The Yuppification of The Favelas?
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  • The poor on the hills and rich in the valleys is not just a mystery in Rio. I have observed the same phenomenon in the Northeast of Brazil, in Recife as well as the interior cities of Garunhuns and Caruaru.

    My hypothesis is that, unlike LA, the Brazilian pattern was established before anyone, rich or poor, had automobiles. The views may be wonderful, but they are a lot more costly when you have to haul yourself up the hill.

    I also expect that other infrastructure issues have something to do with it. When I lived in Brazil fifteen years ago, water delivery was intermittent even for rich neighborhoods, and all but the poorest homes or apartments buildings had water storage tanks. I can only imagine this problem would be much worse if your house was high up a hill.

    I wonder if this will change as Brazil becomes more affluent? While standing in a favela looking down over the beautiful hills around the city Garanhuns, I asked a Brazilian companion about this mystery. We discussed the issues I have mentions, but he still seemed to see it as a cultural issue more than a logistical issue. The poor live on the hills. If you are rich, you can afford to live in the valley, so why would you want to live on the hills with poor?

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