Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state in north-eastern Brazil, is a metropolis with a population of 3.8 million. The downtown area has been abandoned by the middle class, and many neighbourhoods are deserted and unsafe at night. Over 40% of the population lives in poverty, with over 800,000 people living in favelas or squatting in vacant office buildings. Civil and government organisations are working to revitalise the inner city, but this is leading to gentrification and displacement of poorer residents. Recife is also vulnerable to climate change due to its former low-lying marshland.
This master's thesis research will explore with vulnerable groups and their civic organisations (including squatter movements) how to revitalise the inner city in a socially just way. For example, it will look at how vacant (government) buildings can be repurposed as (social) housing in safe, socially sustainable, healthy and climate-robust neighbourhoods where vulnerable groups such as the homeless and favela residents can be housed. It will also examine the legal and administrative aspects of the renewal and approach to vacancies in downtown Recife.