326.6 Aspects of inequality in Brazil: Cases of socioenvironmental injustice in Fortaleza – Ceará

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 1:25 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
In societies under the capitalist system, the access to goods and services differs according to social strata, mainly in Latin American countries. Such inequality becomes apparent when the focus lies on the situation of housing. Studies about the growth of Brazilian cities indicate that the housing areas addressed to high-middle class and to lower class are not equally spread, especially in areas of great real estate appreciation. In Brazil, urban problems are an expression of environmental injustice, since they are produced within a setting of power relations and struggle, which favors social inequalities. Under the perspective of social theory and the symbolic comprehension of space in socio-environmental conflicts taking place in the city of Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil, this research aims at analyzing how socio-spatial inequalities play out in low-income and high-middle class housing in areas of environmental vulnerability. The analysis is based in a comparative study of two cases located in the Papicu neighborhood: the favela Pau Fininho and the gated community Village San Carlo, which were built in the 1980s and are both deemed irregular in socio-environmental aspects. Considering the local history of urbanization, we will shed light on social and environmental contrasts as features of a reproduction of inequality. This study demonstrates the existence of long-lasting urban problems which, related to social and political limitations, add up to the situation of socio-environmental injustice and socio-spatial inequality in this Brazilian city. The right to the city and to environment as well as the improvement of urban replanning remain the greatest challenges for reaching a sustainable and equal society.