chapter Five analyzes these findings and their implications, while also offering opportunities for continued research.


17 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE: REDEFINI NG AFFOR DABLE HOUSING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF SMART GROWTH AND THE NEW URBANISM AND AN INTRODUCTION TO INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS This chapter begins by defining affordable housing and then revi ews the literature pertaining to smart growth and the New Urbanism assessing each in relation to affordable housing. It then examines additional literature on quality of life, suggest ing the necessity of a broader definition of affordable housing that inco rporates suitability. A critical analysis and comparison of smart growth and the New Urbanism follow. Recognizing th e similarities of the two movements, for the purposes of this study an integrated interpretation of the movements is formulated. Affordable Housing In the preamble to the 1949 Housing Act, Congress proclaimed its goal of a decent home in a suitable living environment for ev ery American family (Schwartz, 2006, p. 1), alluding to the important role housing plays in one s daily life a point th at was reiterated in the 1968, 1974, and 1990 Housing Acts (Hartman, 1998, p. 231). More recently, every government has explicitly recognized that adequate housing is a right under intern ational law (Hartman, 1998, p. 229, citing Leckie, 1994, p. 14 15), and religi ous leaders from the Vatican and local dioceses alike have issued statements concerning the absolute and necessary provision of suitable housing (Hartman, 1998, p. 227). Housing plays a cruc ial role in the lives of individuals, as Few things intersect with and influence as many aspects of life as housing does. Housing is far more than shelter from the elements. As home, housing is the primary setting for family and domestic life, a place of refuge and relaxa tion from the routines of work and school, a private space. It is also loaded with symbolic value, as a marker of status and an expression of style. Housing is also valued for its loca tion, for the access it provides to schools, parks, transportation, and shopping. (Schwartz, 2006, p. 2) In fact, housing is more critical than mere sh elter not only because it consumes so large a portion of the household budget, but also because it is the central setting for so much of ones


18 personal and family life as well as the locus of mobility opportunities, access to community resources, and societal status (H artman, 1998, p. 230, citing Hartman, 1975). In addition to the personal benefits hous ing affords, housing accounts for over one-fifth of the nations gross domestic product, and generates employment in construction and development industries (Schwartz, 2006, p. 3). Affo rdable housing has the potential to increase the economic base of a community. In 2001, resi dential construction ge nerated a total of $65 billion in taxes and fees for al l levels of government, while also generating a significant number of full-time-equivalent jobs for the local econom y during the construction period and substantial income for local businesses and workers (Schwartz, 2006). On an individual level, adequate housing has the potential to prevent several health hazards associated with physically deficient housing. Peeling lead paint in poorly maintain ed homes causes learning disabilities and behavioral problems when ingest ed by children, and asthma and si milar respiratory problems are linked to mold and dampness (Schwartz, 2006). The role of housing, then, is vital to both the nation as a whole, its communities, and its individuals. The problem lies in the ability of the ge neral public to access this significant and necessary good, as the increasing co st of housing has put it out of reach for many individuals and families. In the United States a home is considered affordable to a particular household if it costs no more than 30% of that households income before taxes (Schwartz, 2006, p. 23). A household is considered cost-burdened if more than 30% of pre-tax income is spent on housing. Recently, Michael Stone devised an alternative scale of housing affordability, refl ecting the fact that households may be able to afford to spend mo re or less than 30% of their income on housing, depending on their other basic needs (Schwartz, 2006). A married couple with no children and an income of $30,000, for example, could afford to spend more than 40% of their income on


19 housing while still being able to afford other goods and services, while a couple with three children and the same income could afford to spend less than 5% on housing (Schwartz, 2006). Regardless of which definition is used, the growi ng gap between median income and the cost of housing traditionally leaves state and local governm ents with the responsibility of subsidizing affordable housing, although the recent housing cris is has prompted an engaged response from the federal government as well. As a nation, however, we have never come close to achieving the goal of providing all Americans with decent, affordable housing (Har tman, 1998, p. 230). The failure to meet the goal loftily stated in the 1949 Housing Act is suggestiv e of the difficulty associ ated with the provision of affordable housing. One of these many challe nges is opposition from neighbors. Suburbanites have a long history of resisting higher density affordable housing for fear of declining property values and concerns over their new neighbors (Danielsen et al., 1999, p. 516, citing Baar, 1992) a phenomenon that has become known as NIMB Yism, or Not In My Backyard activism. Additional challenges arise from the fact th at strategies for addr essing affordable housing too often lean toward subsidies, density bonuses, special financing, and lower construction quality (Calthorpe, 1993, p. 29). But subsidie s are already limited, increased density is challenged by NIMBYists, construction quality cannot and should not be further stripped to reduce costs (Calthorpe, 1993, p. 29), and given th e current global economic situation and its close tie to mortgages, creativ e financing is perhaps more of a rarity than ever. Providing affordable housing, then, must take a new approa ch, recognizing the continued need to address cost burden while considering these obstacles. A broader picture of how we form communities and how we see the home itself is central to rethinking this relentless problem. The need for affordable housing illustrates th e desirability of integrated solutions (Calthorpe, 1993, p. 29).


20 Smart Growth Included among these integrated solutions, sm art growth em erged in the 1990s as a reaction to worsening conditions. As Americans fled to the suburbs in the decades following the Second World War, so, too, did unbridled developm ent evident in increased highway congestion and school over-crowding. Not surprising, then, as years passed and these trends continued, people grew tired of and concerned about the increasing conges tion, air pollution, loss of open space, and the rising cost of public facilities associated with this suburban in-migration frustrations that found a potential solution in the principles of smart growth. As a set of broad goals and policies designed to c ounteract sprawl (Downs, 2004, p. 3),1 smart growth does not aim to limit growth, but rather to guide it. Sm art growth is development that accommodates growth in economically viable, environmentall y responsible, and collaboratively determined ways (Porter, 2002, p. 1). More specifically, the Smart Growth Network (SGN) (2008) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2008) define ten principles advocated in smart growth policies:2 Create a range of housing opportunities and choices; Create walkable neighborhoods; Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration; Foster distinctive, attractive commun ities with a strong sense of place; Make predictable, fair, cost e ffective development decisions; Mix land uses; Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas; Provide a variety of tr ansportation choices; Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities; and 1 Downs (2004) describes sprawl as low-density peripheral growth that includes new subdivisions that leapfrog far beyond existing settled areas onto vacant or agricultural land (p. 1). He mainta ins that it relies heavily on the almost exclusive use of private automobiles for transportation; the control of land use by fragmented and relatively small local governments; and the lack of even moderately coordinated land use planning among communities (Downs, 2004, p. 1). 2 SGN and EPA present the same principl es, though they organize them differen tly. There does not appear to be an intended significance to their ordering. For the purposes of this thesis, the principles are presented according to the order used by SGN.


21 Take advantage of compact building design (SGN, 2008). While the principles of smart growth are wide ly acceptable ideas about the desirable form and character of communities (Porter, 2004, p. 1), the specific components of smart growth remain open to interpretation, as any organizations list of smart growth principles depend, at least to an extent, upon the interests of the organization (Porter, 2002, p. 1). Individual communities can pick and choose which principles they would like to address through sp ecific policies, meaning that the smart growth tools employed by one commun ity can vary drastically from those used by another. Smart Growth and Affordable Housing: Smart growth and affordable housing both aim to improve communities: smart growth through policies aimed at discouraging sprawl, and affordable housing by providing housing opportunities for people who may not be able to afford market-rate units. But the relationship between smart growth and affordable housing remains complex, as do smart growth and affordable housi ng in and of themselves. In the elections of 2000, state or local ballot initiatives in 38 st ates focused on issues of planning or smart growth, with an approval rate of more than 70 % (Voith & Crawford, 2004, p. 83), indicating that smart growth policies ar e being supported across the nation. Yet because the relationship between smart growth and affordable housing is not fully understood, the implementation of these policies may have prof ound, though perhaps unanticipated effects on the residents of affordable housing. An important component of a communitys health, vitality, and economic development, affordable housing is being affected by the smart growth po licies that are sweeping the nation. Though much has been written on the possibl e effects of smart growth policies on affordable housing, scholars do not agree on whethe r smart growth generally helps or hinders the


22 availability of affordable housing. There does seem to be agreement, though, that given the various political motivations and implementati on strategies associated with smart growth, assessing its impacts on housing affordability remains difficult. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Housing a nd Urban Development (HUD), the federal agency overseeing the majority of urban affordable housing programs, published a document claiming that land-use regulations, such as those promoted by smart growth advocates, excessively [increase] the cost of new or rehabilitated affordable housing without sound compensating public benefits (p. 1). In adam antly calling for deregulation, even HUD admits the complexity and variety of smart growth pol icies and their effect on affordable housing: some smart growth principles, such as highe r density development, can facilitate the development of affordable housing, [though a number of communities] have used smart growth rhetoric to justify restricting growth and limiting developable la nd supply, which lead to housing cost increases (HUD, 2005, p. 5). The publication goes on to discuss the ways in which land-use regulations, some of which can be characterized as smart growth based on the principles listed previously in this chapter, raise development costs and therefore impede housing affordability. For instance, the implementation of environmental regulations, some of which qualify as smart growth based on the principle of preserving open space, may curtail the development of much needed affordable housing by increasing the cost of land (HUD, 2005). Even before the term smart growth entered the vernacular, scholars wrote of a widespread belief that environmental controls [would] have a signifi cant adverse effect on the supply, cost and allocation of land for housing (Soloman, 1976, p. 8). Environmental policies limiting development on environmentally sensitive land increase housing demand for the existing housing stock, thereby increasi ng its price and reducing housi ng affordability (White, 1992, p.


23 4). More specifically addre ssing the conflict between the pr eservation of open space and affordable housing, Wendell Cox (2002) takes is sue with urban growth boundaries, a process he refers to as land rationing. First adopted by Or egon in the 1970s and re cently established in several other communities, urban growth boundaries designate specific land for urban development, consequently prohibiting urban development outside the boundary (Cox, 2002, p. 39). Local officials application of urban growth boundaries decr eases the amount of developable land, therefore increasing competition for that land (Cox, 2002, p. 4). A simple rule of economics states that increased competition fo r a good, in this case land, increases the price of that good relative to the price of that good under conditions of relatively low competition (Cox, 2002). The application of urban growth boundaries, then, increases the cost of developable land, which is passed onto the consumer once the land is developed. In addition, HUDs (2005) advocacy for deregul ation argues that impact fees decrease housing affordability. Rather than local government s paying for the infrastructure required for development, such as streets, water, and sewer, development impact fees instead put the burden of paying for this infrastructure on the individual developer (Cox, 2002; HUD, 2005). The impact fees incurred by the developer are passed on to individuals in the form of higher housing costs. Though this increase in housing price creates a burden for all households, low-income households feel the decrease in housing affordability more acutely (Cox, 2002). Identifying both environmental regulations and impact fees as smart growth policies that decrease housing affordability, HUD (2005) cites in creased density as a smart growth tool that facilitates housing affordability (p. 3). While attesting to the difficulty of universally defining smart growth as either good or bad for affordable housing, Voith & Crawfords 2004


24 examination of densitys affect on housing a ffordability further complicates this notion. Increased density, they claim, makes high-density housing less expensive and low -density housing more expensive (Voith & Crawford, 2004). Mandating higher density development decreases the future supply of low-density housing, therefore increasing its price (Voith & Crawford, 2004). Similarly, the future supply of high-density, less landintensive development increases, causing prices of these units to fall. Thus an ambiguous relationship exists between housing affordability and increased density, a de sign element advocated by the smart growth policy of compact building design (Voith & Crawfo rd, 2004). Unintentional losses of affordable housing can result from growth management policies that mandate higher density without lowering regulatory barriers (Danielsen, La ng, and Fulton, 1999, citing Fischel, 1990, 1997). It remains unclear, then, what the specific effect s of high-density, compact development are on housing affordability. Clearly density alone is not the answer to providing affordable housing (Carlson & Mathur, 2004, p. 31), though it remains one of se veral potential policie s that can increase affordable housing availability. Higher densit y development does not necessitate high-rise buildings that conflict with neighborhood character and are unwant ed by local residents (Carlson & Mathur, 2004, p. 30 31). Instead, accessory dwelling units, also known as mother-in-law apartments, can increase density in subur ban single-family neighborhoods and provide affordable housing while reinforcing traditiona l neighborhood character and avoiding neighbors opposition (Carlson & Mathur, 2004, p. 31). When done properly, increased density can mean a welcome addition of affordable housing to a community (Carlson & Mathur, 2004, p.31). Inclusionary zoning is anothe r smart growth policy advocates maintain increases the availability of affordable housing. Unlike the debated policies already mentioned here, most


25 scholars agree that inclusionary zoning does actually contribute to the provision of affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning refers to regulatory programs that pressure housing developers to include in their projects a certain percentage of units to be sold or rented at below-market prices to relatively low-income households (Downs, 2004, p. 13). It therefore fulfills the smart growth principle of expanding the range and options of available housing within a community. While both Porter (2004) and Harmon (2004) maintain that inclusionary zoning en courages and aids the production of affordable housing, the fact that inclusionary zoning is an element of smart growth directly intended to increase housing affordability make s their arguments rather redundant. Nonetheless, even inclusionary zoning cannot meet all affordable housing needs, as it represents only one smart growth tool a community can employ (Porter, 2004; Harmon, 2004). None of the tools cited, in f act, can alone adequately address affordable housing needs, as effective smart growth goals can only be reali zed through a combination of multiple policies, a strong community commitment, and political will (Downs, 2004, p. 19). The debated results of smart growth policies, and the fact that local governments each implement smart growth policies to various degrees, resulting in differing outcomes, hardly provide a satisfactory answer as to how smart gr owth affects housing affordability. Impact fees (Cox, 2002; HUD, 2005) and urban growth bounda ries (Cox, 2002) may diminish housing affordability, while inclusionary zoning typi cally enhances it (Cox, 2002). Meanwhile, the effects of increased density on housing affordab ility remain in question (Voith & Crawford, 2004). Yet while the debate continues among scholar s, smart growth policies continue to be implemented across the nation, ofte n with little unders tanding as to how they might affect affordable housing.


26 New Urbanism Much as smart growth policies evolve d from frustrations with suburban land development patterns and the accompanying en vironmental degradation, in 1993 the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) was formed to build communities that enhance residents quality of life and protect the natura l environment (CNU, 2007). Since its inception, the New Urbanism has been hailed as the most significant moveme nt in urban planning of the twentieth century (Song & Knapp, 2003, p. 218, citing Fulton and CNU), a nd it has continued to have a significant impact into the twenty-first century. Recognizing that the co mpact, mixed-use communities of the early twentieth century had been repla ced by suburban development dominated by a separation of uses, the 1996 Charter for the New Urbanism acknowledges disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increasing separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultura l lands and wilderness, and the erosion of societys built heritage (CNU, 2001, p. 1) as one integral challenge faced by modern community-building. In response, the Charter supports four major goals: The restoration of existing urban centers and towns; The restructuring of sprawling suburbs into communities composed of diverse neighborhoods and districts; The conservation of natural environments; and The preservation of built legacy (CNU, 2001). Maintaining that physical solutions by themselves will not solve social and economic problems (CNU, 2001, p. 1), CNU advocates public policy and development practices that create environments welcoming to pedestrians, public transportation, and the private automobile, support defined public spaces, and endorse architect ure that is locally compatible (CNU, 2001). The Charter goes on to list twenty-seven prin ciples to guide public policy, development


27 practice, urban planning, and design (CNU, 200 1, p. 2) divided into three broad categories: The region: Metropolis, city, a nd town, The neighborhood, the di strict, and the corridor, and The block, the stre et, and the building (CNU, 2001, p. 2). In brief, these principles include mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods; convenient public transit, pedestrian-friendly street networks that include bicycle lanes, integrated open spaces, and architecture that stimulates and encourages social intera ction (Song & Knapp, 2003, p. 219).3 Similar to smart growth principles, the princi ples of the New Urbanism do not seek to thwart growth, but instead provide strategies for the continued a nd sustainable growth of regions, cities, and communities (Calthorpe, 1993, p. 41). In many ways, the New Urbanism harkens back to the traditional style of building communities the tradition of compact, mixed-use design that dominated community building before the rise of the automobile. In its effort to enhance the livability of communities, then, the relationshi p between the New Urbanism and affordable housing is a natural one to explore, as affo rdable housing can also enhance a communitys livability. New Urbanism and Affordable Housing: Much as the previous discussion of smart growth and affordable housing recognized that both aim to enrich quality of life, the New Urbanism and affordable housing similarly have broadly identical goals of creating stronger communities. Yet while recognizi ng that design alone is not the solution to the myriad of obstacles faced by community-builders, CNUs appr oach to affordability remains largely design based. Henry Cisneros, former HU D Secretary, referred to this design approach as natural affordability, suggesting that small-unit size, increased density, prudent selection of materials, and construction efficiencies inherently create unit affordability (CNU, 2008). 3 A complete list of these principles can be found in the Appendix.


28 Though natural affordability, then, may be a built-in benefit of the New Urbanism, principle seven of the Charter for the New Urbanism more specifically states: Cities and towns should bring into proximity a broad spectrum of public and private uses to support a regional economy th at benefits people of all incomes. Affordable housing should be distributed throughout the region to match job opportunities and to avoid concentrations of poverty. (CNU, 2001, p. 2) Principle thirteen of the Charter affirms: Within neighborhoods, a broad range of housing t ypes and price levels can bring people of diverse ages, races, and incomes into daily interactions, strengthening the personal and civic bonds essential to an authen tic community. (CNU, 2001, p. 2) While both principles express an unequivocal goal of inco me diversity (Johnson & Talen, 2008, p. 583), empirical analysis suggests that act ual New Urbanist developments are neither diverse nor affordable, despite the prominen ce of these principles in the movement. A study examining 234 market-ra te New Urbanist projects4 from across the country sought to conclude whether units within those de velopments were affordable to median-income residents of the community. Researchers compared the lowest price per unit available for ownership to the salaries of the areas middle-income residents as defined by HUD, to the salary of a local elementary school teacher, and the sa lary of a cook within the county (Talen, 2008). The results provide an empirical basis for criticism of the New Urbanism that New Urbanist developments are not largely accessible to middle-income families or individuals, and fail to address affordability. The results of the study, which had a response rate of 65%, indicate that 15% of the projects surveyed included units affordable to those earning the area median income (AMI), 10% of projects included units affordable to loca l elementary school teachers, and 7% of the 4 Noting the difficulty in identifying New Urbanist devel opments, the specific criteria used for deeming a specific development as New Urbanist remain unclear.


29 developments could accommodate a cook empl oyed within the county (Talen, 2008). While recognizing the small percentage of units available to these house holds, Talen notes that the New Urbanist movement is not even hitting on low-income whatsoever (CNU, 2008). The study fails to supply, however, an analysis of the av ailability of affordable units in conventional developments within the same communities. This lack of critical comparative analysis makes it impossible to determine if New Urbanist projects are any less affordable than non-New Urbanist projects (McIlwain, 2008). The study, though, considered only New Urbani st projects developed at market-rate, without the assistance of public subsidies or fe deral monies. Many New Urbanist projects take advantage of these available funds, which then ma ndate that a certain percentage of the project be accessible to very low, low, and moderate income households.5 The HOPE VI program is one of the most popular methods through which Ne w Urbanist developments meet low-income housing requirements. A HUD admi nistered program established in 1992 and first funded in 1993, HOPE VI, or Housing Opportunities for Pe ople Everywhere, aims to provide stable, mixed-income communities by demolishing and re developing public housing (FitzPatrick, 2000; GAO, 2003). The program strives to create co mmunities for a mixture of economic groups, replacing dilapidated public housing with mostly single-family homes, duplexes, and row homes or townhouses, while ensuring ac cess to transportation and a pe destrian-friendly environment (FitzPatrick, 2000). 5 Since different housing programs utilize different income ranges and income percentages are altered according to regional conditions, it is difficult to strictly define HUDs income ranges. According to Johnson and Talen (2008), very low income households earn between 30 and 50% of the AMI, low income households earn between 50 and 80% of the AMI, and moderate income households earn be tween 80 and 120% of the me dian income for the area. For full information on how HUD defines limits for differen t income ranges, see the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 and the HUD produced document FY2006 HUD Income Limits Briefing Manual


30 Legislatively, HOPE VI has four goals: 1) improve the living environment for public housing residents of severely distressed public housing through the demolition, rehabilitation, reconfiguration, or replacement of obsolete publ ic housing; 2) revitalize sites on which such public housing is located and contribute to th e improvement of the surrounding neighborhoods; 3) provide housing that will avoid or decrease the concentration of very low income families; and 4) build sustainable communities (GAO, 20 03, p. 1; Popkin et al., 2004, p. 1). A central premise of HOPE VI was that the overc oncentration of profoundly poor, non-working households was a major contribut or to high levels of social problems (GOA, 2003, p 14), echoing CNUs insistence that affordable hosing shoul d be distributed to a void concentrations of poverty (CNU, 2001, Principle 7). The union of New Urbanist principles with the provision of affordable housing, however, is not entirely unexpected. Michael Pyatok, a re nowned architect of low-income housing, is quoted as saying, planning mixed-use nei ghborhoods offering a wide variety of work opportunities along with good public tr ansit may be the single most important contribution to housing affordability (Nothstine, 2008), alludi ng to the natural alliance between the New Urbanists and HUD, the federal provider of publ ic housing in the United States. Accordingly, HUD recognizes that good design is an integral part of good lo w-income housing (Schwartz, 2006; CNU and HUD, 2000, p. 2). In 2000, HUD collaborated with CNU to establish fourteen strategies for developing low-income hous ing in vibrant, desirable neighborhoods: Citizen and Community Involvement: Engages residents, neighbors, civic leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, developers, and local institutions throughout the process of designing change for their neighborhoods. Economic Opportunity: The design of neighborhood development should accommodate management techniques and scales of construc tion that can be contracted to local and minority businesses.


31 Diversity: Provide a broad range of housing types and price levels to bring people of diverse ages, races, and incomes into da ily interaction strengthening the personal and civic bonds essential to an authentic community. Neighborhoods: Neighborhoods are compact, pedestrian -friendly, and mixed use with many activities of daily lif e available within walking distan ce. New development should help repair existing neighborhoods or create new ones and should not take the form of an isolated project. Infill Development: Reclaim and repair blighted and abandoned ar eas within existing neighborhoods by using infill development strategically to conserve economic investment and social fabric. Mixed Use: Promote the creation of mixed use ne ighborhoods that support the functions of daily life: employment, recreation, retail, and civic and educational institutions. City-wide and Regional Connections: Neighborhoods should be connect ed to regional patterns of transportation and land use, to open space, and to natural systems. Streets: The primary task of all urban architec ture and landscape design is the physical definition of streets and public spaces as places of shared use. Neighborhoods should have an interconnected network of st reets and public open space. Public Open Space: The interconnected network of st reets and public open space should provide opportunities for recr eation and appropriate setti ngs for civic buildings. Safety and Civic Engagement: The relationship of buildings and streets should enable neighbors to create a safe and stable neighborhood by provi ding eyes on the street and should encourage interaction and community id entity. Provide a clear definition of public and private realm through block and street design that res ponds to local traditions. Dwelling as Mirror of Self: Recognize the dwelling as the ba sic element of a neighborhood and as the key to self-esteem and community pr ide. This includes the clear definition of outdoor space for each dwelling. Accessibility: Buildings should be designed to be acces sible and visitable while respecting the traditional urban fabric. Local Architectural Character: The image and character of new development should respond to the best traditions of residential and mixed use ar chitecture in the area. Design Codes: The economic health and harmonious evolution of neighborhoods can be improved through graphic urban design codes that serve as predictable guides for change. (CNU and HUD, 2000, p. 4) Advocated by both CNU and HUD, these principles directly address the pr inciples of the New Urbanism and indirectly address the issue of housing affordability by advocating income


32 diversity and compact design. Alth ough the fourteen strategies ar e primarily design-based, both HUD and CNU (2000) admit that vibrant communities can only be built if design is considered along with social and economic development. While these principles have been integrated into many HOPE VI projects across the county, th e ultimate success of the HOPE VI program remains a topic of debate. Overall, through 2001 HOPE VI has succeeded in demolishing 97,000 units of the worst housing units in the inventory, pumping over $4.2 billion in federal spending dollars into distressed neighborhoods, leveraging billions of dollars of private investment, and pioneering mixed-finance development (Clancey & Quigley, 2001, p. 529). Critics, however, claim that in decreasing the density of redeveloped sites, th e HOPE VI program leads to the production of fewer units available to low-income households, and therefore fails as a housing program that aims to provide for low-income residents (FitzPatrick, 2000). In fact, the central problem is that the federal plan does not adequate ly consider the needs of resi dents in the developments, a problem that has plagued all federal attempts at providing public housing (FitzPatrick, 2000, p. 423). While on the opposite side of the HOPE VI debate than FitzPatrick (2000), Clancey and Quigley (2001) agree with his insistence that the HOPE VI program shrinks the supply of housing units available to low-income households. They maintain, however, that the loss of units is compensated for by the increas ed quality of and opportunities afforded by the units provided, blaming any failures of the program on local implem entation rather than st ructural oversights in the policy (Clancey & Quigley, 2001). Reevaluating the Literature Smart growth and New Urbanism, it appears, can each be interpreted as either aiding or thwarting the production of affordable housing. This statement, and the literature examined in the preceding sections, accepts a ffordable housing as defined base d on cost relative to income


33 with the 30% threshold. The following sections explore the shortcomings of this narrow definition and review additional literature concerni ng quality of life, mainta ining that suitability of housing should be a central consideration in defining affordable hosing. For the purposes of this study, such housing is called su itable housing, a term that inco rporates features contributing to quality of life. Within this context, smar t growth and the New Urbanism join forces to generate in concert a single list of desired principles. Beyond Affordability What Else Is Importa nt in Providing Affordable Housing? The commonly accepted and utilized definition of affordable housing outlined earlier in this paper suggests that a decent home in a suitable living environment, costing households no more than 30% of pre-tax annual income, is affordable (Schwartz, 2006, p. 1, citing the 1949 Housing Act). Recent analysis of affordable hou sing emphasizes the cost of housing, rather than ways in which suitable housing can directly contribut e to ones quality of life.6 Of seven goals prominent within American housing policy since the 1930s, only one acknowledges the quality of housing (Schwartz, 2006, ci ting Katz et al., 2003). This failure necessitates a clar ification of terminology. While housing affordability only recognizes ones financial capacity to pay fo r housing, as suggested by the 30% threshold, suitable affordable housing encompasses housing cost while integrating additional factors that contribute to the quality of lif e. Douglas Porter (2002) consid ers six qualities of community development, one of which is livability (p. 1). While impl ying a comfortable environment with essential support for everyday life (Porter, 2002, p. 67), livability is the attribute that all 6 David Felce and Jonathan Perry (1995) describe qu ality of life as a combination of life conditions and satisfaction, weighted by scale of importance (p. 55). Because this definition is multidimensional, integrating objective and subjective indicators, a broad range of life domains, and individual values, they maintain that quality of life is difficult if not impossible to operationali ze (Felce & Perry, 1995, p. 55). Potentially, quality of life could be different for every individual. Although Felce and Pe rrys (1995) discussion of quality of life occurs within the context of medical practice, it is applicable to a broader range of topics, including affordable housing.


34 housing, affordable or otherwise, must id eally possess to be considered suitable.7 Even with this definition, though, livability, quality of life, and th erefore suitable affordable housing remain somewhat intangible. What specific factors, then, contribute to livab ility and make housing suitable for its residents? While HUD (2005) and Cox (2002) both cl aim that impact fees reduce the affordability of housing, they fail to discuss the ways in wh ich impact fees ensure access to necessary infrastructure and guarantee a minimal quality of life. Floridas 1985 Gr owth Management Act requires that facilities and serv ices be available concurrent with development (Florida Legislature, 2008), mandating a mi nimum level of infrastructure service for new development. While transportation, pota ble water, sewer, solid waste dr ainage, parks and recreation, and education are all subject to c oncurrency within the state of Florida, local governments must determine the level-of-service standards they wish to achieve (Florida Department of Community Affairs, 2005). Nonetheless, by requir ing that local government s create local levelsof-service for this infrastructure, the Florida Legi slature recognizes that a ccess to certain utilities and infrastructure comprises an esse ntial component of any development.8 While buildings can be constructed without access to water, sewer, and other facilities and st ill meet the requirement of affordability by costing no more than 30% of a households income, su ch structures would not be considered suitable for habitation. Because acce ss to these services is part of the essential support [necessary] for everyday life (Porter, 2002, p. 67), these utilities represent a necessary component of suitable affordable housing. 7 Felce and Perry (1995) recognize that quality of life is potentially different across individuals. Porter (2002) similarly maintains that what one individual considers livable might not appeal to someone else (p. 67), hinting at the close relationship between livability and quality of life. 8 Florida is not alone in its adoption of a Growth Management Act, as twelve other states require similar concurrency. These states are Hawaii, Vermont, Oreg on, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Georgia, Washington, Maryland, Arizona, Tennessee, Colorado, and Wisconsin (Anthony, 2004).


35 While access to infrastructure is vital, so, too, is access to services, including employment, education, healthcar e, and shopping. The United Nati ons predicts that worldwide urban population will nearly double between 2000 and 2030 while ru ral population will decrease by nearly half that (UNFPA, 2007, p. 6), illustrating both an increas e in population and a migration towards cities. Clearly access to myriad opportunities attr acts people to cities, as urban centers often serve as center s for employment and shopping. Again, access to these services is closely related to quality of life and livability. While education and healthcare contribute directly to quality of life, employment provides a m eans by which to live, while shopping provides access to necessary goods. Indeed, the linkage of high-poverty neighborhoods to low school performance, high teenage pregnancy rates, a nd low earnings and employ ment levels (Smith, 2002) reinforce the argument that families and individuals of low-incomes need access to services such as education, healthcare, and empl oyment more urgently than others. Affordable housing, then, should be located where th ese services are r eadily accessible. This discussion, however, is not to suggest that affordable housing must or even definitively should be located within urban cent ers. What remains imperative is that it is situated within ready access to these services, wh ich may or may not be in the urban core. Indeed access, i.e. transportation, is yet another component of suitable affordable housing. Transportation, whether through connectivity of local roadways or the ava ilability, reliability, and frequency of public transpor tation, provides a means by which residents gain mobility and access to services not readily availa ble within their own community. Transportation, however, is a distinct component of both suitable affordable housing and housing affordability The Center for Housing Policy f ound that for every dollar a working family saves on housing, an additional seventyseven cents are spent on transportation (Lipman,


36 2006, Message from the Chairman). Spatially, a lack of affordable housing [exists] proximate to employment sites (Smith & Steiner, 2002, p. 453) suggesting that indivi duals hoping to save on housing costs must make lengthy and expensive commutes between home and work. Not surprisingly, then, housing and transportation are the two larges t expenses for most households. For households of all income levels, 27% of income goes for housing alone and another onefifth goes to the cost of getting around (L ipman, 2006, p. 1). But more significant than both being major expenses for most families, a trad e-off exists between housing and transportation expenses: families that spend more than 50% of their total expenditures on housing designate 7.5% of their budget for transporta tion, while families that spe nd 30% or less of their total budget on housing spend almost 25% of their budget on transportation (Lipman, 2006, p. 1).9 Simply put, the less one spends on housing, the more one probably spends on transportation meaning that low-income residents of afford able housing may spend a significantly higher percentage of their income on transportation than other income groups. Given the positive correlation between access to transportation and hous ing affordability, it is essential that those siting and providing affordable housing be mindful of this relationship. While employment opportunities and infrastructure, to mention only two components of suitable affordable housing, are vital to ones qua lity of life, to limit the discussion to these factors would suggest that resi dents of affordable housing shoul d and do spend their entire day working. To believe that anyone devotes his or her entire day to productivity would be nave. Concurrency in the state of Florida, one reme mbers, applies equally to parks and recreation, suggesting that relaxation and the na tural environment are also essent ial elements to ones life. In California, a bill was recently signed into law th at creates incentives for local governments to 9 See Figure 2-1.


37 include plans and funding for parks in the commun ities in which they build affordable housing (California Department of Housing and Co mmunity Development, 2008). Lynn L. Jacobs, Director of Californias Depart ment of Housing and Community Development, accurately stated that the parks will enhance the qua lity of life in these neighborhoods (California Department of Housing and Community Development, 2008), recognizing that park s afford significant educational and recreational amenities and shoul d be considered when developing affordable housing. Certainly these factors contributing to the suitability of affordable housing, though not exhaustive, illustrate the point th at the cost of housing is not th e only variable worth considering in providing quality affordable housing. These qua lities, in fact, are de sirable in all housing, whether built as intentionally affo rdable or not. Households of a ll income levels can benefit from the attributes outlined in this section. Yet despit e the importance of these factors, the literature assessing smart growth, the New Urbanism, a nd affordable housing overwhelmingly focuses on the affordability and design of housing, shying away from analyzing if and how these policies enhance affordable housings suitability A more complete definition of affordable housing, then, must encompass the concept of affordability, based on a households pre-tax inco me, and the concept of suitability. Such housing offers a healthy, productive life, while av ailable to households at a cost they are sustainably able to afford. The literatures failure to make this connection between affordable housing and quality of life, however highlights an additional gap in the literature that is mirrored in government programs emphasizing the ratio of cost to income ove r suitability. Because affordable housing has previously been defined as any housing costing no more than 30% of a households income, the discussions relating eith er smart growth or the New Urbanism to


38 affordable housing are inherently flawed. By us ing an incomplete definition as its basis for analysis, the discussions have been limited to thos e pertaining to the cost of housing, rather than its suitability. Clarifying this problem has n ecessitated the redefinition of affordable housing. Similarly, for the purposes of this study, the term suitability reflects an integration of the shared characteristics of both these movements. Smart Growth, the New Urbanism, and Great Places The qualities associated with suitable affo rdable housing are largely qualities that are considered desirable in any type of housing developm ent. The principles of smart growth and the New Urbanism, then, contribute not only to suita ble affordable housing, but suitable housing in general, enhancing quality of life. While not specifically addressing the suitability of affordable housing or any housing particularly the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) (2003) has determined what aspects key attributes and intangible qualities contribute to great places (see Figure 2-2). The organization also established measurements of these qualities. A review of the PPS diagram reveals that many of th e factors contributing to a great place are the same as those that have been discussed as c ontributing to suitable affordable housing and to smart growth and New Urbanist principles. According to PPS, Acce ss & Linkages, meaning that a community is connected, walkable, and accessible, contribut e to a great place. Acce ssibility, walkability, a variety of transportation choi ces, and connectedness are all virt ues prescribed by both planning movements and amenable to suitable affordable housing. The attractivenes s of and pride in a great place, both intangible qualities directly relate to the principle of encouraging distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place, as advocated by smart growth (SGN, 2008). Similarly, the land use patterns that PPS de signates as a measure of Uses & Activities reflect the principles of mixed land uses that both smart growth and the New Urbanism advocate and that meet the needs of residents of affordable housing.


39 Thus, the indicators of a great place can serv e as a guide for suitable affordable housing. Furthermore, the PPS determinants of a great pl ace give credence to the principles of smart growth and the New Urbanism. The PPS model, th en, serves as a tangible link between the principles of progressive planning movements and the qualities of suitable housing. What does this mean? Because the PPS model provides ta ngible ways of measuring intangible qualities, it provides a useful fr amework for this study. Though beyond the scope of this thesis, the qualitative elements of smart growth and the New Urbanism can be transformed into quantitative measurements applicable to understanding the suitabil ity of housing. Studies that combine measures of transportation a nd housing costs are alr eady facilitating this quantitative transformation. Realiz ing that households living near jobs, ed ucation, shopping, and services spend less on transportation than those that live far from the same resources and recognizing the trade-off that exists between housing and transportation costs,10 an innovate approach known as the Location Efficient Mortgage (LEM) attempts to link the two (Arigoni, 2001, p. 25). Since living near public transit can re sult in reduced transpor tation costs, often due to being less dependent on the private autom obile and only owning one car, the LEM seeks to include these savings in calculations of hous ing affordability (Arigoni, 2001, p. 25). Potential homebuyers considering a home near public tr ansportation, then, would qualify for a higher mortgage because they have more ava ilable income for housing (Arigoni, 2001, p. 25). Smart Urbanism While the L EM suggests the need for greater tr ansportation options, both smart growth and the New Urbanism similarly advocate transporta tion alternatives. Though often included in the 10 For a graphical representation of this trade-off, see Figu re 2-3. Note that although the split between housing and transportation varies by location, the combined expenditure remains roughly the same. This reflects the trade-off that exists between housing and transportation costs (Lipman, 2006, p. 3).


40 same discussion, smart growth and the New Urbanism are largely treated as two separate movements. While smart growth emerged from a sens itivity to the environmen t that resulted in a broad, regional approach, the New Urbanism ai ms to combat sprawl, while assuming a more fine-grained, design-based approach to help communities function more effectively through the application of specific design principles. The u ltimate outcomes of the two movements, however, are remarkably similar. While the approaches of smart growth are more regional than the specific design codes employed by the New Urbani sts, the policies and practices endorsed by either movement bear resemblances that cannot be ignored, as both aim to improve the lives of residents through the provision of high-densit y, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods that have access to a variety of transportation modes and ad equate green space. In general these goals are not specific to either smart growth or the Ne w Urbanism and differ little from the goals of growth management, sustainable deve lopment, or simply good planning. Consistent with definitions of smart gr owth, a document prepared by CNU and HUD (2000) describes the New Urbanism in the following terms: In a well designed neighborhood, adults and chil dren can walk safely to nearby shopping, schools, and parks. Public facilities serve as focal points for community activity. A broad range of housing options allow a mix of family sizes, ages, incomes, and cultures to live harmoniously. Transit service to regional jobs is a convenient walk from home. Neighbors know each other and take a special sense of pride in their homes and community. Healthy neighborhoods foster positive community spirit th at can in turn help mend old wounds and remake the city. (p. 3) Both movements advocate walkable commun ities accessible by public transportation, where households of different incomes and preferen ces are mixed in among the built and natural environment. While CNU members believe th at compact, pedestrian -friendly neighborhoods


41 are the best building blocks for vibrant co mmunities (CNU and HUD, 2000, p. 35), advocates of smart growth would almost certainly agree.11 Given these overwhelming similarities, espe cially within the c ontext of this study, continuing to discuss smart growth and the Ne w Urbanism as two separate and distinct ideologies is unnecessary. Instead, the remainder of this thesis will use the term Smart Urbanism to describe the principles and polic ies advocated by both smart growth and the New Urbanism. While some scholars and advocates of either movement will insist that these are distinctive and separa te movements, the comparison is not unfounded. The New Urbanism encourages planning in an ec onomically, ecologically, and envi ronmentally sustainable way, which are all principles that can be accurately identified as smart growth. CNU is even a member of Smart Growth America, a coalition of nationa l, state, and local organizations committed to building better communities (Smart Growth Amer ica, n.d.), illustrating th e interconnectedness of the movements. Smart Urbanism, then, the term that will be utilized for the remainder of this document, can be defined by the following principles, whic h represent a combinati on of smart growth and New Urbanist principles, and are presented here in no particular order: Provide a range of housing types, choices, and prices; Ensure walkability; Encourage community collaboration by engaging residents, neighbors, civic leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, developers, and local institutions throughout the process; Offer distinct, attractive commun ities with a strong sense of place, as defined by streets, public gathering spaces, and civic buildings; 11 For a more detailed, graphical representation of the overlap between smart growth and the New Urbanism, see Table 2-1. While several of the detailed New Urbanist principles directly relate to more than one of the broader smart growth principles, an attempt was made to list each New Urbanist principle only once, as compared to the most relevant smart growth principle, for simplicity.


42 Practice fair, cost effective development decisi ons that are consistent with local climate, topography, history, and building practice; Mix land uses that support the f unctions of daily life: employmen t, recreation, retail, and civic and educational institutions; Preserve open space, natural beauty, and critic al environmental areas to define and connect different neighborhoods and districts; Provide a variety of transporta tion choices, including public tran sit, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic; Direct development towards existing communities by encouraging infill; and Encourage high-density, compact design. Like both smart growth and the New Urbanism, Smart Urbanism can help developers and housing agencies design communities, rather than just individual structures. Informal Settlements and Self-Help Housing as a Means to Evaluate Smart Urbanism Better understanding Sm art Urbanism and its co ntributions to housing suitability requires examining the implementation of these policies. While most studies considering the impact of Smart Urbanist features on affordable housing examine traditional Western developments, examining an informal settlement in the Globa l South provides an opportunity to explore the universality and suitability of thes e features in the context of an organic, self-help development. Informal Brazilian squatter settlements, known as favelas, offer the ideal situation for exploring the relationship between the pr inciples of Smart Urbanism and housing suitability, as the communities are built entirely by the residents. Re sidents of these communities generally have low-levels of education and are among the poor est in a city. They choose to build their communities in ways that best suit their daily liv es and contribute to their quality of life. Any implementation of Smart Urbanist principles, th en, is the result of their practicality and desirability, and not any knowledge of either smart growth or the New Urbanism principles


43 Numerous studies assessing peoples willingn ess to pay for smart growth and New Urbanist features in communities in the United States have been completed, largely concluding that residents are willing to pay increased prices for the qualities associated with these features (Song & Knapp, 2003). These findings suggest the desi rability of these feat ures and a negative relationship between them and housing affo rdability (Song & Knapp, 2003). Rather than exploring a community in which the principles of Smart Urbanism are imposed on residents by a conscientious developer or progre ssive local planning department, a more revealing case study is that of a community built through self-help housing, a tactic through which one constructs most if not all of their home in order to save m oney on labor costs (Rural Housing Service, 2003). This methodology recognizes and inco rporates the self-organizing features of the most robust human settlements, valuing the organic process of building ones own home above top-down interventions that dominate todays housi ng market (Salingaros et al., 2006, p. 2). While the formal pattern of land development begins with tenure security and works through a chain of planning, surveying, infrastructu re development, and construction before the site is occupied, the informal pattern of la nd development assumes the exact opposite course, beginning with land occupation before ultimat ely reaching (and still only in some cases achieving) security of tenure (M acedo, 2008). The formal process is dominated by control of the developer and/or local developers while residents largely perform the activities in the informal process. Figure 2-4 illustrates this dichotomy. The commonly accepted definition of a favela is an informal squatter settlement, popularly perceived as an enclave of poverty, violence, and illegal activity. Since 1991 (IETS, n.d.), the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE)12 has used the following description: 12 The IBGE is the Brazilian equivalent of the Census Bureau in the United States.


44 Subnormal agglomerate (favelas and alike) is a group constituted of a minimum of 51 housing units (huts, houses) occupying or having occupied until recently, someone elses property (public or private), generally built in a dense and disorganized way and lacking, in its majority, the esse ntial public services. (IBGE, 2000) This definition, like most defi nitions of favelas and informal settlements around the world, focuses on the elements lacking in the communities using negation to define the spaces in which many of the urban poor live. A team of scholars and practitioners, includi ng Andrs Duany, founding father of the New Urbanism, noted the negative perception of favelas and insisted upon their worth: [] it is widely accepted (with only a few exceptions) that the unplanned owner-built favela is embarrassing to the government, and has to be bulldozed as soon as possible. Yet that assumption is wrong. Very few in a position of authority seem to consider the urban and economic advantages of existing shantyto wns. The geometry of buildings, lots, and street patterns has for the most part devel oped (evolved) organica lly, and this selforganization affords a number of very desirabl e features. With all its grave faults, the favela offers an instructive spontaneous dem onstration of economic, efficient, and rapid processes of housing people. (S alingaros et al., 2006, p. 5) The remainder of this document operates from a similar foundation that re cognizes the attributes of favelas, although these commun ities cannot be simplified and generically explained. Various profiles correspond to different favelas. While one favela may be defined by very low-income residents who work primarily in the informal ec onomy, another may have the same income level and education as some formalized municipali ties (Oliveira, 2006). While some favelas are overcrowded, others are meticulously planne d with designated open space (Perlman, 1976). What is consistent among favelas, however, is the fact that they are the di rect result of citizen action, built by the residents them selves, and therefore provide in sight into qualities desired by the community. Now that an improved definition of afford able housing and a succinct description of Smart Urbanism are available, one can begin to understand the relationship between the two. This connection will be elucidat ed through a case study of an informal settlement in Brazil. The


45 methodology is the focus of the next chapter. While most studies considering the relationship of smart growth and/or New Urbani st principles with affordab le housing examine traditional Western developments, a case study of an informal settlement in the Glob al South highlights the suitability of these features, rather than th e theoretical benefits identified by academics and practitioners who advocate the movements.


46 Table 2 -1. A Comparison of Smart Growth and the New Urbanism Smart growth principles 1 New Urbanist principles 2 Smart Urbanist principles Create a range of housing opportunities and choices. Provide a broad range of housing types and price levels; W ithin neighborhoods, a broad range of housing types and price levels can bring people of diverse ages, races, and incomes into daily interaction, strengthening the person and civic bonds essential to an authentic community. Provide a range of housing types, choices, and prices. Create walkable neighborhoods. Many activities of daily living should occur within walking distance. Interconnected networks of streets should be designed to encourage walking, reduce the number and length of automob ile trips, and conserve energy; A ppropriate building densities and land uses should be within walking distance of transit stops, permitting public transit to become a viable alternative to automobiles. Ensure walkability. Encourage community and stakeh older collaboration. Engage residents, neighbors, civic leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, developers, and local institutions throughout the process of designing change for the neighborhoods. Encourage community collaboration by engaging residents, neig hbors, civic leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, developers, and local institutions throughout the process. 1 As defined by SGN, 2008. 2 As defined by the Charter of the New Urb anism, 2001, and Principles for Inner City Neighborhoods Design prepared by CNU and HUD, 2000.


47 Table 2 -1. Continued Smart growth principles New Urbanist principles Smart Urbanist principles Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place. A primary task of all urban architecture and landscape design is the physical definition of streets and public spaces as places of shared use; Streets and squares should be safe, comfortable, and interesting to the pedestria n. Properly configured, they encourage walking and enable neighbors to know each other and protect their communities; Civic buildings and public gathering places require important sites to reinforce community identity and the culture of democracy. They de serve distinctive form, because their role is different from that of other buildings and places that co nstitute the fabric of the city; Strengthen the personal and civic bonds essential to an authentic community. Offer distinct, attractive communities w ith a strong sense of place, as defined by streets, public gatherings, and civic buildings. Make predictable, fair, cost effective development decisions. Architecture and landscape design should grow from local climate, topography, history, and building practice. Practice fair, cost effective development decisions that are consistent with local climate, topography, history, and building practice. Mix land uses. Neighborhoods should be compact, pedestrian frien dly, and mixed use; Promote the creation of mixed use neighborhoods that support the functions of daily life: employment, recreation, retail, and civic and educational institutions. Mix land uses that support the function of daily life: employment, recreation, retail, and c ivic and educational institutions.


48 Table 2 -1. Continued Smart growth principles New Urbanist principles Smart Urbanist principles Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas. A range of parks, from tot lots and village greens to ballfield and community gardens, should be distributed within neighborhoods. Conservation areas and open lands should be used to define and connect different neighborhoods and districts. Preserve open space, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas to define and connect different neighborhoods and districts. Provide a variety of transportation choices. The physical organization of the region should be supported by a framework of transportatio n alternatives. Transit, pedestrian, and bicycle systems should maximize access and mobility throughout the region while reducing dependence upon the automobile; Appropriate building densities and land uses should be within walking distance of transit sto ps, permitting public transit to become a viable alternative to automobiles. Provide a variety of transportation choices, including public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.


49 Table 2 -1. Continued Smart growth principles New Urbanist principles Smart Urbanist principles Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities. Developm ent patterns should not blur or eradicate the edges of the metropolis. Infill development within existing urban areas conserves environmental resources, economic investment, and social fabric, while reclaiming marginal and abandoned areas. Metropolitan regions should develop strategies to encourage such infill develop ment over peripheral expansion; The development and redevelopment of towns and cities should respect historical patterns, precedents, and boundaries. Direct development towards existing communities by encouraging infill. Take advantage of compact building design. Neighborhoods should be compact, pedestrian friendly, and mixed use Encourage high density, compact design.


50 Figure 2-1. Households that Spend More of their Budget on Housing Spend Less on Transportation (Lipman, Barbara J. (2006) A heavy load: The combined housing and transportation burdens of working families Washington, D.C.: Center for Housing Policy, p.1).


51 Figure 2-2. What Makes a Gr eat Place? (Project for Public Spaces, 2003).


52 Figure 2-3. Tradeoff Between Housing and Transportati on Costs in U.S. Cities (Lipman, Barbara J. (2006) A heavy load: The combined housing and transportation burdens of working families. Washington, D.C.: Center for Housing Policy, page 3).


53 Figure 2-4. Patterns of Development for Formal and Informal Se ttlements (Based on Macedo, Jose li. (2008). Urban land policy and new land tenure paradigms: Legitimacy vs. legality in Brazilian cities. Land Use Policy 25, pp. 259 270, Figure 1, p. 264). Edited by author.


54 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY: A CASE STUDY OF ROCINHA This chapter describes the m ethodology used to assess the relationship between Smart Urbanism and suitable affordable housing, both of which were explored and defined in the previous chapter. By examining the design of an informal squatter se ttlement, created through methods of self-help, one recognizes the practicalit y of Smart Urbanist principles, as they are employed by many individual residents not because th ey are familiar with either smart growth or New Urbanism, but simply because these practices foster the type of community in which they desire to live. Selection of a Case Study Assessing th e effects of Smart Urbanist principles on the quality and suitability of affordable housing necessitates the use of an exploratory case study (Yin, 1984). More specifically, an international case study of an informal s quatter settlement provides the opportunity to explore the univers ality of Smart Urbanist features. Broadly, a case study is an empirical inquiry that: 1) inve stigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when 2) the boundaries between phenomenon and cont ext are not clearly ev ident; and in which 3) multiple sources of evidence are used (Yin, 1984, p. 23). In this case study, Smart Urbanism is the contemporary phenomenon and the informal squatter settlement repr esents the real-life context in which it is assesse d. Case studies provide research ers with the opportunity to explain the casual links in real-life interventions that cannot be simplified for survey or experimentation, and to describe the real-life context of an occurrence (Yin, 1984, p. 25). Case studies also serve to provide an illu strative, descriptiv e account, and to explore the situation in which the intervention being evaluated has no clear single set of outcomes (Yin, 1984, 25). In exploratory case studies, fieldw ork and data collection can often be accomplished prior to the


55 finalization of research questions, although the framework of the research must be firmly established (Yin, 1984). In the case of this rese arch, fieldwork was comp leted in relation to a separate project, and it was not until later learning about the princi ples of smart growth and the New Urbanism that the researcher recognized their prevalence in the informal settlements studied in Brazil. The case study chosen for this analysis is th e favela of Rocinha out side Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rocinha is far from the stereotypical fave la as its long histor y and large and diverse population grant it access to many services and mu ch infrastructure other favelas lack. Yet despite some of the features characteristic of formal development that have recently been integrated into the community,1 Rocinhas history is that of a self-help development. For this reason and for the purposes of this study, analyzi ng Rocinha as an informal settlement is valid, though certainly it is not repres entative of all favelas. While using an informal settlement to better understand formal methods of planning in the United States is unconventional, so, too, is the nature of the analysis of Rocinha presented in this study. Unlike most studies examining favelas, this thesis will focus on the attributes of the community, rather than focusing on the tremendous de ficiencies inherent in a system that allows one third of urban homes to exist in need of basic services such as potable water, garbage collection, or energy (Oliveira, 2006). Without ig noring the conditions of poverty inherent to most favelas, this document maintains that they offer valuable insight into the qualities that residents desire in a community. 1 These features will be discussed at greater length in the next chapter.


56 Implementation of Rocinha Case Study The m ajority of findings in this study are ba sed on extensive field not es prepared during a visit to the site in th e winter of 2006. The researcher spent several weeks in Rio de Janeiro during January and February of 2006 as part of an academic program studying the citys urban form, under-development, and social segregati on. Students conducted an urban development and community organization case study that examined multiple favelas around the city, including Rocinha.2 The goal of the initial case study was to unders tand the present conditions of favelas and how they, and the lives of their residents, could be improved. As a member of a group of seven students3 participating in the case st udy, the researcher of this thesis spent significant time becoming familiar with the community and engaging with residents to better understand their perspective. Although there was not a systematic, organized appro ach to gathering information for the initial case study, it involved both formal and informal discussions with local residents and leaders. A Rocinha reside nt and volunteer from Ao Soci al Padre Anchieta (ASPA), a daycare and community center loca ted within the favela, led th e case study researchers through Rocinha, granting access to parts of the community that otherwise did not welcome non-residents and allowing students to pose questions to seventeen residents throughout the community. Questions posed by the research team to both the ASPA guide and residents focused on their perception of the favela (do resi dents like the community, or is it simply the best option available to them?), their perception of the communitys relation to the formal city (in terms of 2 The other favelas included in the original case study were Candelria, Santa Marta, and Cidade de Deus, or City of God, the setting for the popular 2004 film by the same name. 3 When necessary, we were ac companied by a translator.


57 stigmatization, difficulties getting jobs, et c.), and their thoughts on both improving the community and the publics perception of it. Although the initial case study did not raise exactly the same que stions as those presented here, the observations, notes, and findings certa inly inform this study. Exploring the community in person provided the opportunity to better understand the favela and its residents knowledge critical to the completion of this study. S upplemented by additional readings and lectures assigned during the initial site visit, the fieldwork described informs the first part of the methodology. This part of the methodology involve s examining Rocinha in its present condition, paying particular attention to the communitys physical and structural patterns. In addition to fieldwork, both the initial case study and that presente d in this study rely on lectures presented by scholars of favelas and informality in Rio de Janeiro. The lecturers whose work most directly influenced this study are Adauto Cardosa, professor at Institudo de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano e Regional (IPPUR) at the Fe deral University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rose Compans, who studies urban renewal programs on international, national, and local scales, and Fabricio Oliveira, an author and scholar of informality and urban poverty in Brazil. The second part of the methodology, based on the fieldwork but completed retrospectively, considers the design elements observed during the initial trip to Rocinha within the specific context of the principles of Smart Urbanism. A c onstruct such as that in Table 3-1 was used to determine which elements of Smart Urbanism ha ve been incorporated into Rocinha through the development of self-help housing, serving as a checklist by which to examine the community. Due to the interrelated nature of the Smart Urbani st principles outlined earlier in this document, several of the policies ha ve been synthesized into one elem ent for the purpose of simplified observation and analysis. Mixed land uses in a community, for instance, afford walkability,


58 which in turn suggests a certain degree of de nsity. Rather than examining mixed land uses, walkability, and density as three distinct feat ures, the methodology combines them into a single element. Similarly, because ones sense of place is ofte n associated with ones involvement in and trust of the development proce ss, a single element, Community collaboration, se nse of place, and fairness, will be used to assess Rocinha. Smart Urbanism advocates the principle of community collaboration, which en courages the involvement of re sidents and other stakeholders to meet the needs and expectations of all those affected by a potential development. This principle is closely related to tw o other principles of Smart Urbanism: a strong sense of place and fair development decisions consistent with lo cal climate, topography, history, and practice. Ensuring community collaboration throughout the development proces s fosters a strong sense of place, as stakeholders take an active role in shaping the areas future. Similarly, participation from the community serves to guarantee that all development decisions are fair and agreeable to the community itself and other stakeholders. The Transportation choices, existing developments, and open space element recognizes that locating near existing development prov ides access to existing tr ansportation networks, while also preserving open space by reducing spra wl. Housing options, suggesting that a range of housing types, choices, and prices are availa ble, remains a singular element. The elements listed in Table 3-1 are those that will be us ed to assess Smart Urbanism in Rocinha. Each element in the table includes information about the Smart Urbanist principle that informed it. The methodology described above outlines a way in which to qualitatively assess the prevalence of Smart Urbanist principles in Ro cinha, intended to guide a discussion of the relationship between Smart Urbanist principles and quality of life. For the results of this study to


59 be meaningful, an understanding of the turbulent and complex history of favelas, specifically Rocinha, is necessary. The next chapter outlines this historical context for the emergence and continued existence of favelas a nd their configuration. It then applies the methodology described in this chapter to the case study community, by ex amining the structure and design of favelas in relation to the principles of Smar t Urbanism, and begins to shed light on the universality of these principles.


60 Table 3 -1. Elements for Analyzing Smart Urbanism in Rocinha Element Description Community collaboration, sense of place, and fair, predictable development decisions Encourage community collaboration by engaging residents, neighbors, civic leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, developers, and local institutions throughout the process. Offer distinct, attractive communities with a strong sense of pl ace, as defined by streets, public gatherings, and civic buildings. Practice fair, cost effective development decisions that are consistent with local climate, topography, history, and building practice. The community will be assessed in terms of the engag ement of residents, neighbors, civic leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, developers, and local institutions throughout the development process, while also considering the communitys identity and sense of plac e Assessing the fairness of development decisions, while subjective, will require examining Rocinha both as a separate community and as an integral part of Rio de Janeiro while the predictability of development decisions is contingent on consistency with local climate, topology, and development history. Walkabilty, mixed land uses, and density. Ensure walkability. Mix land uses that support the function of daily life: employment, recreation, retail, and civic and educational institutions. Encourage high density, compact design. The community will be assessed on the ability of its residents and visitors to walk between destinations with relative ease. Achieving these criteria necessitates the mixed use of land to support the functions of daily life, such as employment, recreation, retail, and civic and educational institutions. Exploring this component will necessitate examining Rocinha both as a separate community and as an integral part of Rio de Janeiro. Density is also related to walkability and mixed land uses. Accordingly, th e community will be assessed in terms of high dens it y, compact design.


61 Table 3 -1. Continued Element Description Transportation choices, existing developments, and open space. Provide a variety of transportation choices, including public transi t, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. Direct development towards existing communities by encouraging infill. Preserve open space, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas to define and connect different neighborhoods and districts. The community will be assessed on the variety of transportation choices available to resi dents, including public transit and pedestrian traffic. This assessment will be completed in terms of Rocinha as an individual community and as an integrated part of the surrounding cit y, and will therefore also include an assessment of its use of infill development. Additionally, the community will be assessed in terms of the preservation of open space, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas that connect different neighborhood s and that are available to residents for recreation, both within the community itself and within the context of Rio de Janeiro. Housing options. Provide a range of housing types, choices, and prices. The community will be assessed on the variation of housing types and price of housing available to residents, both within Rocinha and within the context of Rio de Janeiro.


62 CHAPTER 4 THE SUITABILITY OF ROCINHA This chapter will app ly the methodology described in the Chapter 4 to provide a case study of Rocinha, a favela located in the hills surroundi ng Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. First, the chapter will provide a brief history of fave las and Rocinha specifically, in cluding the communitys place in the political and cultural landscape of Brazil toda y. Next, the development patterns evident in Rocinha are explored within the context of the principles of Smart Urbanism. The next chapter will discuss the implications of these findi ngs and the significance of recognizing the implementation of formal planning principles in informal settlements of the Global South. An Introduction to Brazils Favelas Favelas first appeared in Rio de Janeiro towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, as recently emancipated slaves s pontaneously began constructing shelters and communities on the undesirable hillsides surr ounding the city (Penglase, 2002). Between 1872 and 1890, the population of the city of Rio de Janeir o nearly doubled, as former slaves left the countryside in search of a new start in the city and the Brazilian elite sought new sources of cheap labor (Penglase, 2002). This urban in-migra tion led to a deficit in affordable housing, part of which was alleviated by the formation of the favela. Low-income households, unable to afford formal housing within the city, remedied th e situation by constructing self-built housing on undeveloped land. The land is typically on the undesirable hillsides surrounding the city, affording access to the services and employment opportunities of the c ity, at the risk of developing on land unsuitable for habitation due to a steep incline, potential environmental degradation, and lack of infrastr ucture and utilities. An equally pressing concern about the land is that the squatter residents do not own the property, making tenure precarious due to the constant threat of being removed at the request of the le gal owner. While issues of tenure remain one of


63 the most immediate threats to favela residents, th is topic is not within th e scope of this thesis. Rather than focusing on what favelas lack, such as property titles, this document will focus on what favelas do have. By 1920, an estimated 100,000 people resided in Rios favelas, which had quickly become a feature of the citys urban landscape (Penglas e, 2002). As such, they gained a reputation of being overcrowded and undesirable. Favela residents accounted for 7% of Rio de Janeiros total population by 1950, and one decade later, 147 reco rded favelas had a total population of 335,063 (Freire-Medeiros, 2008). In the 1960s and 70s, wh en Brazils military dictatorship forcibly removed poor residents from the wealthy southern zone (Zona Sul) of the city at the request of their wealthy neighbors, severa l new favelas emerged (Cardoso, 2006). Some former favela residents were relocated to housi ng projects far from their jobs and social networks, at which point many simply moved to other favelas (Penglas e, 2002). Others were relocated to what they were told would be temporary housing, although their families still live there today, nearly 50 years later. Even when the country returned to democracy in the 1980s, the fact that favelas were no longer technically illegal, as they had been under the military dictatorship, increased their prevalence (Cardoso, 2006). This trend continued in the 1990s, as statistics from the 2000 census indicate that the favelas in th e city of Rio de Janeiro grew four times faster than other neighborhoods during the decade of the 90s; whil e the citys overall population increased 6.9%, the number of people living in favelas grew by 23.9% (Penglase, 2002). Much of this growth in favelas can be attributed to the rising cost of transportation a nd decreasing wages over the last fifteen years, forcing lower-income citizens to m ove to more central locations, such as those afforded by favelas. Today, local authorities esti mate that there are approximately 600 favelas in Rio de Janeiro alone, housing about one m illion people (Berg-Schlosser & Kersting, 2003).


64 Historically, the Brazilian government has vacillated between ex tending support to the residents of favelas1 and compulsorily removing favelas. The establishment of the Favela-Bairro program in 1994, however, markedly ended this practice as the municipal government began formally recognizing and upgrading favelas.2 With the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, the program, launched by th e Housing Department of the municipal government of Rio de Janeiro, now exists in over 100 favelas around the city and attempts to integrate the communities into the regular city by providing the infrastructure and services they often lack (Freire-Medeiros, 2008; Conde & Magalhes, 2004). Fave la-Bairro accepts these settlements as a new form of urban morphology that should not be destroyed but rather changed, improved, converted into a modest but livable neighborhood (Conde & Magalhes, 2004, p. 3). Specifically, the approach of Favela-Bairro i nvolves five steps: 1) provide basic urban services, such a lighting, sewers, and phones; 2) put in the necessary equipment, including well designed public areas, schools, s ports arenas, and civic and hea lth centers; 3) build a proper access system by providing well paved roads, buses, and, as needed, overhead cable cars to deal with the rough topography of the sites; 4) begin a gradual effort to improve the housing units 1 The residents of favelas are commonly referred to as favelados But because the term is often considered derogatory, and disliked by residents, this document will refrain from using it. 2 Further solidifying the Brazilian governments commitment to improving the lives of the urban dwellers, the City Statute of 2001 is a landmark document by which Brazil formally and legally granted its citizens a right to the city. The document provides support to all municipalities committed to facing the social and environmental problems that have affected the daily living conditions of the urban popu lation, affirms the central role of local government, and maintains that representative democracy is to be reconciled with a participatory political process. The City Statute has four main dimensions: 1) a conceptual one, providing elements for the interpretation of the constitutional principles of the social function of urban property and of the city; 2) the regulation of new legal, urbanistic and financial instruments for the construction and financing of a different urban order by the municipalities; 3) the indication of processes for the democratic management of c ities; [and] 4) the identification of legal instruments for the comprehensive regularization of informal settlements in private and public urban areas (Fernandes, 2007, p. 212). While the implications of the City Statute for this study are potentially significant, a complete understanding of the document, its creation, and its goals requires a fu ll understanding of the Brazilian political climate that is beyond the scope of this thesis.


65 themselves, by rearranging them, bolstering their st ructures, and providing them with utilities; and 5) encourage the building of a collective identity (Conde & Magalhes, 2004, p. 3). FavelaBairro, then, recognizes the positive attributes and potential of the favelas, and tries to enhance them through the provision of basi c services and utilities. The an alysis included in this document takes a similarly positive approach, examining the attributes of the communities rather than the dire deficiencies. While the existence of the Favela-Bairro program attests to the citys commitment to and enhancement of favelas, this thesiss evaluation of these communities seeks to highlight the qualities associated with Smart Urbanism that further testify to the strengths of these communities. Furthermore, the analysis provides insight on the inherent value and adaptability of these Sm art Urbanist qualities. The following sections will more specifically examine the Rocinha favela, paying particular attention to the design of the commun ities and the prevalence of any Smart Urbanist principles. An exploration of the community in terms of the principles of Smart Urbanism highlights the critical relationship betw een these principles and suitability. An Introduction to Rocinha Occupying more than one half square m ile and with population estimates upward of 150,000 (Ao Social Padre Anchieta, personal communication, February 1, 2006),3 Rocinha is considered the largest informal settlement in S outh America. The occupation of the hillsides of Zona Sul, the wealthy southern zone of Rio de Janeiro and home to the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, began in the early 1940s as a result of the housing expansion occurring in the area 3 Accurate population estimates do not exist, as the only official numbers are considered grossly inaccurate. A 2000 census conducted by IBGE indicated that 56,338 residents live in Rocinha, while the power company has established 27,000 units to which they supply electricity (including illegal hook-ups). Ao Social Padre Anchieta (ASPA), a daycare, education, and community center operating within Rocinha, estimates that there are seven people per unit, which, given the es timates of the power company, accounts for almost 190,000 residents (ASPA, personal communication, February 1, 2006).


66 (Clare, 1999).4 With the worldwide Depression stil l underway, a massive rural to urban migration left destitute migrants with few housing choices other th an favelas. A combination of a real-estate boom in surrounding wealthy neighborhoods, continued rural to urban migration, and the destruction of other favelas contributed to the increased grow th of Rocinha in the 1960s and 1970s. The wealthy neighborhoods surrounding Rocinha continue to guarantee jobs for the largely unskilled labor force, making it an ideal choice for lowincome workers with few housing alternatives. Rocinha is now informally co mprised of seventeen distinct districts.5 Today, while reigning as Latin Americas la rgest slum, Rocinha is far from a typical favela. With so many residents, it is perhaps not surprising that it has become the most urbanized favela in the city, with several paved roads, banks, a post office, and at one point even a McDonalds franchise, earning it the title of F irst World of the Favela s (Ao Social Padre Anchieta, personal communication, February 1, 2006). Recognizing these amenities, the local government officially recognized Rocinha as a legitimate neighborhood on June 18, 1993, a significant step in the authentication of stigmatized favelas. Nonetheless, residents claim that the acknowledgement has had little eff ect on the quality of the commun ity, as the public continues to consider the community a slum (Ao Social Padre Anchieta, personal communication, February 1, 2006), carrying with it a stigma that makes it di fficult for residents to even find employment. As part of $20 billion to be invested by th e government in Rocinha, Oscar Niemeyer, an acclaimed Brazilian architect, is designing an enorm ous arch and pedestrian bridge to provide improved access between Rocinha and a neighbor ing area, while other planned improvements include a sports complex and pool, two nursery schools, a mini-hospital, and 500 new homes for 4 For a map locating Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, see Figure 4-1 5 These districts are Bairro Barcelos, Ru a1, Rua 1, Rua 2, Rua 3, Rua 4, Coc hopa, Ropa Suja, Vile Verde, Macega, 199, Vila Cruzado, Laborioux, Boiadeiro, Dioneia, Cidade Nova, and Valao e Cesario (Ao Social Padre Anchieta, personal communication, February 1, 2006).


67 those displaced during the upcoming regulariz ation (Iconic Brazilian Architect, 2007).6 With these proposed improvements, Rocinha could be eas ily dismissed as an exception to the favelas dotting Rio de Janeiros hillside and accepted as an integrated part of the city. For the purposes of this analysis, however, the informal beginnin gs of Rocinha still qualify it as an informal settlement, developed in an ad hoc manne r to meet the needs of residents. In September of 2006, Rocinha became an official tourist attraction in Ri o de Janeiro, as a law proposed by City Counselor Lilian S and sanctioned by Mayor Csar Maia ambiguously identifies Rocinha as an experience unlike any othe r in Rio that attracts voyeuristic tourists and as a vibrant community that is a welcome addition to the city (Freire-Medeiros, 2008). While tour guides insist that Rocinha has been a sight-seeing attrac tion since the early 1990s, the law justifies the official recognition in the following terms: Versatile, multicolored, with a soul of its ow n. Rocinha is like that () [C]onsidered one of the most urbanized favelas in Rio de Ja neiro, Rocinha has seve ral peculiar points of attractiveness, not to mention the privileged location: green forest, smooth-surfaced hills, the beach and a strong feeling of community. () Someone who knows Rio can attest that Rocinha is a privileged place () In this upbeat, positive atmosphere, Rocinha has scored yet another victory and definitively entered th e Rio de Janeiro touris t circuit, () law no. 4405/06 will increase social integration betw een the city and the community, because it will help dissipate the myth that Rocinha is an exclusively violen t place, and therefore allow bigger investments from the public as we ll as private sectors. (Cmara Municipa do Rio de Janeiro, as cited in Freire-Medeiros, 2008, p. 4) Yet despite these various recognitions and upgrades, Rocinha remains a favela in many ways. Though not within the scope of this documen t to explore the politi cal climate and social stigmas that lead to the formation of favelas and continue to dramatically affect their residents, many of the stereotypes that stigmatized favelas from their beginnings still plague Rocinha, and to ignore them in this thesis would be to provide an incomplete picture of the community. As 6 Regularization, supported by Favela-Bairro, is the pro cess through which favelas are upgraded to city standards through the paving of streets and access to services such as water, sewer, and electricity.


68 popular media attests, favelas are often home to dr ug trafficking, ruled by drug lords, and the site of violence between rival gangs or drug lords and police. While some literature and popular films romanticize these truths, the re ality is that an estimated $500, 000 worth of drugs enter and exit Rocinha every week; the community is historica lly under the control of a criminal faction known as ADA (Amigos dos Amigos)7 (Ao Social Padre Anchieta, personal communication, February 1, 2006), and in a single (though exceptiona lly violent) week in April 2004, at least fifteen people were killed and several more w ounded in Rocinha as gunfire broke out between police and drug lords (Chetwynd, 2004). Despite the presence of some improved infras tructure, tourists, and the most recognizable fast-food chain in the world, Rocinha struggles with issues foreign to formal neighborhoods. Until the recent intervention of the municipal gover nment, residents have been left to their own devices to construct their comm unity to suit their needs as best as possible. While this informality in development is often perceived as a grave problem afflicting favelas, it also makes Rocinha an ideal case study for examining the or ganic adaptation of Smart Urbanist principles and their impacts on the quality of housing and communities. The implementation of these principles reflects their conve nience and suitability not th e influence of popular Western planning movements. The next step of the analysis identifies the prevalence of formal Western policies in Rocinha, focusing on the communitys positive attributes rather than the negative traits that frequently stigmatize it. 7 Control of Rocinha switches betw een ADA, CV (Comando Vermelho) an d TC (Teraceiro Comando), the three main criminal factions in Rio de Janeiro, in violent stru ggles for power. While typically maintaining strict control over street crimes, prohibiting muggings, break-ins, and rape, they are historically involved in drug trafficking, arms smuggling, bank robberies, kidnapping, and murder.


69 Smart Urbanism in Rocinha The term dense is frequently used to describe favelas, alluding to the fact that because squatters do not own the rights to the land on which they build their homes, they do so as compactly as possible. Smart Urbanism advocates density and mixed land uses. To facilitate illustrating the connection between Smart Urbani sm and the design of Rocinha, the community will be discussed in terms of the principles of Smart Urbanism identified in the literature and operationalized in the methodology. Community Collaboration, Sense of Place, and Fair, Predictable Development Decisions In Rocinha, the process of self-help housing construction offe rs perhaps the most profound form of community collaboration and ensures the realization of all three Smart Urbanist principles identified in this element. The commu nity the future residents themselves makes all development decisions as they personally la y the brick of their homes. The collaboration, however, extends only to the residents of th e neighborhood, ignoring the other stakeholders whose participation Smart Urbanism advocates. Wh ile a discussion of the difficulty in assuring the engagement of the entire community requires a full understanding of the political and social climate surrounding favelas in Rio de Janeiro, one can speculate that fuller collaboration would improve the lives and living c onditions of Rocinha residents. Collaboration and cooperation would hopefully dispel the NIMBYist sentiments th at manifest themselves as strong stigmas and prejudices against favela residents. Involvement of future residents from the beginn ing also ensures the crea tion of a strong sense of place among residents. As noted in the law that recognizes Rocinha as an official tourist destination, the community can be characterized by its infectious vibrancy. Despite living in sometimes desperate conditions, without legal access to basic infrastructure residents of Rocinha have made the land to which they arrived wit hout legal right a pulsati ng community. Like most


70 favelas surrounding Rio de Jane iro, Rocinha is recognized fo r its samba school, which has repeatedly turned out champions of the samba, and its pulse on Funk, a sp ecific type of dance music from Rio de Janeiro. These activities cont ribute to the unique culture of the community. This intensity is felt as resident s sit at street cafes to sip caf ezinhos, the Brazilian style coffee or eat feijoada, the Brazilian nationa l dish, wave to neighbors as they zoom by on their scooters, or browse one of the shaded tables where local craf ts, art, and Funk are sold to both tourists and locals. Whether due to uniting over a common st ruggle against prejudice s or camaraderie in knowing they contributed to creating a communit y, interviews with residents suggest that a distinct sense of place exists within the limits of Rocinha. This sense of place, however, does not extend to non-residents, perhaps as a result of their lack of participation in the development process. Community members who were involved in the development process feel a strong sense of belonging, while residents of neighboring co mmunities, who were not consulted during the development, largely view Rocinha as an eyesore and a social ill. Recognizing the inherently different perceptions of Rocinha by residents and outsiders is crucial to assessing the fairness of the developmen t process. The lack of a clear definition of the term fair makes it difficult to assess the fairne ss of the development decisions of Rocinha. Fair to the residents? Fair to the neighboring communities? Fair to the city as a whole? An attempt to define the term forces one to cons ider how fair it is to favela residents that they, approximately 20% of Rios total population (Rocha, 1996, p. 22, as cited in Happe, 2002, p. 27), have been left with no better alternative than constructing a house on land they do not even own. Residents of So Conrado, Gvea, and Barra de Tijuca, the wealthy neighborhoods adjacent to Rocinha, may argue that it is unfair that th e largely poor favela residents li ve so near to their affluent communities, just as NIMBYists in the United States oppose affordable housing projects in their


71 communities. Any analysis of fairness is inherently subjective. Though advocated by Smart Urbanism, a discussion of fairne ss of development decisions requi res an analysis of political, social, and economic factors that are we ll beyond the scope of this thesis. In terms of predictable development, a disc ussion of a favelas adaptation to local topography is perhaps a separate issue entirely. Though the presence of hundreds of thousands of people on hillsides otherwise considered uninhabitable due to their steep slope reflects a feat of construction, landslides do occur in favelas. Thes e disasters suggest that residents ignore soil type and site engineering during the construc tion process (Clare, 1990), indicating that although the communities adapt to the difficult terrain on which they de velop, residents do so at the expense of their safety. While this criticism applies to individual structures, the urban fabric is perfectly adapted to the topography of the steep hillsides, due in la rge part to the fact that the residents constructing the community do not have access to the bulldozer s and dynamite required to change the natural landscape (Salingaros et al., 2006). Indeed, rapid growth of illegal settlements in and around various cities can be vi ewed not as the growth of slums but, in a very real sense, as the development of cities which are more appropriate to the local culture, climate and conditions than the plans produced by the gov ernments of these sa me cities (Hardoy & Satterthwaite, 1989, p. 8, as cited in Berner, 2001, p. 292). Walkability, Mixed Land Uses, and Density Due in large part to Rocinhas locati on on the steep hillside of Dois Irm os8 Mountain, parts of Rocinha are accessible only on foot. The notion of walkab ility, however, as advocated by smart growth, the New Urbanism, and theref ore Smart Urbanism, implies more than the ability to physically walk from one destination to another. Encompassed in this policy is the 8 In English this means Two Brothers.


72 ability to walk between destinations easily, conve niently, and in an enviro nment that is neither hostile to pedestrians nor designe d at an incompatible scale. In formal policy making in the United States, walkability is often ensured by a gridded street system. Most recognizably, Manhattan was developed on a street grid, with avenues running parallel to each other in the North-South direction, intersected by streets running East-West. Suggesting that Rocinha developed a similarly easy to navigate grid system would be misleading, to say the least. Some roads appear to be little more than secret passageways, hardly wide enough for two people to walk through side by side, and defined on either side by the bricks and mortar of a home. But the thre e neighborhood associations operating within the community work to avoid dark, dead-end alleys a nd meandering passages, in an effort to impede the clandestine drug trade and often-associated violence that occur on secluded streets (Williams, 2006). The scale of the community, built by the local residents, remains welcoming to pedestrians even as vertical expansion9 leads to ever increasing building heights, creating an environment that encourages walking. The notion of walkab ility, though, is closely linked to principles of mixed land uses and dense, compact design, both of which Smart Urbanism supports. The distance between the southwest and the northeast corn ers, the furthest points within Rocinha, is only 1.5 miles, though the neighborhood contains se veral local stores, providing shopping for goods such as groceries and clothes, multiple ba nks, and several local eateries, creating an environment conducive to walking amongst various uses. This mixed-use design element, while formally imposed by practitioners in the Global No rth, arose in Rocinha out of necessity, as the 9 As favelas such as Rocinha grow, they are limited by th e steep hillsides on which they developed. Instead of expanding horizontally and consuming more land, they expand vertically, by adding additional stories to existing structures.


73 residents needed ready access to goods and services. The fifty pl us daycare centers in Rocinha also arose out of necessity, in lieu of parent s leaving their children at home unattended while they went to work, which was common practice before the appearance of so many child care facilities (Ao Social Padre Anchieta, person al communication, Februa ry 1, 2006). In Rocinha, the principle of mixed land uses is met both throu gh the diversity of land uses within the favela itself, and through its privileged location in Z ona Sul, which affords it access to the many services of Rio de Janeiro. As recently as 2001, Estacia de Sa University opened a campus in Rocinha, providing university level classes at reduced costs, cont ributing to the mixed land use of the favela, and solidifyi ng its existence as a true neighborhood (Darlington, 2001). Related to walkability and mixed land uses is the concept of density. Though Smart Urbanism is a proponent of density, the term is fr equently used as a criticism against favelas, which are perceived as dense and over-crowd ed. Dense, compact design, however, ensures efficient land consumption, while also contributi ng to a communitys walk ability. In the case of Rocinha and other favelas, while density itself is not objectionable, the li ving conditions that are sometimes associated with such density are (Salingaros et al., 2006). Assuming there are 150,000 residents in Rocinha (an estimate that may be on the low end of actual conditions), in an area covering 0.6 square miles, Rocinha has a population density of 250,000 people per square mile. Compared to Mumbai, India, frequently consid ered the densest city in the world, Rocinhas population density remains high, as Mumbai ha s a population of 97,280 peopl e per square mile (OSullivan, 2009).10 Rio de Janeiro, where Rocinha is locat ed, is also considered one of the densest cities in the world, though with only 25,600 people per square mile (OSullivan, 2009). 10 Like Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai is home to millions of squatters who are not accounte d for in the census. When accounting for these residents, then, th e actual population density of Mumbai may be significantly greater than census statistics indicate.


74 Even Rios density pales in comparison to Rocinhas.11 Because higher-density housing has traditionally been a major source of shelter for low-income households (Downs, 2004, p. 5), it is not surprising that Rocinha is as dense as it is. Transportation Choices, Existing Development, and Open Space When com bined with walkability and mi xed-land uses, the notion of compact neighborhood design represents onl y one component of the larg er picture endorsed by Smart Urbanism, which also encourages development near existing communities and the availability of a variety of transportation choi ces. While public transportation is available within Rocinha itself, as the city bus provides access and an informal taxi system has evolved to take passengers from one side of the favela to the other on the back of a scooter, the community also has access to the transportation network of Rio de Janeiro. Rocinha s privileged location in Zona Sul affords access to the same public transportation enjoye d by the formal residents of the affluent neighborhoods both bus and metro provide easy access to the rest of the city. Use of these transportation services is a function of Rocinhas location adjacent to formal Rio de Janeiro. If Rocinha had developed in the rural hinterlands of the city, where land was cheap and housing policy historically concentrated poor households, access to transit would be limited, if existent at all. By locating on Dois Irmos Mountain, Rocinha residents not only guaranteed themselves access to public transportation, and therefore all the opportunities of the city, but also practiced infill development, an approach the Smart Urbanists promote. By encouraging new development within the existing city, this pr inciple seeks to avoid sprawl, cut down on transportation costs, and, most relevantly, ensure acce ss to the utilities and infrastruc ture that already exists. Though 11 For a graphical representation of the densest cities in the world, see Figure 4-2. If Rocinha were included, its density would be shown as over two times greater than Mumbais.


75 in recent years electric companies have gone in to several favelas to provide lega l access to electricity, residents have historically tapped directly and i llegally into the electrical source, creating a precarious array of wires tangled abov e favela streets. Again, had Rocinha developed in the remote land outside of the city, residents would lack access to vital services. Even while one-third of urban homes in Rio need water, garbage collection, or energy (Oliveira, 2006), nearly 100% of homes developed by the poor ou tside the periphery lack these services. Directing future development towards existi ng development also helps to guarantee the preservation of open space, as Smart Urbanism advocates. Yet due to the compact, precarious conditions in which Rocinha was developed, th e community offers no open space within its limits, and it is even argued that the expans ion of favelas contributes to environmental degradation. The trees that once occupied the landscape prior to development were cut down and largely used as construction ma terials. A major newspaper publis hed and circulated in Rio de Janeiro, O Globo, has run a decades-long campaign against the largely unpopular favelas, calling for their removal from the Marvelous City.12 The original basis of the campaign focused on the perceived nature of favela resi dents as parasitic and infectious whose social ills were having negative effects on the city. The most recent evol ution of the campaign focuses on the favelas as a form of environmental degradation, as the news paper claims that they deprive the hillsides of their beautiful green cover (Compans, 2006).13 Without arguing the extreme environmental position assumed by O Globo the lack of parks and public places within the limits of Rocinha where residents can enjoy the natural landscape a nd children can play is evident. Nonetheless, Rocinhas location on Dois Irmos offers some of the most spectacular and breathtaking views of 12 A popular nickname for Rio de Janeiro. 13 The evolution of the popular argument against favelas from a social standpoint to an environmental one is an interesting and complex issue. The argument no longer re cognizes the many social problems favela residents face, and therefore fails to recognize the human face of the communities the campaign seeks to abolish.


76 Rio de Janeiro and Corcovado. Further, Rocinha is conveniently located near the renowned beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, consider ed among the most luxurious beaches in the world, and granting coveted access for favela residents.14 Much as favelas, including Rocinha, have experienced significant growth, so has the formal city of Rio de Janeiro. As development o ccurs near the coveted locations of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, posh residential and hotel hi gh rises appear closer to Rocinhas limits. Today, expensive hotel and apartment developments exist across the street from the prejudiced and stigmatized informal settlement of Rocinha. The fact that the formal development occurred decades after residents began developing Rocinh a suggests that the attributes of the city outweigh the perceived negative exte rnalities of living so close to a favela. These same attributes attracted Rocinha residents to the city and continue to attract residents today. Housing Options Sim ilarly, Rocinha conforms to Smart Urbanist principles such as providing a range of housing types, choices, and pr ices by providing homes for a diverse population. Due to its beginnings and evolution as an informal squatter settlement, the issue of affordability, advocated by the Smart Urbanist principle supporting a range of housing prices, is not entirely relevant within the community itself, as the self-help development process dramatically minimizes costs. Land in Rocinha, and the structures built on it, ar e not sold through formal market mechanisms that govern home sales in other communities. Squatters take over vacant land, leaving only the cost associated with constructi on. As favelas, including Rocinha, expand, their outward growth is limited by the precarious landscape of Rios stee p hills, necessitating vertical, rather than horizontal, expansion. The result is the addition of multiple stories on top of existing homes. The 14 Like all beaches in Brazil, the famous beache s of Zona Sul are open and free to the public.


77 initial squatter often rents out these additional units, as a form of supplemental income. Even these transactions, however, occu r informally, making it difficult to assess the total value of these rental agreements. When considered within the context of the gr eater city, particularly Zona Sul, Rocinha contributes to the diversity of available housing. One remembers that favelas first emerged, and continue to emerge, as a result of a lack of housing opportunities for the urban poor, suggesting that life in the city was reserved for the affl uent, and therefore indica ting a lack of housing diversity. The city even stopped building low-income hous ing projects as more favelas appeared, viewing favelas as a substitute for government assisted low-income and/or public housing (Compans, 2006). This action suggests that favelas do indeed contribute to the diversity of Rios housing stock. The continued growth of favelas implie s that they still offer the best, if not only option for the urban poor, proving that without favela s, Rio de Janeiro fails to offer the range of housing types, choices, and prices advocated by Smart Urbanism. While the stigma surrounding favelas, includ ing Rocinha, is that they house only the poorest citizens, the community actually supplie s homes for a diverse population. Through the process of self-help housing, residents construct their homes themselves, meeting their needs and expectations whether they are some of the poorest neighborhood residents or among the most affluent. The seventeen distinct districts of Roci nha each have their own unique features, just as different neighborhoods within a single city are noticeably different. At the top of Dois Irmos Mountain, one can find the heavily guarded homes and territory of the dr ug lords who maintain significant political and social control over the community. Meanwhile the poorer favela residents reside in the lower districts of the morro, those closer to the asfalto .15 A range of 15 Meaning hillside, morro is a vernacular reference to the favelas, in contract to asfalto meaning asphalt and a reference to the formal neighborhoods of the city.


78 housing options, then, is offered both within Ro cinha. Further, Rocinha and other communities like it create a greater diversit y of housing choice in Rio overa ll. Thus Rocinha enhances the Smart Urbanist characterist ics of the overall city. Summary of Findings W hile certainly Rocinha is not without its grave problems, the favelas informal development was largely consistent with the pr inciples of Smart Urbanism. Rocinha can be characterized as a dense, walkable comm unity of mixed land uses, developed through community collaboration, and with access to a range of housing types and transportation choices, all of which are characteristic s advocated by smart growth, th e New Urbanism, and therefore Smart Urbanism. The next chapte r discusses the implications of these findings by linking Smart Urbanism to suitable housing and examining the relationship between formal and informal development patterns.


79 Table 4 -1. Smart Urbanism in Rocinha Element Evident in Rocinha Lacking in Rocinha Community collaboration, sense of place, and fair, predictable development decisions. Self help housing; involvement of residents. Sense of place; Samba school, Funk music. Adaptation to topography. No i nvolvement of other stakeholders. Lack of government support combined with extreme poverty, which results in favela development. Lack of enforcement of codes resulting in unsafe living conditions Walkabilty, mixed land uses, and density. Walkable. Mixed land uses, both within Rocinha and i n the context of Rio as a whole; commercial, residential, educational. Dense development. Transportation choices, existing developments, and open space. Informal taxi system within Rocinha. Access to Rios transit. Development towards existing city of Rio. Access to public beaches and open space s in Rio. No open space within Rocinha. Possible environmental degradation. Housing options. Variety of housing options within Rocinha. Increases housing options availab le within Rio.


80 Figure 4-1. Map of Brazil, Rio de Jane iro, and Rocinha. (Lonely Planet. (2009). Map of Brazil Retrieved from aps/south-america/brazil/)


81 Figure 4-2. Population Density in Worl d Cities. (OSullivan, Arthur. (2009). Urban economics (7th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. Figure 7-1, page 165.)


82 CHAPTER 5 THE SUITABILITY OF SMART URBANISM AND INFORMALITY This chapter, an analysis of the findings pres en ted in the previous chapter, explores the implications of recognizing formal Western plan ning principles in an informal settlement in Brazil. Remembering the case study of Rocinha a nd the literature reviewed in Chapter Two, it will further analyze the relationship between Sm art Urbanism and suitable housing, while also investigating the significance of formal planning policies and informal, organic implementation realizing the same outcomes. Informality and Suitability Success in Rocinha is measured in human terms, i.e. the physical and emotional wellbeing of the resident (Salingaros et al., 2006), and this study adopts the same scale to assess the adaptation of Smart Urbanism principles to informal settlements. Residents developed Rocinha out of necessity; their choices con cerning the design of the community reflect convenience and practicality. The first settlers strategically chose land near the city center providing access to employment opportunities, transportation, and g oods and services. Despite political and popular efforts to keep favelas separate from the rest of the city,1 Rocinha exists as a bustling, vibrant neighborhood. It remains a strong community af ter facing over 100 years of prejudice and stigmatization. The suitability of Ro cinha has contributed to its success in spite of its informality. Informality and suitability ar e not necessarily at odds. Yet what specific elements have contributed to Rocinhas success? Sa lingaros et al. (2006) argue that the organic evolu tion and self-organization of favelas afford a number of 1 When the drug war of April 2004 broke out in Rocinha, construction of a wall around the favela was proposed to isolate the problem (Compans, 2006).


83 advantageous and desirable featur es, many of which have been iden tified by this study as Smart Urbanism. Rocinha residents, unaware of smart growth, the New Urbanism, or Smart Urbanism, simply implement these principles because they make a community desirable, not because they are particularly concerned with environmental pr otection or design, as were the founders of these movements. The result of this informal developm ent is a living geometry that is loose, complex, and highly interconnective; without imposed constr aints, human beings will build according to this natural geometry (Alexander, 2005; Salinga ros, 2006, as cited in Salingaros et al., 2006). Unconcerned with formal design virt ues, favela residents seek instead to create a place they can call their own (Salingaros, 2006). Smart Urbanist principles, then, are implemented in Rocinha because they contribute to quality of life within the community. The PPS model provided in Figure 2-2 offers a useful framework for assessing the intangible qualities of Rocinha that contribute to its overall suitability. Rocinha meets the key attribute of Access & Linkages suggested by the PPS model through its location within the existing development of Rio de Janeiro. As suc h, the community has access to the city and is accessible by the city, is conveniently located to provide this access, connected to the existing urban fabric, and in proximity to the serv ices and opportunities of the city, including employment and transportation. Additionally, Rocinha boasts several Uses & Activities associated with a great place and that contribut e to suitability, as measured by locally owned businesses and mixed land use patterns that accommodate an active and diverse community. Although the attributes of Comfo rt & Image and Sociability are considerably more difficult to define, particularly in the context of a favela stigmatized by the formal city, a distinct social network defines Rocinha, as does a keen sense of community involvement and volunteerism, as


84 residents eagerly lend a helping hand to each ot her, as evidenced by the fifty-plus community daycares. This discussion, however, is not to suggest that Rocinha is a great place. As this document has frequently suggested, the living cond itions in Rocinha are largely destitute, and violence and illegal drug tra fficking often overwhelm the community. Yet despite these obstacles, the grassroots development process offers a distinctly suitable living environment, as defined by Smart Urbanism and reinforced through the PPS model. The fluidity and flexibility of self-help housing developm ent grants residents the ability to choose the qualities they desire in their community. In contrast to the self-organization of fave las, the traditional pr oduction of housing is a rigid system: a system of rules, habits, laws, and accepted procedures (Alexander, 1985, p. 26). The principles of Smart Urbanism are inherently a part of the same system as the smart growth and New Urbanist principles fr om which is it derived, a formal method by which to maintain a level of control over development. The self-h elp development process of Rocinha and all informal settlements, however, is an exception to the system. Smart Ur banist principles are prevalent within the community, suggesting that workable, livable communities are possible without the rigid constraints and requirements of the formal development process. Formality and Informality: Do They Necessarily Conflict? Despite the sim ilarities between the princi ples of Smart Urbanism and development patterns in Rocinha, equally significant are the di fferences. Primarily, Smart Urbanism reflects a formal, rigid approach encouraged in cities of the United States and othe r Western nations, while Rocinha represents a distinctly informal, organic approach. Rocinha does not offer the only example of the dichotomy between formality and informality. The HUD administered HOPE VI pr ojects discussed in Chapter Two provide


85 another example. The program outwardly encour ages public participation, promoting a more organic approach that engages citizens in the design and development of their community. Yet, the federal program implemented by local housing agencies takes a formal approach, which assumes that those at the top know the c onditions on the ground (Hill & Hupe, 2002). With HOPE VI, some scholars argue that an inability to adequately consider the needs of the residents (FitzPatrick, 2000) is ultimately resp onsible for the programs failure. In fact, the major criticism of the program concerns this cr itical disconnect between policy formulators and on-the-ground reality. As practiced in the U.S., smart growth and th e New Urbanism are also formal approaches. Developers, local officials, and planners embrace the principles advocated by these movements, then model local regulations accordingly. The regulations govern the future development patterns of an area, effectively determining what can and cannot be built. Although New Urbanists advocate greater flexibility in the de velopment process, argu ing against Euclidean zoning2 codes that strictly govern setback requ irements, lot sizes, and other development practices, the movement remains formal and rigid, w ith little if any of th e organic interaction of residents characteri stic of Rocinha. While there is nothing inhe rently wrong with the formal approach, Pressman and Wildavsky (1984) insist that po licies that look good on paper do not always translate well when implemented, pointing to the vital communication and essential links necessary in effective implementation and suggesting that a number of small deficits comb ine to create a large shortfall when formal policy is ultimately implemented (Hill & Hupe, 2002). The greater the number of 2 As defined by the 1927 U.S. Supreme Court case Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty, Co. Euclidian zoning separates land uses by geographic districts based on activity. Typical types of land use designations include singlefamily residential, multi-family residential, commercial, and industrial.


86 links, the greater the difficulty in achieving wh at Van Meter and Von Horn (1975) refer to as goal consensus (Hill & Hupe, 2002), and the grea ter difficulty in successfully implementing policy. This type of formal approach towards po licy implementation initially failed Rocinha residents, as government policies failed to prov ide suitable housing for low-income residents. While a lack of government programs to suppor t housing opportunities for the poorest residents led to the formation of favelas, later programs th at attempted to provide housing failed to address residents needs, reflecting a formal approach in which the government authority had little comprehension of the real issues to be addressed. If we ask ourselves why the modern housing [such as that provided by the Brazilian government to the urban poor] is so often j ust wrong, instead of just right, we shall quickly see that the failures of adaptation are caused, most often, by the fact that the decisions which control the form of houses are almost all made at a level too remote from the immediate people and sites, to allow r easonable and careful adaptation to specific details of everyday life. Most of the proce sses which govern the shape of the houses and their parts are controlled at le vels of government, or levels of industry, or levels of business, who are remote from the minute par ticulars of the house and family itself so that, inevitably, they create alien and abstract forms, bearing only the most general relationship to the real needs, real demands, real daily minut e-to-minute details which the members of the household experi ence. (Alexander, 1985, p. 36) Here, Alexander speaks specifically of the failures and inadequacies of formal approaches to the provision of housing that are insensitive to the lives of potential residents. Urban place making, then, relies on urban form as much as it relies on the social process of development (Salingaros et al., 2006). As a result of housing programs relocating poor urban house holds outside of Rio without access to the services a nd opportunities they required, favelas increased in number and expanded as the urban poor grew increasingly un satisfied with the housing provided to them by the government. Given Salingaros et al.s (2006) claim that a rigi d, formal approach simplifies the planning process, making it im possible to design and build a co mplex urban fabric (p. 7), not surprisingly these attempts at government housing failed.


87 The failure of rigid implementation resulted in residents taking matters into their own hands, assuming a grassroots approach by whic h they formulated and implemented policy themselves in the form of favelas. By inva ding land not owned by them and constructing their own homes, favela residents implemented what is perhaps the most extreme opposite of the formal approach, inherently including an orga nic, self-healing mechan ism absent from most formal housing schemes (Salingaros et al., 2006). Yet not until Lipskys (1980) influentia l book was implementation examined from anything other than a rigidly formal perspe ctive (Williamson, 2007). He introduced the term street-level bureaucrat to desc ribe the public agency employe e who actually performs the actions necessary to implement laws (Hill & Hupe, 2002). Because no laws dictate the formation of favelas, referring to favela residents as street level bureau crats would be misleading. While writing about the production of housing, the language used by Christopher Alexander (1985) also characterizes this tens ion between formal and informal methods: In short, the production systems which we have at present define a pattern of control which makes it almost impossible for things to be done carefully or appropriately, because, almost without exception decisions are in the wrong hands decisions are being made at levels far removed from the immediate conc rete places where they have impact and, all in all, there is a colossal mismatch between the organization of the decision and control, and the needs for appropriaten ess and good adaptation which th e biological reality of the housing system actually requires. (p. 40) Yet the grassroots solutions devi sed by the impoverished Cariocas3 and the formal planning principles advocated by smart growth and the New Urbanism movements ultimately realize similar characteristics through opposite c ourses of implementation, as indicated by the Rocinha case study (see Table 4-1) Generally speaking, the proce ss of development for formal 3 A Portuguese adjective used to describe residents of Rio de Janeiro.


88 and informal settlements also assume opposite cour ses but work towards a similar goal: suitable housing. Figure 2-4 highlights the diverg ing patterns of these approaches. While the informal and formal methods to land development highlight the potential inadequacies of the formal land development process, the differing approaches of Smart Urbanists and favela residents emphasize the validity of either process. Smart growth and the New Urbanism are widely accepted movements in the United States, though some criticisms do surround the actual communities developed under their principles.4 The acceptance of the theories behind the movement but the criticis ms about the outcomes suggests a significant disconnect between policy formation and implem entation a typical issue associated with formal, rigid approaches (Hill & Hupe, 2002; Pressman & Wildavsky, 1984). Yet questions surrounding the validity of Smart Urbanist prin ciples are addressed by the Rocinha case study, which illustrates the practicalit y and convenience of these princi ples. Here residents choose to implement them because they contribute to quality of life in their community. Similarly, though perhaps more controversia lly, the prevalence of Smart Urbanist principles in Rocinha legitimizes the existence of favelas, by suggesting that they are valuable communities worthy of recognition. As Salingaros et al. (2006) remind us, favelas built out of sticks and cardboard are unacceptable models to fo llow. Nevertheless, we wish to preserve as much as possible the DESIGN FREEDOM inherent in the development of these communities (p. 26), alluding to the desirabl e features of favelas that mi mic, though unintentionally, the formal principles of Smart Urbanism. In recognizing these Smart Urbanist principles in Rocinha, the perception of the community consisting of a chaotic living arrangement haphazardly 4 Criticisms of New Urbanist projects, for example, qu estion the location of many of these developments on greenfield sites and the movements commitment to integrating housing for the lowest income residents into their developments.


89 established by residents, becomes one of a viable community comprised of several complex elements consciously assembled in a desirable fashion. Perhaps more im portantly, the self-help approach empowers the citizens as their own agen t, giving them the ability to shape their own destiny (Sen, 1999). The challenge, then, is to strike a balance between the formal process of development and the informal, organic process of community build ing. The formal approach typically minimizes the role of the residents, while the organic ap proach, due to its natu re, tends to privilege participation. A more appropriate middle gr ound, however, would enable livable, suitable communities to be built using both the expertise of developers and local officials and the keen understanding of residents needs as advocated by the residents themselves. Favela-Bairro is an attempt to reconcile th e informal and the formal processes. The reactionary nature of the program in its attempt to respond to the inadequacies of informal development with formal development practices, highlights the need for a proactive approach to community building that incorporates both processes. Ideally, the planner acts to reconcile the rigid and the organic, working with residents to better understa nd their needs and providing the guidelines for developers to meet these needs and provide a suitable community. The dichotomy between the formal and the informal, the rigid an d the organic, needs to be settled to provide suitable communities for households of all means and income levels. Beyond Rocinha: Suitability in Formal Developments The analysis of Smart Urbanist principl es in Rocinha accommodated reflection on the implicit qualities of suitability inherent in these principles. Attempts to bridge the New Urbanism and affordable housing in the U.S. have occu rred, most notably through the HOPE VI program. But the generally perceived failure of HOPE VI a nd the proven high-costs associated with formal New Urbanist developments in the United Stat es suggest a failure in actual implementation,


90 despite the noblest intentions (Talen, 2008) This study, however, indicates that housing affordability, suitability, and Smart Urbanism are not mutually exclusive. It therefore challenges the CNU to produce housing that is both suitable and affordable. Although this thesis linked smart growth a nd New Urbanist policie s to suitability of housing and community, useful further research should attempt to quantify the relationship to determine the degree to which housing costs fluc tuate with suitability. Much as the Location Efficient Mortgage accomplishes this link be tween transportation and housing, similarly measurable tools should be developed for the re maining policies advocated by smart growth and the New Urbanism. Providing quantitative measures of otherwise qualitative features creates a tangible link between suitability and affordability suggesting fiscal incentives that could be integrated into the formal development process to create suitable communities. In the case of Rocinha, the discussion of mortga ges, as it relates to the LEM, is irrelevant, as residents squat on land they do not own. What is both relevant and familiar, though, is the innovation behind the LEM, which emerged as an innovative approach to link housing and transportation costs as they are reflected in the U.S. housing mark et in the drive until you quality phenomenon. Rocinha emerged as an innovate soluti on to the lack of housing options in Rio de Janeiro. By building in Zona Sul, residents of Rocinha have d ecreased transportation costs and housing costs. By quantifying the relationship between housing affordability and housing suitability, the trade-off becomes increasingly tangible and provides additional incentives for developers to incorporate appropriate principles into their community plans, thereby improving the quality of housing available to low-income households. Beyond Rocinha: Opportunities for Further Research The results of this study indicate that smart growth and New Urbanist principles contribute to a livable, suitabl e community, and that the formal and informal development


91 processes can realize similar desi rable features. What the study al so indicates, however, is the legitimacy of favelas, serving as a potential spri ngboard for a renewed argument for their formal recognition and improvement. The analysis of Ro cinha suggests that it is a Smart Urbanist community, and therefore a community of value by standards of scholars a nd practitioners in the United States. Certain elements of the analysis ne cessitated examining Rocinha not as an isolated community, but as a part of Rio de Janeiro. Reco gnizing that Rochinas Sm art Urbanist features features that are appreciated and advocated in the Global North are enhanced when considered an integrated part of the city suggest s that the formal integration of Rocinha into Rio de Janeiro is indeed appropriate. More significa ntly, though, the analysis indicates that the Smart Urbanism of Rio de Janeiro is similarly enhanced when Rocinha is considered an integrated neighborhood of the city. The variety of housing op tions, the distinct sens e of place, and the citys density are each significantly improved when Rocinha is considered part of the city. The city of Rio de Janeiro, then, and its formal resi dents, benefit from the presence of Rocinha, which contributes to the suitability of their community. While Rocinha, as somewhat of an anomaly among fevalas, has already received formal recognition from the city, the purpose of this study is not to argue for its integration into Rio de Janeiro. But in recognizing a nd arguing the value of self-help developments and informal settlements, this study does suggest that other informal settlements should be evaluated using the same concepts of Smart Urbanism outlined in Table 3-1, providing further evidence of the suitability of these communities based on Smart Urbanist principles. This would require an examination of both additional favelas in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil and othe r squatter settlements around the world.


92 In addition to using the construct of Table 3-1 to analyze the prevalence of informally implemented Smart Urbanist principles, the exam ination of these informal settlements would benefit from using a more systematic approach to interviewing and conve rsing with residents. Much as the informal, self-help method itself meaningfully engages ci tizens, so, too, should future studies examine the intersection of formal and informal development processes. Engaging more significantly with community residents also offers the unique perspective of one who lives in the informal settlement, providing insight into their values and needs. This study, for instance, uses the values of middle class Americans to de fine Smart Urbanism and suitability, while the residents of informal settlements may have a different value system, and therefore define suitability in different terms. The only way to fully grasp these differences, however, is through discussions with community residents, which th is author recommends for future studies. Remembering that favelas have different development patterns some emerging from temporary government housing for the urban poor and some informally developing on vacant hillsides potential future research would invol ve comparative case studies of these different favelas in an effort to determine whether t hose initially developed by the government or informally developed by squatters have more desirable Smart Urbanist features. The Cidade de Deus favela, for example, is one such favela that began as temporary housing for poor residents forcibly removed from Zona Sul over forty years ago. A superficial examination of the community, from a visit to the s ite in 2006, suggests that it incor porates far fewer Smart Urbanist features than Rocinha. Cidade de Deus exists at quite a dist ance from downtown Rio, meaning that its residents have only lim ited access to the opportunities in the city. Perhaps as a result of the abundance of available land, Cidade de Deus is also far less dense than Rocinha, consisting of primarily one-story buildings in a sprawling community. The findings of a formal comparison


93 might reinforce the notion that grassroots efforts create more suitable communities than formal policies designed by officials otherwise unconnected to the community for which they plan. Additional case study research of both international and dom estic informal settlements provides an opportunity to reexam ine and reinforce the intersec tion of formal and informal development principles, though the circumstan ces surrounding any given community will of course be drastically different. In the United States, for example, the recent financial and mortgage crisis has resulted in numerous forecl osures, leaving many families without a home. In response, tent cities have begun to appear in major metropolises across the country informal communities of tents housing people until they ca n find a more permanent solution. Yet while a lack of access to an abundance of suitable housing recently led to the formation of informal settlements in the U.S., this phenomenon is signif icantly different than th e lack of housing stock that historically led to the formation of favela s. Nonetheless, an intriguing comparison could be made, as the formal and informal dichotomy rema ins prevalent. Still, the colonias informal settlements along the border with Mexico certainly offer an opportunity to study this phenomenon in the United States. There is room to take the current study into a new dir ection, by focusing on the formal planning policies of Brazilian municipalities. Th e political and social history of favelas is a complex one that this thesis does not claim to represent in its entirety, though a more thorough understanding of it would elucidat e the reasoning behind the evolut ion of favelas as they exist today. Although Brazilian planni ng regulations do not currentl y apply to favelas, another pertinent analysis could examine the ways in wh ich these regulations do or do not encompass the policies of smart growth and the New Urbanism advocated in the United States and organically present Rocinha. Assuming that Smart Urbanism gui des the way to the best kind of development,


94 are the development patterns of favelas act ually more environmentally, socially, and economically responsible than the patterns promoted by the formal policies of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil as a whole? Further research into formal planning policies in Brazil can help answer this question. Future studies can ex tensively explore the Favela-B airro program and the Cities Statute, seeking to understand the ways in whic h these regularization po licies adhere to the principles of Smart Urbanism and uncovering how, if at all, informal settlements have influenced formal planning processes. Domestically, the self-help housing program ma y provide empirical evidence of the ways in which the integration of formal and informal practices is already underway. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Sect ion 502 Mutual Self-Help Housing Loan Program makes loans available for the construction of homes for very low and low-income households who are unable to afford suitable housing through conventional market methods (Rural Housing Program, 2003). A comparative case study of one of these communities with an informal squatter settlement could potentially shed light on the abi lity of formal and informal processes to work together to create suitable living environments for the poor. Although the issue of how a favela like Rocinha can be formally integrated into the urban fabric of the city, to the betterm ent of Rocinha residents and resi dents of Rio de Janeiro overall, is not explicitly addressed in this thesis, this question certainly deserves to be asked. Having established the physical and developmental validity of Rocinha, what is the next step in formally recognizing informal settlements as a cohesive part of the greater c ity? While this thesis emphasizes the physical planning of Rocinha, the social implications and issues of informal communities must be addressed, understood, and resolved before integration can successfully occur and informal and formal practices can be reconciled.


95 APPENDIX PRINCIPLES OF THE NEW URBANISM The region: Metropolis city, and town 1. Metropolitan regions are finite places with geographic boundaries derived from topography, watersheds, coastlines, farmlands, regional parks, and rivers basis. The metropolis is made of multiples centers that ar e cities, towns, and villages, each with its own identifiable cen ter and edges. 2. The metropolitan region is a fundamental economic unit of the contemporary world. Governmental cooperation, public policy, phys ical planning, and economic strategies mush reflect this new reality. 3. The metropolis has a necessary and fragile re lationship to its agrarian hinterland and natural landscapes. The relati onship is environmental, econo mic, and cultural. Farmland and nature are as important to the metr opolis as the garden is to the house. 4. Development patterns should not blur or eradicate the e dges of the metropolis. Infill development within existing urban areas c onserves environmental resources, economic investment, and social fabric, while reclaiming marginal and abandoned areas. Metropolitan regions should deve lop strategies to encourage such infill development over peripheral expansion. 5. Where appropriate, new development cont iguous to urban boundaries should be organized as neighborhoods and districts, and be integrat ed with the existing urban pattern. Noncontiguous development should be or ganized as towns and villages with their own urban edges, and planned for a jobs/ housing balance, not as bedroom suburbs. 6. The development and redevelopment of town s and cities should respect historical patterns, precedents, and boundaries. 7. Cities and towns should bring into proximity a broad spectrum of public and private uses to support a regional economy th at benefits people of all incomes. Affordable housing should be distributed throughout the region to match job opportunities and to avoid concentration of poverty. 8. The physical organization of the region should be supported by a framework of transportation alternatives. Transit, pede strian, and bicycle systems should maximize access and mobility throughout the region while reducing dependence upon the automobile. 9. Revenues and resources can be shared more cooperatively among th e municipalities and centers within regions to avoid destructiv e competition for tax base and to promote rational coordination of transportation, recreation, public services, housing, and community institutions. The neighborhoods, the district, and the corridor 10. The neighborhood, the district, a nd the corridor are the essen tial elements of development and redevelopment in the metropolis. They form identifiable areas that encourage citizens to take responsibility for th eir maintenance and evolution. 11. Neighborhoods should be compact, pedestri an-friendly, and m ixed-use. Districts generally emphasize a special single use, and should follow the principles of


96 neighborhood design when possible. Corridors are regional connectors of neighborhoods and districts; they range fr om boulevards and rail lines to rivers and parkways. 12. Many activities of daily life should o ccur within walking distance, allowing independence to those who do not drive, especially the elderly and the young. Interconnected networks of st reets should be designed to encourage walking, reduce the number and length of automobile trips, and conserve energy. 13. Within neighborhoods, a broad range of housing types and price levels can bring people of diverse ages, races, and incomes into da ily interactions, strengt hening the personal and civic bonds essential to an authentic community. 14. Transit corridors, when properly planned and coordinated, can help organize metropolitan structure and revitalize urban centers. In contrast, highway corridors should not displace investment from existing structures. 15. Appropriate building densities and land uses s hould be within walki ng distance of transit stops, permitting public transit to become a viable alternative to the automobile. 16. Concentration of civic, institutional, and commercial activity should be embedded in neighborhoods and districts, not isolated in remote, singleuse complexes. Schools should be sized and located to enable children to walk or bicycle to them. 17. The economic health and harmonious evolution of neighborhoods, districts, and corridors can be improved through graphic urban design codes that serve as predictable guides for change. 18. A range of parks, from tot-lots and village greens to ballfields and community gardens, should be distributed within neighborhoods. Conservation areas and open lands should be used to define and connect differe nt neighborhoods and districts. The block, the street, and the building 19. A primary task of all urban architecture and landscape design is the physical definition of streets and public spaces as places of shared use. 20. Individual architectural projects should be seamlessly linked to their surroundings. This issue transcends style. 21. The revitalization of urban places depends on safety and security. The design of streets and buildings should reinforce safe environments, but not at the expense of accessibility and openness. 22. In the contemporary metropolis, devel opment must adequately accommodate automobiles. It should do so in ways that respect the pedestrian and the form of public space. 23. Streets and squares should be safe, comfor table, and interesting to the pedestrian. Properly configured, they encourage walki ng and enable neighbors to know each other and protect their communities. 24. Architecture and landscape design should growth from local climate, topography, history, and building practice. 25. Civic buildings and public gath ering places require important sites to reinforce community identity and the culture of democr acy. They deserve distinctive form, because their role is different form that of other build ings and places that constitute the fabric of the city.


97 26. All buildings should provide their inhabitants with a clear sense of location weather and time. Natural methods of heating and coo ling can be more resource-efficient than mechanical systems. 27. Preservation and renewal of historic buildi ngs, districts, and landscapes affirm the continuity and evolution or urban society.


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99 Compans, R. (2006, February 3). Cidade contra favela. Classroom lect ure to International Honors Program, Cities in the 21st Century, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Conde, L. P., & Magalh es, S. (2004). Favela-Bairro: Rewriting the history of Rio. (Elisabete Hart, Trans.). Rio de Janeiro: ViverCidades. Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) & U.S. De partment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (2000) Principles for Inner City Neighb orhood Design: Hope VI and the NU. Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). (2001). Charter of the New Urbanism. Accessed December 2008, from Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). (2007). CNU history Retrieved January 21, 2009, from Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). (2008). Video perspective: Emily Talen on affordability. Retrieved from Cox, W (2002). Smart growth and housing affordability A report prepared for the Millennial Housing Commission. Danielsen, K. A., Lang, R. E., & Fulton, W. (1999). Retracting suburbia: Smart growth and the future of housing. Housing Policy Debate 10 (3), 513 540. Darlington, S. (2001, March 4). University moves into Latin Americas Biggest Slum. The Washington Post pp. A24. Downs, A. (2004). Introduc tion. In Anthony Downs (Ed,), Growth management and affordable housing: Do they conflict? (pp. 1 19). Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution. Felce, D & Perry, J. (1995). Quality of life: Its definition and measurement. Research in Development Disabilities 16 (1), 51 74. Fernandes, E. (2007). Constructing th e Right To the City in Brazil. Social Legal Studies 16 (2), pp. 201 219. FitzPatrick, M. S. (2000). A disaster in ever y generation: An analysis of HOPE VI: HUDs newest big budget development plan. Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy 7 (2), pp. 421 448. Florida Department of Community Affairs. (2005). Concurrency Retrieved December 4, 2008, from pplanning/index.cfm Florida Department of Community Affairs. (no date). Growth management and comprehensive planning Division of community planni ng. Retrieved December 4, 2008, from pplanning/index.cfm

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100 Florida Legislature. (2008.) Florida Statutes, Chapter 163 : Concurrency. Retrieved February 21, 2008, from http://www.leg.state Freire-Medeiros, B. (2008). The favela and its touristic tourists. Geoforum, (article in press) doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2008.10.007. Happe, B. (2002). National contexts: Brazil. In Berk-Schlosser, Dirk, and Kersting, Norbert (Eds.), Poverty and Democracy: Self-help and political participation in third world cities. (17 28). New York: Palgrave. Harmon, T. (2004). Integrating social equity and sm art growth: an overview of tools Institute for Community Economics. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from Hartm an, C. (1998). The case for a right to housing. Housing Policy Debate 9 (2), 223 246. Hill, M., & Hupe, P. (2002). Implementing public policy London: Sage. Iconic Brazilian architect designs project for Rio slum. (2007, September 5). EFE World New Service. Institute for Studies on Labor and Society (Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade, IETS). Retrieved February 8, 2009, from Johnson, J. S., & Talen, E. (2008). Affordable housi ng in new urbanist communities: A survey of developers. Housing Policy Debate 19 (4), pp. 583 613. Lipman, B. J. (2006) A heavy load: The combined hous ing and transportation burdens of working families Washington, D.C.: Center for Housing Policy. Lonely Planet.(2009). Map of Brazil Retrieved from erica/brazil/ Macedo, J. (2008). Urban land policy and new land te nure paradigms: Legitimacy vs. legality in Brazilian cities. Land Use Policy 25 pp. 259 270. McIlwain, J. K. (2008). Commen t on Jennifer Steffel Johnson and Emily Talens Affordable housing in new urbanist communitie s: A survey of developers. Housing Policy Debate 19 (4), pp. 615 619. Millennial Housing Commission. (2002). Meeting Our Nation's Housing Challenges. Report of the Bipartisan Millennial Housing Commissi on Appointed by the Congr ess of the United States, Washington. Nothstine, A. (2008). Private developers and affordable housing. Congress for New Urbanism XVI April 5, 2008. Podcast and slides (PDF) retrieved from OSullivan, A. (2009). Urban economics (7th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

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101 Oliveira, F. (2006, January 24.) Urban planni ng and social movements in the Brazilian democratic process. Classroom lecture to International Honors Pr ogram, Cities in the 21st Century, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Penglase, R. B. (2002). To live here you have to know how to live: Violence and everyday life in a Brazilian favela. (Doctoral dissertation, Ha rvard University, 2002). Perlman, J. E. (1976). The myth of marginality: Urban poverty and politics in Rio de Janeiro. Berkeley: University of California Press. Popkin, S. J., Katz, B., Cunningham, M. K., Brown, K., Gustafson, J., & Turner, M. A. (2004). A decade of HOPE VI: Research findings and policy challenges. The Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Porter, D. R. (2002). Making smart growth work Washington, D.C.: The Urban Land Institute. Porter, D. R. (2004). The promise and practice of inclusionary zoning. In Anthony Downs (Ed.), Growth management and affordable housing: Do they conflict? (pp. 212 263). Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution. Pressman, J. L. & Wildavsky, A. (1984). Implementation: How great expectations in Washington are dashed in Oakland; Or, why it s amazing that federal programs work at all, this being a saga of the economic development administrat ion as told by two sympathetic observers who seek to build morals on a foundation of ruined hopes (3rd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. Project for Public Spaces. (2003). What makes a great place? Retrieved November 28, 2008, from s Rural Housing Program. (2003). Self-help housin g (Section 502). Retrieved January 30, 2009, from opm ent/programs/rhed/gateway/pdf/502_S elfHelp.pdf Salingaros, N. A., Brain, D., Duany, A. M., Mehaffy, M. W. & Philibert-Petit, E. (2006). Favelas and social housing: The urbanism of self-organization Presented at the Brazilian and Ibero-American Congress on Social Hous ing, 2006. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://zeta.math.utsa.e du/~yxk833/socialhousing.pdf Schwartz, A. F. (2006). Housing policy in the U nited States: An introduction New York: Routledge. Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom New York: Anchor Books. Smart Growth America. (No date.) Retrieved January 31, 2009, from

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102 Smart Growth Network. (2008). Smart growth online Retrieved November 11, 2008, from Sm ith, A. (2002). Mixed-income housing developments: Promise and reality. Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University a nd Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. Smith, M., & Steiner, R. L. (2002). Affordable housing as an adequa te public facility. Valparaiso University Law Review 36 (2), pp. 443 459. Soloman, A. P. (1976). The effect of land use and environmental controls on housing; A review Prepared for the First Annual Conference, Fe deral Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Resources for Housing. The Joint Center for Urban Studies of MIT and Harvard University. Song, Y., & Knapp, G. (2003). New urbanism and housing values: A disaggregate assessment. Journal of Urban Economics 5 (2), pp. 218 238. Talen, E. (2008). Affordable housing in new urbanism. Congress for New Urbanism XVI April 5, 2008. Podcast retrieved from U.S. Departm ent of Housing and Urban Development. (2005). Why not in our community? Removing barriers to affordable housing Retrieved November 2, 2008, from ations/pdf/wnioc.pdf U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2008.) About smart growth Retrieved November 11, 2008, from U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). (2003). Public housing: HOPE VI resident issues and changes in neighborhoods su rrounding gran t sites. Report to the ranking minority member, subcommittee on housing and transportation, committee on banking, housing, and urban affairs, U.S. Senate. UNFPA. (2007). State of world population 2007: Unleashing the pot ential of urban growth. Retrieved February 4, 2009, from van Vilet, W. (1997). Preface. In W illem van Vilet (Ed.), Affordable housing and urban redevelopment in the United States (xiii xiv). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Voith, R. P., & Crawford, D. L. (2004). Smart growth and affordable housing. In Anthony Downs (Ed.), Growth management and affordab le housing: Do they conflict? (pp. 82 116). Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution. White, S. M. (1992). Regulatory refo rm and housing affordability. In Affordable housing: Proactive and reacti ve planning strategies (pp. 1 16). Chicago, IL: Planning Advisory Service. Williams, T. (2006, January 31). Empoweri ng communities through technology. Classroom lecture to International Honors Program, Cities in the 21st Century, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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104 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Laura Abernathy was born in So Paulo, Brazil in 1984. She spent the next eighteen years moving between South Am erica, Europe, and the Un ited States with her two sisters and parents, before attending Franklin & Mars hall College in Lancaster, PA, where she earned her bachelors degree in economics and English Literature. Li ving and traveling around the world offered Laura the opportunity to see first-hand the many diff erent forms cities take and the tremendous inequalities that accompany them. It was not until a study abroad experience in her junior year of college that she began to recognize urban plan ning and community development as means by which to strengthen cities and create more livable environments for all residents. In 2007 she enrolled in the University of Fl orida and moved to Gainesville to begin her formal education in planning. She hopes to continue to explore the factors that contribute to a livable city, enhancing the lives of marginalized residents and creating more livable communities around the world.