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Favela vs. slum[edit]

"A favela is fundamentally different from a slum or tenement, primarily in terms of how they start, why they start and where they are. However, as Brazil contains a large number of impoverished areas, the word favela is often used to mean any of these types of places. "

This particular part needs attention - how is a favela different from a slum? One can surmise that favelas are generally ad-hoc neighborhoods where the landowner gave no authorization to build, while slums are housing units developed by a third party (or a government) having all rights to the land that falls into a state of disrepair. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sampson (talkcontribs) (28 March 2005)

This is correct, but in practice land ownership is of very little relevance in defining, forming and shaping the features of a favela, especially after it has grown larger than a certain size and removal becomes unfeasible without a lot of truculence (read: bad publicity for authorities) and a population displacement that would only make matters worse. The phenomenon is complex, but its effects do not differ significantly from one instance to the other, in most cases. Usually, favelas appear on government-owned or disputed-ownership land. --UrsoBR (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Favela can be either a shanty-town or a slum. For example, Rocinha can be considered a slum in many parts -- instead of a shanty town -- but it is a Favela. Check the Rocinha talk page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pinnecco (talkcontribs) (28 March 2005)

A note from someone who lives in brazil[edit]

Favelas are much worse than a slum, especially in the north eastern part of Brazil. The houses, if you would like to call them that, are made of garbage and anything they can find. There is no electricity or water. Most people in favelas, either beg for money or get their money with commiting crimes. Not all of them, but it can be generalized this way. It ususally smells like fecal matter and glue in favelas. That's just how bad it is. I'm not even kidding, I live in Brazil, near a favela. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rieg (talkcontribs) (10 July 2005)

Beep! You just described a "shanty town". In Brazil, it doesn't matter if it is a shanty town or a slum, it is all a favela. Cidade de Deus for example, it is supposed to be a slum. It is not a shanty town because the houses (most of them) were properly constructed, and there is basic sanitation. Nevertheless, it is still a favela: Favela Cidade de Deus (I'm from Rio de Janeiro by the way). --Pinnecco 09:49, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Here is a perfect description, in portuguese, of how a favela is created (i might translated it latter when I'm inspired)
"A idéia das remoções [de favelas] se tornou maldita porque, nos anos 60, as experiências nesse sentido foram feitas com truculência e sucedidas por total abandono. Os conjuntos habitacionais para onde as famílias foram levadas se degradaram a tal ponto que se transformaram em novas favelas."
So basicaly, it really doesn't matter if its a shanty town or a slum... Even a brand-new development, (such as nice council-hoses), will become a favela if it is socially segregated and abandoned by the government. --Pinnecco 00:25, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I am inspired. :-) So, here it goes (loosely translated): "The idea of [favela] eradication has become taboo, because in the 1960s such experiments were carried out with truculence and followed by total neglect [by the authorities]. The housing complexes where families were taken have been degraded to such an extent that they have become new favelas themselves." --UrsoBR (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
City of God is a good example. It started as an effort by the government to erradicate shanty-towns -- so it can't be considered illegal occupation of a land (don't know if/and until what extension City of God expanded to private lands, though). --Pinnecco 12:51, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I also live in Brazil, and have a few corrections to make. First, favelas are not a particular Rio phenomenon, rather, they are part of the urban landscape throughout Latin America, especially Brazil. In fact, Sao Paulo's favelas vastly outnumber Rio's, but Rio's American tourists vastly out number Sao Paulo's, leading to this mis-information. Second, most favelas, at least in South-easter Brazil, don't lake electricity, or phone service or satelite TV for that matter. These services are acquired illegally. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (21 January 2006)
(paulo:) I've made some edits based on *alot* of reading, but no first hand experience. Please correct me if I've got anything wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (24 January 2006)

"Favela society" section: subjectivity vs. statistics[edit]

The section "Favela society" uses very subjective, stereotypical (perhaps typical), perspective-oriented language. Would be nice to see this section re-worked to be more objective. For example, how prevalent are guns, how many gun deaths are reported, how much money is generated from drug sales. Using exagerrative adjectives without objective figures make this section seem sensationalist or that every favela is the same as portrayed in the worst parts of the film, "City of God". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (19 May 2006)

That would be great, but sadly, very few such statistics exist, and when they do, they are often little more than reasonable guesses. This is a direct consequence of one of the most significant features of favelas, one that in recent years has been pointed as a paramount issue in the favela problem: the absence of the government and mainstream civil society there, and hence of their institutions, services, and channels for the expression of citizenship.
This may be hard to understand for someone not familiar with favelas, but they are a largely unstructured society and it is extremely difficult to collect data there with techniques devised for structured societies. Even census work is extremely difficult to carry out in favelas. As for gun deaths, the vast majority are never reported at all - how could they be, if people are afraid to report them, and to whom they would be reported, if authorities are not there (and are often distrusted and frowned upon anyway)? Yet, it is a notorious fact that gun deaths do exist (as do other forms of murder), and they are many, but unfortunately they cannot be properly quantified or reliably sourced. --UrsoBR (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

key issue about favelas in big cities - high real estate property prices[edit]

Rio's favelas aren't entirely made of extreme poverty. In fact, a recent study (need reference for this) showned that rio's favelas inhabitants usually have tv, dvd, refrigerator, air conditioning, and others. To buy an average house in Rocinha it would cost you 25.000 usd dollars (~50.000 reais);

The favela article should remark that favelas aren't only a consequence of poverty, but also a consequence of the extremely high prices of real estate property, specially in the large cities. For the same 25k usd you can buy a large, big and confortable house in any countryside town, but since urbanization in Brazil is too strong, people prefer to live in favelas because near the big centers they have jobs.

A good federal policy for habitation would put down the prices of raw materials and civil construction in general, making the favelas a better place to live. Unfortunately this is yet to happen — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (25 August 2006)

True, but Rocinha is no longer representative of an average Brazilian favela. It has grown so enormously that it developed a strong economy of its own, and some signs of prosperity inevitably appeared. The same has happened in other large favelas, but even at Rocinha, there is a distinct separation between the... er... "more affluent" lower parts and the higher ones, which remain as miserable and derelict as they have always been. While TV sets have been ubiquitous everywhere for decades in Brazil, and such domestic amenities certainly are not exactly rare any more in favelas, I doubt that they are representative of the majority of favelados. --UrsoBR (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Edge of city?[edit]

The article give the impression that to be in the edge of the city is a typical characteristic of a favela, but many important favelas are right in the midle of the "non-favela" part of the city. In fact, that is often the characteristic that makes these ones so important. -- NIC1138 03:22, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

True. Being poor does not mean being stupid, and people who go to live in a favela do so exactly in order to be near their jobs. So, most (but not all) favelas tend to be located in central areas, near downtown or more affluent districts that can provide them with jobs. For example, two of the largest favelas in São Paulo, Paraisópolis and Real Parque, are right in the middle of the posh mansions of Morumbi, the city's most expensive and exclusive district. The alternative would be to go to the distant suburbs - contrary to what happens in countries like the U.S., in Brazil it is mostly the poor who live there.
There is a lot of shocking poverty and violence in the peripheral suburbs, too, not to mention the same lack of sanitation and other public services characteristic of favelas, but there is not nearly the same degree of agglomeration, unhealthiness and even social stigma associated with living in a favela. Actually, most poor people in Brazilian cities live on the edge of the city, rather than in a more central favela (though the phenomenon is so complex that there are favelas in peripheral areas, too).
However, this somewhat "less bad" quality of life there comes at the price of having to spend a very long time - often several hours - on crowded public buses and suburban trains (as shown in the Oscar-nominated Central do Brasil/Central Station movie) in order to get to one's workplace or to public services such as hospitals. Not only it takes time, it is expensive to poor people's pockets, and since in Brazil employers must subsidize part of transportation costs, people who live too far away may have trouble finding employment - at least with a regular contract and all the benefits mandated by law for it.
Anyway, I have removed the "edge of the city" part, because in most cases this is not true, and this is the very reason why most favelas appear. --UrsoBR (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Favela "essay"[edit]

This was added in the top of the page. It seems a honest contribution, but also looks a bit original research-ey. Also, did not fit introductory style. I have reverted the page, and added the essay here, in case anyone want to reinsert some of it in a more appropriate place.

A Favela Pros and cons essay: Favelas are an important part of 1/3 of the population’s lifestyles. These are the main housing communities in Brazil and indeed, the whole of South America. These communities contain housing which is not costly, which usually the lower class Brazilians would have. These Favela communities are friendly making them the most suitable, child-friendly, housing facilities for a great amount of the population. Favelas, being cheap, are an ideal alternative to having to pay great sums of money for living in a house. Favelas are also situated near cities making them ideal for city workers to get to work in the cities. Rocinha, a Favela next to Rio de Janeiro, is one of the oldest and biggest Favelas in Brazil, as it was founded first by Migrants and country people searching for work in the main cities and living there. Because living in cities would have been too expensive Favelas were set up. Favelas have become technologically more advanced due to the fact that there are now over 700 Favela shops in the Rocinha area. Also, many inhabitants (23%) have credit cards. Televisions are also a new installation, and are owned by a majority of the Favela population. The structures of many Favela houses are brick; however, there are sometimes worse circumstances of living. Getting around Favelas is easy as there are roads and motorbike taxis, which are taxis covered by small portable plastic covers to protect the customers from bad weather. Even though Favelas seem like a sound place to live, there are problems which inhabitants have to face regularly. Firstly, pay from city jobs aren’t too good and can be limited. These people only get £100 per month, making it hard to make a living. The wealthier people in the city earn a lot more. So much so, that they are able to afford mansions closed off, by the hillside. They are also able to send their children to the best schools in the country, for around £900 per month. Because Favelas are just made of randomly set up buildings, it can be hard to find your way round, as there is no straight road system. Buildings are also not quality controlled, and can therefore be unsafe or unstable in bad weather. Because they can be unstable, this means people could be hurt without any warning. Although Favela houses contain running water and electricity, these are also not quality checked and could cause fires to break out, which could affect the whole Favela. Services are situated very far away from a Favela making it hard to dispose of rubbish and waste. However, the Government has provided Rocinha with a rubbish collection service in the high street. Then again, this means that rubbish is piled up on the roadside, producing a dirty and filthy atmosphere. Education facilities are also not that good in Favelas, however they are the only available ones for children to go to in this region. Because of drug dealers, Favelas are often raided by the police making it unsafe to walk around the main streets when this occurs. This is why many people have to live outside the city for a bit, until the police raids stop. As one can see, Favelas have their ups and downs like any other community and housing facility. But Favelas are making progress thanks to the efforts of the Government to try and allow more money to flow into these communities, and to the everlasting sense of a healthy community people living in Favelas show. Favelas in Brazil could improve to become proper villages and cities if enough efforts are made to stop drug lords and make concrete, sensible decisions on the future of Favelas.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (3 October 2007)

I would say most of it is rubbish, and very, very childish and naïve (the "quality control" part made me laugh!). It appears to have been added by a British schoolboy or girl (since monetary values are given in pounds) who read about it somewhere or heard someone talk about favelas. Television sets are not new, they have been ubiquitous in favelas and elsewhere for generations now. The "getting around favelas is easy" part made me laugh, too: there are NO proper roads for the most part and it would be impossible to drive a car (or even a motor bike) in the chaotic maze of narrow, rough, unpaved and often steep passages in favelas. Usually, walking is the ONLY way to "get around" in a favela, and disabled and elderly people have to be literally carried by their family and neighbours to get to a doctor, for example. I have never heard of those plastic-covered motor taxis. (Stolen) electricity is the norm, but running water is non-existant, except in Rocinha's lower parts. The people fleeing the favelas to outside the city until police raids stop is ridiculous; it simply does not happen except in pinpoint individual cases, and moreover, police raids, while often brutal, are not the only or main source of violence in a favela - drug traffic is. Moreover, the "essay" seems to have taken Rocinha's case (very romanticized and with many inaccuracies) and generalized it to all favelas. This is a gross distortion, because as I pointed above, Rocinha has become a very peculiar case and is no longer representative of Brazilian favelas as a whole. --UrsoBR (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Did you notice the pounds signs in that "essay"? Methinks some British person wrote it, and I'm not sure he or she ever saw a favela (or did proper research, for that matter). (talk) 06:22, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

New edits by UrsoBR[edit]

I have made a few minor language edits throughout, but I would like to call your attention to a few not-so-minor edits and submit them to discussion. First, as noted above, I removed the "mostly located on the edge of the city" part. In the second sentence, I added that "mostly" they have electricity - some do not, especially the newer, smaller or more distant ones. I also added that favelas can be found in any Brazilian large and mid-sized town, since there are now favelas even in cities with less than 100,000 inhabitants.

Another addition was that most Brazilian cities do not recognize the existence of favelas as a legal entity; the previous text mentioned only Rio de Janeiro, while for the same legal reasons this is true for virtually any Brazilian city where favelas exist, and could also make one think that the city government simply did not acknowledge that favelas themselves exist, which would be preposterous, given that they are so blatantly visible (and have a large number of voters, too).

In the third paragraph, I also substituted "peculiar form of social life" for "anomalous," since I thought the latter word sounded way too prejudiced; favelas are not nice places to live, but they have a very rich and interesting culture that should not be frowned upon. That same culture, by the way, is missing from the article, and I would suggest that someone more capable and familiar with the subject add something about it.

After "Favelas differ from ghettos such as those in the United States in that they are racially mixed, even though blacks make up the majority of the population," I added: "- that is, in Brazil it is chiefly economic forces, rather than ethnic or cultural issues, that drive people there." I thought that otherwise, an American reader whose mindset is influenced by the way racial issues are thought and dealt with in that culture might not fully understand the key point of the phrase. After "The best-known favelas are those in and around Rio de Janeiro," I added: "possibly because Rio's peculiar urban geography has placed many of them up the hills that face the city's prosperous seaside neighbourhoods and tourist spots, and thus made them readily visible."

I did not change the "Future of the Favelas" section, but I would recommend it to be deleted as it is or replaced by something new by someone more capable of that. This section sounds like official propaganda for a project that, like all, is extremely unlikely to solve the favela problem "per se." — Preceding unsigned comment added by UrsoBR (talkcontribs) (11 March 2008)

UrsoBR, I liked your edits particularly in the description section, which tries to explain to a wider audience the peculiarities of a Favela. What I think it is not necessarily right is to make it intrinsically analogous to shanti-towns. Often shanti-towns are often seen simply as a conglomerate of poorly constructed dwellings (barracos) with little to no sanitation. The thing is that man favelas in Brazil have are above this description. if you look at Rocinha there are several buildings which (although they look shabby) they have electricity, and many favelas have some basic services such as schools and even bank branches.
As I pointed out before, Cidade de Deus was originally a government project to eradicate shanti-towns with the construction of council-houses. With poor maintenance and constant social services, City of God deteriorated, and barracos started to be constructed around its perimeter. The place is nowadays a favela. --Pinnecco (talk) 09:46, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Your descriptions remind me of the now-vanished projects of Pruitt-Igoe and Cabrini-Green in the USA. They, too, started out as an effort to replace the American version of a slum with the American version of council-housing... (talk) 06:26, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Favela vs. Ghettos[edit]

This sentence has problems: "Favelas differ from ghettos such as those in the United States in that they are racially mixed, even though blacks make up the majority of the population - that is, in Brazil it is chiefly economic forces, rather than ethnic or cultural issues, that drive people there." This is quite simplistic. Ghettos frequently have mixed populations and I would argue that economic forces are still the main reason that ghettos exist. I don't think this distinction is as clear as this sentence claims, and I think it would be better to leave it out. It might be possible to say something like "Although blacks make up the majority of the population in favelas, ethnicity does not have a strong influence on their formation. It is chiefly economic forces, rather than ethnic or cultural issues, that drive people there." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cayblood (talkcontribs) 19:12, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree. It makes it sound like African-Americans who live in ghetto do so either because they want to be around their own kind at any cost or that whites force them to live together—I don't think either is true. (Quite frankly it sounds like a latent "America is the most racist country in the world" type of argument [especially compared to the alleged multiracial "paradise" of places like Brazil].) Historian932 (talk) 14:58, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

European immigrants[edit]

This article claims that European immigrants settled the favelas in Brazil. I never heard about this story. Yes, immigrants settled poor neighborhoods, but these were cortiços, not favelas. The cortiços settled by immigrants did not gave birth to favelas. Cortiços were poor neighborhoods, but the poverty there was not even close to the poverty we find in favelas.

I'll check these informations later. Opinoso (talk) 02:41, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Favela Original Meaning[edit]

Favela is the popular name of a plant. Also knows as Faveleira. The Cnidoscolus phyllacanthus from the Euphorbiaceae family. Found in the arid regions northeast of Brazil. Unfortunately the original meaning is only know in the remotes areas where the plant is found.

During the Canudos Revolt in Bahia the republican goverment send soldiers from other brazilian states to fight there. They camp at "morro da favela" (favela hill) an hill that overlook the Canudos Town and form wich thay bombarded the town. The long conflict and the lack of suplies made the camp an ad-hoc of shacks made from what the soldiers could get. After the conflict was over many soldiers returning to Rio de Janeiro (them capital of Brazil) found thenselves living in shacks in the hills much alike when they where at Morro da Favela.

Both Favela (the plant) and the Morro da Favela are cited in "Os Sertões" by "Euclides da Cunha".

The favela as an very poor and disorganized build part of a city is the only know meaning by most brazilians living in other parts of brazil as is came from the them capital and the other big cities of the south.

I think this information is interessing and should be added to the article. But i don't know if those sources are good: all in portuguese

portuguese and english:

ZeroA4 (talk) 15:10, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

I just added the favela/faveleira tree identification (independently: I only saw this comment afterwards). I did look at the passage in Os Sertões and the useful page at which you cite. I mentioned the Latin name of faveleira you suggest (Cnidoscolus phyllacanthus) but also the more widely mentioned Jatropha identification of the favela tree. As to Euclides da Cunha's statement that the favela would truly belong in a new genus of the legume family, I decided to leave that alone. Wareh (talk) 04:39, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

An universal word[edit]

There's just a few Brazilian universal words. Such as samba and capoeira, favela means the same, in any language. Universal word is a word that means the same, in any language.Agre22 (talk) 12:28, 29 December 2009 (UTC)agre22

Favela are illegal and they cause damage for the entire city[edit]

The article should talk about the "other side". Favelas are illegal, they are a nest for the druglords. They don´t respect the law, they don´t respect the government. They are build close to the richest areas of the city, because of real state speculation. They are destroying the tourism in Rio de Janeiro, they cause unemployment and make the violence increase enormously. The favelas also cause many environmental problems, because they are built in preserved forestal areas. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

The sewage collection and disposal once was proposed to differ favelas from houses, but the true is that in Brazil we don't have any specific neither effort on sewage treatment, also due to land usage laws are very blurry. I would like to add the fact that most favelas and even called houses in Brazil lacks any sewage treatment. Most favelas - as well local and international industries - in São Paulo rise around rivers and ponds to be used as a dump.

Dianakc (talk) 05:11, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Favella redirects here but is a microbe[edit]

Favella is a ciliate of the order Tintinnida. I don't know if this is relevant enough to start a disambiguation page. Edit: forgot to sign, --Ralf Muschall (talk) 12:17, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Needs more neutral tone[edit]

I'm a Californian journalist who doesn't know much about Brazil, but when I started reading about the police raids, the language seemed weirdly propagandistic rather than objective. I don't even know if the military occupation is a good thing or not but the language about "civic responsibility" sounded like it came out of the mouth of a government spokesman rather than a scholar. So I'm noting this. (talk) 01:35, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

This is not true.[edit]

there is on page 3 a picture of the page 3 girls of the sun new tabloid, tis kind of exploitation is innacceptable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kirbyfire1 (talkcontribs) 15:17, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


everyone has one, they are not funny. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Favela- Shanty[edit]

What is the difference? But putting Hussein Obama there - now that is a dirty trick! His brother lives in a 6X6 foot hut in Kenya -- and he, Hussein Obama, cares not if it is a shanty or favela — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:17, 17 January 2014 (UTC)