On agency, organisation and resources
Since its founding in 1930, the informal Chié neighbourhood (Recife, Brazil) has been confronted with various issues: spatial, social, political, economic and legal. Government support for informal neighbourhoods in Brazil is often limited or absent. This neighbourhood therefore primarily depends on initiatives of local agency to bring about change.
This master thesis studies the potential agency and resources for community- based renewal in the informal neighbourhood Chié, using the following research questions: Which problems should spatial renewal tackle in Chié? To what extend is local agency possible and important? How can the Chié neighbourhood organise community-based renewal, and what resources can be used?
To answer these questions, a literature study was performed, to gain information about informal neighbourhoods and community-based renewal. Also, observations and interviews were carried out in the Chié neighbourhood, investigating the present neighbourhood problems, agency and resources. These results are used to make proposals for future community-based renewal in the neighbourhood.
From the research and interviews it is clear that the Chié neighbourhood struggles with problems that characterise most informal neighbourhoods. These are problems concerning infrastructure and public services, overcrowding and public space, housing quality and tenure security, education, medical services and employment. The quality of life in the neighbourhood is under pressure, mainly due to the population increase resulting in the densification of the neighbourhood.
In the past, improvements have been realised in the Chié neighbourhood. For example, the implementation of infrastructure and laws that make land regularization possible in the neighbourhood. These improvements were mostly initiated by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, with or without support from the
government and NGO’s. This means that today the neighbourhood itself has a certain decisiveness and can appeal to its own agency and resources to initiate neighbourhood renewal.
However, this local decisiveness is limited. The agency present in the neighbourhood doesn’t have sufficient knowledge and resources to organize far- reaching change. Also, the organization and cooperation between the present agency is limited.
Therefore, a proposal is made to strengthen and expand the decisiveness of this local agency. This is preferably done through partnerships between the local population, the government, professionals and NGO’s. In this way, maximum effort is made to realize innovation that benefits the neighbourhood. The knowledge of the inhabitants also increases, which strengthens their position in the future. If equal collaboration with the government is impossible, self-management can be an alternative to start community-based neighbourhood renewal.
Proposals are also made to expand the resources of the neighbourhood through community savings and Community Development Funds. These proposals start from community-based funds, which can be expanded by establishing partnerships between local partners, NGO’s and the government.