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Los Banterville
Rocinha is located in Rio de Janeiro
Location in Rio de Janeiro
Coordinates: 22°59′19″S 43°14′54″W / 22.98861°S 43.24833°W / -22.98861; -43.24833Coordinates: 22°59′19″S 43°14′54″W / 22.98861°S 43.24833°W / -22.98861; -43.24833
Country  Brazil
State Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
Municipality/City Rio de Janeiro
Zone South Zone
Administrative Region Rocinha
 • Total 143.72 ha (355.14 acres)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 69,356
 • Density 48,000/km2 (120,000/sq mi)
Rocinha as viewed from within Rocinha
A hilly road in Rocinha
Aerial view of Rocinha
Top-down view of the main road winding through Rocinha

Rocinha (little farm) is the largest favela in Brazil, and is located in Rio de Janeiro's South Zone between the districts of São Conrado and Gávea. Rocinha is built on a steep hillside overlooking Rio de Janeiro, and is located about one kilometre from a nearby beach. Most of the favela is on a very steep hill, with many trees surrounding it. 69,161 (census 2010)[2] people live in Rocinha, making it the most populous favela in Brazil.[3]

Although Rocinha is officially classified as a neighbourhood, many still refer to it as a favela. It developed from a shanty town into an urbanized slum. Today, almost all the houses in Rocinha are made from concrete and brick. Some buildings are three and four stories tall and almost all houses have basic sanitation, plumbing, and electricity. Compared to simple shanty towns or slums, Rocinha has a better developed infrastructure and hundreds of businesses such as banks, medicine stores, bus lines, cable television, including locally based channel TV ROC (TV Rocinha), and, at one time, a McDonalds franchise.[4] These factors help classify Rocinha as a favela bairro, or favela neighborhood.


There are a number of community organizations at work in Rocinha, including three neighbourhood associations and numerous NGOs and non-profit educational institutions.

Rocinha is home to most of the service workers in Zona Sul (the South Zone of Rio). Within Rocinha there are numerous NGO's staffed by both Brazilian and foreign teachers, volunteers and workers.

2011 police and military operation[edit]

In November 2011, a security operation was undertaken where hundreds of police and military patrolled the streets of Rocinha to crackdown on rampant drug dealers and bring government control to the neighbourhood.[5]


Rocinha at night

Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil and one of the most developed.[6] Rocinha's population was estimated at between 150,000 and 300,000 inhabitants during the 2000s;[7] but the IBGE Census of 2010 counted only 69,161 people.[2]

In literature and film[edit]

Robert Neuwirth discusses Rocinha in his book entitled Shadow Cities.[8] Rio de Janeiro was recently made the setting for an animation film, Rio, where many scenes take place in Rocinha.

In mass media and popular culture[edit]

Many celebrities have visited Rocinha, including Mikhail Gorbachev (during the Earth Summit of 1992) and actor Christopher Lambert. Contrary to popular belief Michael Jackson did not shoot the first version of the music video for his single "They Don't Care About Us" there. This video was instead shot in the favela of Dona Marta, another neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. Some episodes of the Brazilian television series Cidade dos Homens (City of Men) were filmed there.

The 2008 film The Incredible Hulk featured an aerial take of Rocinha, an impressive low-altitude helicopter footage that gives a fair idea of the immensity of the favela and its complex assortment of seemingly endless chaotic constructions, as well as the sheer number of Intermodal containers repurposed as housing.[9] It was also featured in the 2011 film: Fast Five.

In the 2009 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, there is a multiplayer map called "Favela". The location is said to be in Rio de Janeiro and it closely resembles Rocinha.


  1. ^ "Bairro: Rocinha". Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Garcia, Janaina (21 December 2011). "Mais de 11 milhões vivem em favelas no Brasil, diz IBGE; maioria está na região Sudeste". UOL Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Chetwynd, Gareth (2004-04-17). "Deadly setback for a model favela". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  5. ^ "Brazil police target drug gangs in Rio's biggest slum". BBC News. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  6. ^ St. Louis, Regis; Draffen, Andrew (2005). Brazil (6 ed.). Lonely Planet. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-74104-021-0. 
  7. ^ Fodor's Brazil. Random House. 2008. p. 47. 
  8. ^ "Publishers Weekly review - Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, a New Urban World". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Filming locations for The Incredible Hulk". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 November 2010. [better source needed]

External links[edit]