Growing Informal Spaces in Brazil

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Student Research Reports, Summer 2018

Feirinha da Pavuna. (Photo by Priscila Cali Rocha.)
Feirinha da Pavuna. (Photo by Priscila Cali Rocha.)

Growing Informal Spaces in Brazil
By Priscila Coli Rocha

As a recipient of the Tinker Summer Research grant from the Center of Latin American studies, I went to São João de Meriti, a peripheral city in the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Region in Brazil. I observed the spaces created by the intersection between water, electricity, and transportation infrastructure and the process of peripheral urbanization. My hypothesis was that when infrastructure was implemented after the land was occupied, it generated leftover spaces that become places for communal use in this highly constructed area. Very frequently those are not recognized as official public spaces, consequently they embody often unruly social, cultural and economic relations. During this field trip I was able to identify a space/event that fulfill my research objectives, the Feirinha da Pavuna, which together with its surroundings enlightened some considerations about the profile of peripheries at this moment. In addition, I was able to make important connections that granted me with information that I wasn’t able to find in current and past literature. The municipality of São João de Meriti, the Metropolitan Chamber of Rio de Janeiro, the Integration Secretary of Rio de Janeiro and Baixada Fluminense, and the Movimento Pró-Saneamento shared with me their perception on the different aspects of social-economic and cultural dynamics in São João de Meriti. Thanks to this trip to Brazil I have a better understanding of what cases have the highest potential to be studied, and have access to the data relevant to my research.

Fruit vendors in the informal market. (Photo by Priscila Coli Rocha.)
Fruit vendors in the informal market. (Photo by Priscila Coli Rocha.)

A panorama of the market. (Photo by Priscila Coli Rocha.)
A panorama of the market. (Photo by Priscila Coli Rocha.)

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