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Occupying the city: housing crisis and popular movements in São Paulo

Abstract

Informal occupations of land and buildings are a significant challenge as well as a significant opportunity for cities of the global south. For many cities, difficulties in providing adequate housing and infrastructure in the context of intense poverty and inequality continue to shape citizen's living conditions and opportunities in profound ways. The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly intensified housing inequalities and struggles around the world, but especially for low-income families. As a structural housing crisis continues to increase globally, with roots that undoubtedly precede the current pandemic, increased criminalisation and policing are rendering occupations more precarious. Our research considers how occupations can be recognised not as threats to existing city life, but rather as integral features of urban landscapes. Co-producing solutions and transforming occupations into sustainable housing solutions are the key goals of our project, ones that are developed in collaboration with occupiers, housing movement activists, and city officials. Bringing together a transnational interesting in housing policy, popular occupation, and the co-production of knowledge, we are requesting funding to further collaborations between researchers at the University of Manchester and the Federal University of the ABC Region in São Paulo. This funding will allow for a series of collaborative visits and workshops, culminating in a research grant application. (AU)

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