Win back the city

Win back the city

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How squatting movements can trigger urban change

Due to the clash of the capitalist system with collective interests such as affordable housing, Brazil today has a high housing shortage and at the same time a high level of vacancy in the historical centres of major cities. This produces an inequality within cities that underpins the emergence of squatter movements; collectives of citizens who take the right to housing into their own hands under the ideology of Right to the City. In Recife, a large city in the northeast of the country, these processes converge in historic urban district Santo Antônio, where empty buildings and homelessness define the streetscape. Organised squatting has only existed here for a relatively short time and movements are still searching for the right way to articulate their charges against the system.

Urban policies in Recife aim to attract private investors in order to attract a new middle class to the rundown city centre, with the result that gentrification displaces the informally living populations from these well-located parts of the city. Based on recent studies on the impact of this type of squatter movement, this thesis examines how squatter activities can lead to urban regeneration without displacing this original group of urban dwellers. Based on a spatial analysis of existing 'germs of revival', an inventory of the needs of this marginalised group and a study of possible ways to initiate major changes with small interventions in space, it works towards suggestions for both policymakers and the squatters themselves.

  • Authors:
    • Mika Krouwel

    • Marleen Goethals (Promotor)
    • Thomas Vanoutrive (Promotor)
    • Múcio Jucá (Promotor)
    • Lula Marcondes (Promotor)
  • Period:
    • 2022 — 2023  

    • Urbanism & Spatial Planning

    • Master thesis

    • UNICAP