Housing Shaped by Labour – The Architecture of Scarcity in Informal Settlements

JovisVerlag

ISBN 978-3-86859-534-5
https://www.jovis.de/de/buecher/product/housing-shaped-by-labour.html

Housing Shaped

by Labour

The Architecture of Scarcity in Informal Settlements

Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti


1

PROLOG 6

2

READING SPATIAL POVERTY THROUGH

PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH 14

2.1 A research and a journey 15

2.2 Literacy for reading spatial poverty:

methods from a people perspective 20

3

TWO FAVELAS IN RAPID

URBANIZATION CONTEXTS 32

3.1 Informal settlements and housing

without borders 33

3.2 Informal settlements in the world:

rapid urbanization and housing 38

3.3 Informal settlements and housing

in Brazil 41

3.4 Informal settlements and housing

in the rapidly urbanizing city of Maceió 45

3.5 Favela Sururu de Capote 49

3.6 Favela do Antigo Telégrafo 60

4

A PATTERN LANGUAGE FOR

HABITATS OF SCARCITY 70

4.1 From Alexander to favelas 71

4.2 A pattern language for favelas 76

4


5

LABOUR IN FAVELAS 120

5.1 Favelas as a labour space 121

5.2 Favelas as a space shaped by labour 129

5.2.1 In the field: houses, streets, alleys

and the borders of a favela shaped,

planned and governed by labour 130

5.2.2 City: social porosity of the city

due to the practices of labour in the favela 139

5.2.3 Territory: global impact of favela labour 143

6

WORK AS A HOUSING RIGHT:

THE TRANSFER OF RESIDENTS FROM

FAVELAS TO SOCIAL HOUSING 156

7

A NEW APPROACH TO HUMAN

HABITATS IN CONTEXTS OF SCARCITY 174

8

CONCLUSIONS 188

Manifesto of work as a housing right 190

References 193

Colophon 199

5


1

PROLOG

6


It is 21:00 pm, Dona Zezé is opening the doors

of her bar and she hopes for decent proceeds, since

today a football match is going to attract many visitors.

A few houses away, a man has just closed his

grocery store after a long day of work and a not

particularly high number of customers. Vanessa is

finishing cleaning and tidying up her hairdressing

salon before taking the few steps which lead her to

her home and inherent family duties. A tired Claudio,

who spent the entire afternoon preparing juice, goes

to sleep after checking out his bottles and covering

his barrow with a plastic cover. Tomorrow he will

have to carry it through the stairways of his neighborhood.

Antônio is about to wake up in a few hours.

At 4 o’clock in the morning he will leave home to

fish, hoping for a good haul. Not far from his home,

sounds of pots and aromas signal that households of

a neighboring home are preparing food to be traded

the next day.

Those I have presented could be descriptions of

any person who earns a living in our city. Instead,

they are snippets from the life of people that I met

during my stay in some of the favelas which are

commonly considered among the poorest and most

dangerous in Brazil. These writings aim to dignify

the lives of the unprivileged groups living in human

habitats defined by a scarcity of resources and too

often shrouded in prejudice.

When we think about informal settlements,

places characterized by criminality, fear and a lack

of security and sanitation immediately come to mind.

7


2

READING SPATIAL

POVERTY THROUGH

PARTICIPATORY

RESEARCH

14


2.1 A research and a journey

I started studying favelas in 2008 for my graduation

thesis at the Federal University of Alagoas

in Maceió, Brazil, where I was also born. This story

begins when I met for the first time a fisherman

during one of the field projects that were mandatory

for the Urban Project course during the fourth

year of my studies at the Faculty of Architecture and

Urbanism. As an assignment, we were requested to

interview residents in order to map the low-income

neighborhood of Levada located on the coast of the

lagoon Mundaú, which is part of an important estuarine

complex in Maceió, Brazil. This was exactly one

year before my graduation project and exactly ten

years ago. (Figure 1)

The fisherman to whom I devoted my professional

vocation to study the favelas is called Seu João

Honorato. João lives in a low middle-class house in

an area surrounded by an extensive agglomerate

of favelas on the edge of the lagoon. He is a bright

middle-aged man, fascinated by the main urban

lagoon of Maceió, and has been the president of

the Association of Fisherman of the Mundaú lagoon

since 2008. Every day he goes to the margins of the

lagoon where his office is located and where he is

responsible for addressing the needs of fishermen

groups. During the interview, he proudly revealed

that he was in charge of all the fishermen involved

in fishing sururu, a typical mussel of Alagoas, which

was acknowledged as an immaterial heritage of

15


Figure 5:

View from inside a house in the favela Sururu de

Capote. (Source: Author, 2008)

28


eyond ‘museumification of squatter settlements,’

‘esthetization of poverty’ which are planning issues

frequently addressed by the renowned scholar and

planner Ananya Roy. 6 It is necessary to read poverty

through ‘more imaginative terms’, as declared by

the architect Pushpa Arabindoo, 7 starting from the

‘maps of land ownership and cartographies of livelihood

of residents’ stated by Ananya Roy in the book

Urban Informality. 8 This is an epistemological gap in

the literature of urban informality that will open a

discussion about the approaches and methods of

planning and also about the pedagogic tools and

education in the field of planning and architecture.

This book describes what I found during almost

two continuous years of research. From the moment

I left the favela do Telégrafo, I started my intellectual

reflection, data elaboration and interpretation

6 Ananya Roy, “Transnational Trespassings: The Geopolitics

of Urban Informality,” in Urban Informality: Transnational

Perspectives from the Middle East, Latin America and South Asia, ed.

Ananya Roy and Nezar AlSayyad (Oxford: Lexington Books,

2003), 289312.

7 Pushpa Arabindoo, “Rhetoric of the ‘Slum,’” City 15, no. 6

(2011): 63646, doi:10.1080/13604813.2011.609002.640.

8 Ananya Roy and Nezar AlSayyad, eds., Urban Informality:

Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, Latin America and

South Asia (Oxford: Lexington Books, 2003). 296.

29


3

TWO FAVELAS IN

RAPID URBANIZATION

CONTEXTS

32


3.1 Informal settlements and housing without

borders

Before introducing the two case studies of my

field research, we will briefly discuss and challenge

the dominant definitions for informal settlements in

current society and how they have influenced scholars

and practitioners dealing with poverty contexts

for decades. After that, the urgency of addressing the

milieu of informal settlements will be emphasized,

showing information that ranges from global statistics

to the specific features of the two favelas I studied

in the city of Maceió, one of the most rapidly urbanizing

cities in the world, in the north-east of Brazil.

According to the definition of the United Nations

Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), slum households

are defined as a group of individuals living

under the same roof in an urban area who lack one

or more of the following:

1. Durable housing of a permanent nature that protects

against extreme climate conditions.

2. Sufficient living space, which means not more than

three people sharing the same room.

3. Easy access to safe water in sufficient amounts and at

an affordable price.

4. Access to adequate sanitation in the form of a private or

public toilet shared by a reasonable number of people.

5. Security of tenure that prevents forced evictions. 9

9 UN-Habitat, “State of the World’s Cities 2006/2007” (London,

Earthscan, 2006), 21.

33


Figure 6:

Two different typologies of neighborhoods in Maceió.

(Source: Author, 2018 (above), 2014 (below))

48


3.5 Favela Sururu de Capote

The favela Sururu de Capote (Figure 7) is situated

in the southwest part of the city, along the Lagoon

Mundaú which was one of the first urbanizing areas

of the city and is still considered as a key region for

tourism-related aspirations of the city due to the

beauty of its natural attractions.

Figure 7:

Sururu de Capote (view from the lagoon). (Source:

Author, 2008)

This favela is often depicted by the media as a

stronghold of crime due to the presence of drug dealing.

Located in the neighborhood of Levada, Vergel do

Lago, Ponta Grossa and Trapiche, the favela Sururu de

49


the community itself, who in turn are part of the

wider economic system through resistance, tactiques

and resilience, as it could be described by the French

philosopher Michel de Certeau. 56

Today the favela Sururu de Capote is still existent

and in a process of expansion, embedded within a

city landscape of strong polarities. Several programs

aimed at resettling the residents and re-urbanizing

the favela have been proposed in the past. The first

social housing was ‘Conjunto Virgem dos Pobres,’ in

1889 after a flood and promoted by Promorar and

the National Housing Bank. Others include Vila São

Pedro, Conjunto Santa Maria, Cidade Sorriso (Projeto

Integrado da da Orla Lagunar) designed by the Brazilian

government in 2007 and completed in 2009. All

the projects failed to completely resettle residents

and promote a disappearance of the favela.

3.6 Favela do Antigo Telégrafo

The Favela do Antigo Telégrafo is a Grota located

along the Vale do Reginaldo in the Mangabeiras neighborhood.

The favela offers a view of the sea at Mangabeiras

and is located five minutes from the oldest

56 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans, Steven

Rendall, Reprint, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2011.

Originaly published in 1980 by Union générale d’éditions

(Paris).

60


Figure 16: Views of the formal city from the Favela do Telégrafo.

(Source: Author, 2015)

61


Figure 19: Three 20-storey buildings at the limits of the favela.

(Source: Author, 2015)

66


Figure 20: A favela made of bricks. (Source: Author, 2014)

67


4.2 A pattern language for favelas

CATEGORY I INTIMACY

The first category refers to all those practices

that emerge in the interior of a house and that constitute

the most intimate side of the private sphere

of the life of a resident in a favela. These practices

influence the internal design of the house according

to the founding values of its inhabitant, including

religious belief, family bonds, social relationships.

They all contribute to the definition of the meaning

of home to the resident (Figure 22).

Figure 22: Photo of a detail of a self-built chapel by residents in the

favela Sururu de Capote. (Source: Author, 2008)

76


1. Icons and saints

Common objects set up in an altar in the living room of the

house are often used as icons and saints. Crucifixes can also be

present.

2. Religion Prayer services and faith

stairways

77


Living Room

Some dwellings are set up as churches. Mass is held by pastors

living in favelas. Religion is important for the self-esteem and

the perseverance of the community.

3. Residents and family networks

Residents live with their own family in the house, which hosts

many generations under the same roof. Houses can be extended

to accommodate new members of the family or relatives migrating

to the city.

4. Residents’ photos

78


At least a frame containing a photo of the family can be found

hanged on the walls of the house. This object represents the

value of family for residents. Also pictures of saints are often

present.

5. Social relationships and solidarity

Neighbors, friends and family members often gather on benches

or set chairs in the front part of the house, mostly at the end of the

day. These moments are important opportunities to share information

about new jobs, opportunities, news, or also to find help. In the

favela, solidarity ties are important. Livelihood and social life depend

on the social network.

79


23. Clothes line

Residents hang up clothes, often washed in the kitchen or bathroom

of the house, outside their houses to dry.

24. Cesspits

Many houses built in Maceió (both in formal and informal

settlements) are not connected to the public sewage system. In

the favelas, residents improvise cesspits for the houses of the

community. The activity is supervised by experienced masons

who live in the favela.

90


25. Two colors or two textures

Two different colors or two textures can be applied to the external

surfaces of walls. The lowest part of the wall is colored with

darker nuances, in order to prevent the wall from showing possible

early markings, for instance produced by the footprints of

inhabitants.

26. Garages

Residents may decide to adapt part of the space of a house

accessing the alley as a storage room, a hand cart depot or (in

the unlikely event of a car purchase) even as a garage.

91


CATEGORY III COMMUNITY

The third category represents all those rules

and traditions of communal living that the resident

observes as part of a community that extends spatially

outside of his dwelling. They include the social

practices that shape the common spaces of a favela,

from the moments of conviviality to those related to

use of common resources.

Figure 24: Exposed water pipes in the favela do Telégrafo.

(Source: Author, 2015)

98


38. Stairways

After school, children want to play outside the home. This

often happens on the common stairways of the favela. They are

also gathering spaces for adults, especially mothers playing

with children. Inhabitants also sit on the stairways to eat with

neighboors during festivities.

39. Bica

During hot summer days, people may dismantle water pipes

available on many stairways of the favela, in order to do a

“bica” (a shower in open space), or to fill an inflatable pool

with water.

99


43. Bicycles

Bicycles are common means of transport used by residents of

the favela. Stairways can sometimes be equipped with ramps

to facilitate passage. Ramps are often used to conceal sewage

pipes.

44. Common tools and techniques

102


Alleys, rooftops, stairways and empty areas are common spaces

used by all members of the community for various purposes,

from leisure to work, as well as sharing plugs and devices.

45. Compromises

When more residents live in multi-family houses (villas), water

tanks must be shared. This implies a compromise between

the involved residents in the use of the common resources,

according to the mutual needs and priorities, which need to be

addressed and respected through unwritten agreements.

46. Soundscape

103


CATEGORY IV LABOUR

The last category refers to the working practices

that exert an influence on the definition and production

of space in a favela. Most of the social practices

of the favela pattern language belong to this category.

In fact, the working activity of a resident living

in a favela is capable of shaping space both inside

and outside the boundary of their home, including

common areas up to the borders of the favela with

the ‘formal city’ and including spaces of the formal

city.

Figure 25: Work in the house: a tool repair shop in the favela

Sururu de Capote. (Source: Author, 2018)

106


51. Work at home

stairways

Work at home is a common practice in the favela. Businesses

and domestic life often occur under the same roof. Space designated

for work activities is separated from the domestic space

through the use of curtains, walls and doors. An infinity of

activities take place inside the house: from clothes or car repairs

to hairdressing, manicure, day care, internet shop, bar, workshop,

grocery shops sewing, laundry, child care, junkyard,

recycling, carpentry office. As a result, the landscape of the

favela is mixed, with businesses and domestic life sharing spatial

proximity.

52. Craftsmanship

107


Workers learn craftsmanship skills in the domestic space of the

favela, often in backyards or verandas of the houses of expert

craftsmen, where they can practice. The skills are taught by

more experienced inhabitants to future co-workers or those

employed in the formal city. Craftsmanship activities include

iron workers, carpenters, glass workers, and painters. Many

businesses are family-run. In this case, trade secrets are handed

down from generation to generation.

53. Repair culture

There are many repair shops in the favela (electronic and electric

devices, tools, infrastructures, clothes and others). Used or

broken objects are recycled, re-assembled and sold again.

54.Window shop

108


Windows overlooking alleys of the favela are fundamental

spatial attributes that allow people to trade their goods and

services directly from their home.

55. Investing in labour and then in homes

Home

Ext. Home

Labour Space

Most residents of the favela prefer to invest in their income

generation activities, instead of in the extension or purchase

of physical attributes for their domestic space. The choice of

location, construction processes and spatial management of the

house depend more on the working activity performed, rather

than on domestic needs.

56. Self-construction related to work

109


5

LABOUR IN FAVELAS

120


5.1 Favelas as a labour space

In this book I want to linger in only one of the

categories previously presented, namely labour

that, according to my field experience, is the social

practice that primarily shapes, plans and governs

the logic of informal settlements. 59

The emergence of the favela itself is rooted in

the human search for better conditions of work and

livelihood in the formal city, and its persistence in

both the delusions of initial hopes and in the necessity

of reinventing oneself.

Only a minor proportion of the residents of the

favelas I studied are employed in the formal city, and

they live there because their salaries do not allow

them to acquire a formal house in the city. Furthermore,

for many persons, a formal job is not the only

source of income generated. Most of the residents in

the favela derive their livelihood from the informal

business they create inside the favelas, in the street

nearby, and sometimes “informally” transferred to

the streets of the formal city. Labour is perhaps ‘the

59 Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti, “Work, Slums and Informal

Settlements Traditions: Architecture of the Favela Do

Telegrafo,” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review XXVIII

(2017).

121


Work inside the favela

Carpenter

Pedagogical activities assistant

(Professor Particular)

Carpenter

Market vendor

Hairdresser and manicure

Vendors of international company

Craftsman (wood, glass, iron,

furniture)

Worker/owner child care

Worker/owner of grocery shop

Worker/owner at car washing

services

Worker/owner car repair services

Worker/owner prayer services

Worker/owner of nurseries

Worker/owner tattoo shops

Worker/owner cake shops

Worker/owner clothes repair

Worker/owner repair services

(electronic devices, furniture)

Worker/owner internet shop

Worker/owner bakery

Worker/owner butchery

Worker/owner deposit of

construction

Worker/owner disco (Discoteca)

Worker/owner iron shop

Worker/owner glass shop

Worker/owner upholstery furniture

makers

Worker/owner junk yard

Work outside the favela

Policeman

Taxi driver

Firefighter

Plumber

Mason

Receptionist at hotel

Professor at primary school

Shopping mall vendor

House painter

Car seller

Business assistant

Motorcycle courier services

(motoboy)

Secretary’s assistant

Esthetician at beauty salon

Telephone operator

Commercial activity assistant

Assistant at lawyer office

Confectioner

Employee at plotter

Support for dentist assistant,

Machine operator at industry

Glasses vendor

Clothes shop vendor

Telemarketing

Vendor of health security

Cook at chain of food or restaurant

Vendor of meals (marmitas)

Cashier

Assistant in handling materials

Make-up professional

Manicure and pedicure

Hairdresser

Assistant of pizza chef (Pizzaiolo)

Waiter

Seller at boutique

Aleatory small jobs (Fazer Bico).

Hawker

Carter

Table 2

Work activities performed by residents inside and outside

the favela do Antigo Telégrafo. (Source: Author, 2017).

128


5.2 Favelas as a space shaped by labour

With the hope of having provided the reader the

vision of a favela as a place where people constantly

work, it is my duty to refer to how, and to what

extent, labour in the favela has the capacity to shape

the space in which its residents live, to govern the

spatial interactions with the inhabitant of the formal

city and even to influence the global economy in

which we all live. The working practices of residents

influence the space in several ways. First of all, they

shape the physical environment of the favela and an

example of this is how residents decide to build their

homes and plan their streets. They affect the logic of

the city, due to the influence of the work of favela

residents in both the formal and informal city, contributing

to the overall planning and relationships

in the city. Finally, they impact broader territories in

the world, through their working force that shapes

new world cartographies.

In the following, the treatment of the spatial

influence of favela labour is based on a concentric

vision. The first layer focuses its attention on the

influence of working activities on the space of favelas

and surrounding areas. Secondly, the spatial relationships

between the formal and informal city are

described. Finally, a “territorial” scale of influence

is introduced. Since the treatment of this layer may

appear abstract, I will make it tangible through a

practical example of who and what I observed with

interest. In fact, everything I will refer to in the fol-

129


alley, which has been named ‘Beco do Sururu’ by its

inhabitants, hosts all the phases of production, from

fishing to cleaning processes and transportation services

(Figure 35). 65

On the other hand, the location and extensions

of alleys and streets comprise spatial features can

influence or even decide the economic trend of an

entire area. For example, commercial and service

activities are more abundant around the main avenues

located at the margins of the favelas with the

formal city, because residents can offer their products

to residents of the formal city, who are attracted

by cheap prices (Figure 36, Figure 37).

Figure 36: Kiosk at the margin of the favela do Telégrafo, (Source:

Author, 2017)

65 Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti, “Dos Calejados Pés, Os Passos

Dos Filhos de Mãe Lagoa: A Invenção Do Espaço a Partir Dos

Ritos Do Sururu.” (Universidade Federal de Alagoas, 2008), 69.

138


The businesses of inhabitants

flourish on the ground floor of

houses that are located on the

top of alleys.

Inhabitants usually

meet in the stairways.

Commercial activities and

services surround the alleys of

the favelas (e.g. hairdresser,

grocery shop, church).

The houses that do not

surround the main alleys

are usually the poorest.

Villas’ owners

rent their properties.

Hawkers usually

sell their products in

the streets that

surround

the favela or, in

the city center.

Inhabitants who dwell at the

border of the favela open

businesses that are frequented

by inhabitants across the city.

Figure 37: Graphic shows how labour practices take place in the

alleys and surrounding streets of the favela. (Source:

Author, 2017)

5.2.2 City: social porosity of the city due to the practices

of labour in the favela.

Now that the modes of shaping the houses,

streets, and alleys of the favela up to its margins

have been explained as a result of labour, the manner

in which the work activities of its residents also

139


Figure 42: Women cleaning sururu. (Source: Author, 2008)

148


Figure 43: Carrying cleaned products through

the alley “Beco do Sururu”. (Source: Author, 2008)

149


6

WORK AS A HOUSING

RIGHT: THE TRANSFER

OF RESIDENTS FROM

FAVELAS TO SOCIAL

HOUSING

156


When an architect and urban planner receives a

project, or is requested or commissioned to plan and

design a house, or to participate in a competition to

provide housing complexes or planning schemes for

the city, the first priority is to understand the particular

demands of the client. What does the client

need? If, for example, a neighbor here in the Netherlands,

a mother of four children who lives in the

house near mine, knocks on the door and asks for

a new house, I already know she would probably

need e.g. organized spaces for the children to play

and study, with furniture adapted to the height of

the little children in their bedrooms, a big kitchen to

cook and eat together, a studio and a library to nourish

the mind, bike storage, windows and strategies

to take advantage of natural light and ventilation

and so on.

But what happens when the potential client is a

person living in the favela? What are the needs and

the priorities architects have to address within the

design of a house? Are they the same as the family

who lives nearby? Answering this question is the

mission that has guided my professional and life

choices over the past 10 years, from the first moment

I set foot in the favela. Over the course of the book,

the importance of understanding the true needs of

favela inhabitants through the observation of their

social practices has become apparent and among

them, labour has been recognized as the aspect that

largely shapes plans and governs the logic of the

informal settlement.

157


Number of housing blocks

Number of housing units

Number of changes in

the external structure

(destruction, new

buildings, incremental

construction):

Characteristics of the

activities:

Changing units for

working purposes

Changing units for other

purposes*

18 blocks

18 blocks of 4 dwelling units

20

1. Scrap yard

2. Bar 1

3. Room for private parties or

religious celebrations

4. Food shop

5. Cassave shop

6. Car washing services

7. Sandwich shop

8. Bar 2

9. Bar 3

10. Fruit shop

11. Bar 4

12. Sururu (sales point)

13. Cultivation of fruits and

vegetables.

14. Beverage deposit

15. Isolation from neighbors*

16. Snack bar

17. Printing shop

18. Service shop

19. Car wash service

20. Scrap yard 2

95%

5%

Sururu work 5%

Changes per block

Table 4:

18 blocks and 20 changes

Purpose of incremental changes in Vila São Pedro

(Pink Block). (Source: Author, 2017).

168


Restoration of working activities originally performed

in the favela included the practice of sururu

fishing. Fishermen who were resettled in the housing

Vila São Pedro (in front of the favela) had only

to cross the street to reach the lagoon and work,

while women continued cooking the sururu in their

apartments, cleaning it in front of the social housing,

together with groups of other marisqueiras.

Sururu was sold in front of their new homes inside

improvised kiosks that soon appeared in front of

their official housing. Instead, for the fishermen

and marisqueiras who were transferred to the social

housing Santa Maria and Cidade Sorriso, the resettlement

implied traveling longer distances every day.

The later groups commute daily by bus a distance of

23 kilometres from the social housing to the favela

Sururu de Capote in order to work or to meet family

members and friends who now live in the Vila São

Pedro. The leader of the favela Sururu de Capote, who

now lives in Cidade Sorriso , claimed in an interview

with a local newspaper in 2013 78 that more persons

originally from favelas started to be involved in

criminal activities due to the lack of work opportunities

promoted by the peripheral location of the social

78 Gazeta de Alagoas.“Conjunto Cidade Sorriso Vira Pasadelo

Para Famílias,” Gazeta de Alagoas, March 3, 2013, acessed,

12 September, 2017,http://gazetaweb.globo.com/

gazetadealagoas/noticia.php?c=218862.

169


7

A NEW APPROACH TO

HUMAN HABITATS

IN CONTEXTS OF

SCARCITY

174


Returning to the example of the architect at the

beginning of the previous chapter, once the urgent

needs of the ‘client’ (resident) of the favela have been

understood, it is necessary to address how to implement

them. How can one integrate an enhancement

in living conditions, comfort and family well-being,

preserving and even improve the sources of income

generation of the resident? And foremost, how can

architecture address this issue where society itself

has failed? My answer is: through the restoration of

the social function of space in formal design.

To figure that out, it is particularly necessary to

assess the approach that is generally applied nowadays

in the ambit of requalification and resettlements

processes in most of the countries of ‘global

south’. And, more specifically, to understand why

the solutions that were attempted up until now are

mainly based on the absence of considering labour

(and social) practices in the design approach.

Until the industrial revolution, the concept of

home was still linked to working activities, which

often led to a mixed definition of space in the dwellings

of the city, as the philosopher Hannah Arendt

states in her book, ‘The Human Condition.’ 83 Actually,

work became inherent to the physical space of

dwellings from the early emergence of groups of

83 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (London: The University

of Chicago Press, 1958).

175


Labour Space

Domestic Space

Figure 51: Work and domestic space in a house: horizontal (left)

and vertical (right) possible spatial relationships.

(Source: Author, 2018)

conditions that the design must harmonize with the

possibility of improving the socio-economic status

of the resident, excluding every form of alienation

with a view to the final goal of assuring a permanent

improvement of the living conditions. Design

by professional architects must therefore master,

with scientific knowledge and technical rigor and

attention to detail, the design of space also in the

context of informal settlements, not merely `allowing’

unprivileged people to restore their social practices,

but rather enhancing, improving and fostering

them. According to development studies, fighting

the poverty of such workers primarily means giving

182


them the necessary means and conditions to foster

these microbusinesses, as defended by the economists

Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee. 96 Including

space for the learning and sharing of skills (Figure

52).

1.

Figure 52: (Shared) Laboratory of craftsmanship (top, left), library

and laboratory (top, right) and “The School of Favelas”,

prototype of a school of architecture planned for favela

do Telégrafo 97 (bottom). (Source: Author, 2018)

96 Banerjee and Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the

Way to Fight Global Poverty.

97 Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti, “Escola de Arquitetura Da Favela.

Ensinando e Aprendendo a Desenhar Cidades,” Vitruvius (São

Paulo, 2015), available from, http://www.vitruvius.com.br/

revistas/read/minhacidade/16.183/5764.

183


Manifesto of work as a housing right

The right to have a source of survival when

accessing the house.

The right to have work addressed and planned

within the design of the house.

The right to be close to the place of work and to

have a work infrastructure.

The right to have access to a transportation system

leading to the place of work.

The right to nurture work while health and

dignity are preserved by the house and facility

design.

The right to preserve domestic life, even if work

is intertwined in the space of the house.

The right for work to integrate the house in the

city and for it to contribute to its economy.

190


A radical revision of the concept of housing for

the poor involves the figure of the architect, whose

role and functions should be rethought as actual promoters

of spatial solutions to the problem of housing

that go beyond the adoption of simplistic approaches

to complex problems of fundamental rights, where

dignity is meant to be restored through a rethinking

of the social function of space. In a complex society

characterized by complex problems, architecture

must not be the only discipline involved in addressing

architectural solutions for the poor, instead it

should incorporate disciplines ranging from philosophy

to economics and sociology. Such urgent problems

for the near future of society call directly for the

reforming of the education system for architecture,

aspiring for the establishment of an approach based

on observation and interpretation of the actual experiences

of life in the city.

191

More magazines by this user