Case study: Urban area in an LEDC: Rio de Janeiro

  • Created by: Claire
  • Created on: 18-04-10 14:33

Rio is situated around the huge Guanabara Bay in Brazil. It is not longer the capital of Brazil; it is still one of the world’s largest cities. In 2002, 6 million people lived in the main urban area and 10 million in the metropolitan region.

There are two sides to Rio; there are the beaches of Copacabana with luxury housing and the poor side with bad housing and pollution, etc.

Problems in Rio:

Housing: There are about half a million homeless people living on the streets. There are over 1 million people living in favelas and 1 million living in periferia, poor-quality housing from the local authority.

Favelas are informal settlements like shanty-towns. There are over 600 favelas; the largest ones are ‘Morro de Alemao’ and ‘Roçinha’, which each have over 100, 000 people living in them.

Favelas: Favelas are residential areas with 60 or more families living in accommodation that lacks basic services (no running water, no sewage system and no electricity) and the people living there have no legal right to the land they live on. Favelas are made out of any available materials; usually wood, corrugated iron, broken bricks and tiles. Most are built on hillsides too steep for normal houses. Favoured to be built at the bottom of a slope near to main roads and a water supply, and sewage in open drains from houses at the top of the hill usually runs down to here.

The people living on the hill have to carry water etc to their houses. Rain can causes flash floods and mudslides on the hills, which wipe out the flimsy houses. Storms in 1988 caused 200 deaths.

The government tries to clear the favelas at times but the evicted people return as they have nowhere else to live. They tried to build new housing, called ‘conjuntos habitacionais’ for them, but they weren’t much better. The local authority now accepts favelas but is working with residents associations to try and improve the conditions. However, in the favelas community spirit is high, there is a rich street life, football matches and samba music.

Crime: This is one of Rio’s main problems. Favelas seem to be


Caitlin Ward


Wow! This is an amazing resource for using exact numbers and details in case study questions!!