The Reproduction of Segregation Patterns in Salvador's Railway Suburbs Via Public Slum Upgrade Programs: The Case of Novos Alagados (Brazil)

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Marietta Blau Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Stephan TREUKE, Universidade Federal Da Bahia, Brazil, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil
The paper analyzes mechanisms of residential segregation in the spatial structure of Brazil’s third largest city, Salvador. Segregation and social inequalities remain a prevalent problem in Brazil’s metropolis, accounting for negative impacts in a field of different social and economic outcomes (access to the labour market and education, delinquency, violence, institutional disadvantages) which affect an increasing number of favelas inhabitants. Abording the case of Novos Alagados (Subúrbio Ferroviário), it focusses on the responsability of public housing initiatives in consolidating a pattern of spatial confinement of the lower income classes in socially homogeneous, peripheral areas. The slum emerged in the 1970’s when industrial takeoff accelerated the city’s demographic growth, attracting large contingents of predominantly poor and non-qualified immigrants of Bahia’s hinterland. The proximity to the industrial complex Centro Industrial de Aratu induced the rapid land invasion in the form of palafitas (dwellings raised in flooded areas) and semi-consolidated dwellings. Urban interventions to eradicate poverty initiated in the 1990’s, relocating the palafita’s inhabitants in functional housing units situated in the same area. Instead of promoting local development via investments in social infrastructure and employment creation, slum upgrading programs priorized technocratic housing solutions, failing to provide the residents’ socio-economic integration. According to recent statistics and ethnographic surveys, endemic poverty structures prevail in Novos Alagados with more than 60% of the relocatees living below the poverty line. The impact of concentration effects (Briggs, 2005), resulting from the inhabitants’ embeddedness in a homogeneously poor environment suffering from urban disinvestment, risk to turn them socially invisible thus being isolated from vital resources of (social) support. The study contributes to the understanding of Brazilian’s unequal urbanization process, emphasizing the ambiguity of State politics between tolerating land invasions by poor populations in peripheral regions while denying the Right to the City (Lefebvre, 1968) in terms of socio-economic inclusion.