Federation for
Housing and

Brazilian Co-operative Housing Upgrading LAB

Friday 23.10.2015
Porto Alegre, Brazil

Applied Research LAB on Co-operative Housing Development for Affordable Quality Habitat and Community Development


The outcomes of the Lab are now available:  

Download English version

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Almost 40 per cent of families in Latin America live in a house beyond repair, have no title, or lack water, sewerage, electricity, adequate building materials, or space. It is estimated that by 2015, that number will increase by 10 per cent, and further and further in the coming decades.  
It goes without saying that the massive lack of adequate housing for low-income population in Latin America is under great pressure as a consequence of relentless - lately accelerated - urban growth with all controversies that this entails at both global and local scale. 
In the meantime successful experiments, projects and programmes are set up and put into effect across all Latin America, providing quality life environment and increased agencies development for low-income people. Drawing from this, extensive knowledge - both theoretical and practical - is deployed and shared, yet implementation is still facing complex hinders in up-scaling from “best practice” to “common practice”. 
In Latin America, there are several experiences with co-operative self-organised housing production. As an example, the most fruitful and well-known example is the Uruguayan FUCVAM programme, which started in 1966. In many other Latin American countries, cooperative housing projects are implemented, amongst them Brazil. 
At the same time there are many examples of slum upgrading interventions. However, we observe that slum-upgrading happens mainly on the initiatives of municipalities, in some cities more strongly than in others. Furthermore, regularization processes show sluggishness, due to different causes, such as burdensome bureaucracy, political lacunae, and complexity of the task. 
There is a great urgency for an up-scaling of slum upgrading and regularization projects. 
Upgrading involves urban infrastructure and public space as well as particular housing. There is need for an integral approach, although it doesn’t need much explanation that there is a tangible rational for starting with the overall urban structure, to which the particular houses should be adapted. Furthermore, urban qualification and regularizing of land titles are strongly depending on each other, and following on that, official land titles can facilitate the households to obtain financial support for housing upgrading. 

The LAB 

IFHP, together with the Latin American Field Office, FAU-PUCRS and the Spontaneous City’s Working Group, is engaged in a three phase programme that will focus on co-operative housing upgrading development for affordable quality habitat and community development. 
The first phase is the Brazilian Co-operative housing upgrading LAB, a multi-stakeholder one day panel that wants to challenge the assumption that co-operatives are valuable for the process of upgrading and regularization of informal settlements encouraging a proactive knowledge exchange and debate among the various actors engaged in ensuring the Brazilian’s future housing. The LAB wants to be a proactive contribution to the on-going progress of what is called “social production of habitat”, within the context of actual housing policies and legal frameworks in Brazil. 

The objectives of the LAB 

The one day panel session aims to understand:
- IF and HOW cooperatives can be an instrument to upgrade informal areas 
- Who are the relevant stakeholders?
- What are the experiences with cooperatives up to now in Brazil, in South America?
- What are the constraints?
- Are the instruments well organized ? What is missing? What are the weak points?
- What are the steps to be taken?
The lab will investigate how the process of upgrading by cooperative is organized by case studies in Porto Alegre



Check out the profiles of the panelists 

Background material



What is next

Following the Lab, the second phase of the project will be the application of test-case projects in three different cities in Brazil in order to prepare and streamline processes of ‘co-operative favela upgrading’. Cases will be announced later this year
The third step will be entirely dedicated to knowledge sharing and debate of the results within the partners’ network and other platforms of discussion. Besides, the FAU-PUCRS CHIS Housing conference that will be held in Porto Alegre in April 2016 and the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 – 20 October, 2016, will represent the milestones for showcase the obtained knowledge and address more stakeholders on the outcomes of this initiative. 
The programme is a work-in-process and open to receive contributions and contributors to enrich and support the realization of the coming phases. Strengthen and widespread awareness about new possible models to sustain co-operative housing upgrading in Brazil, and enable improvements for existing housing neighbourhoods, is the main goal of this programme.


Willing to contribute to the programme?

If you want to share your own experiences, learn from experience elsewhere and/or want to sponsor the lab, please get it touch with us.

For more info: IFHP Project Manager Viviana Rubbo