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The construction sites of self-help housing in contemporary São Paulo

Grant number: 19/07801-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2020
Effective date (End): May 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Urban and Regional Planning - Urban and Regional Services
Principal Investigator:Caio Santo Amore de Carvalho
Grantee:Gabriel Enrique Higo Mafra Cabral
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/13365-3 - CoPolis - social co-production of the city and citizen science: a comparative perspective on working class and precarious neighbourhoods in France and in Brazil, AP.TEM


Self-help housing has structured itself as a form of production, in the terms stated by Jaramillo (1982), which has been, historically, an accessible and affordable alternative for the low-income population living in Brazilian cities such as São Paulo, a national economic center. This form of production still plays an important role in the social production of urban space in São Paulo, but presents itself in a different historical context and in different manners than the ones studied by the authors who served as a starting point for this research. Related to this matter, we can mention: 1) the growing ocurrence of self-help construction in the form of verticalization, expansion and refurbishment, as a consequence of Federal Law 6766/79, which virtually stopped the launching of low-income allotments; 2) the shift from a context in which self-builders were employed in industry to one characterized by highly precarious occupations in the tertiary; 3) the growing presence of preassembled components in self-help housing that remove steps from their construction sites, which is in turn related with the existence of a strong link between self-builders and local building material shops.In this manner, we intend to contribute with the process of bringing this discussion up to date by analyzing the self-help housing construction sites in the slums of São Paulo, nowadays. In order to accomplish this, five specific goals were established: 1) to comprehend who are the actors involved in the self-help housing production; 2) to identify the activities carried out on the construction sites; 3) to analyze the role played by preassembled components in the self-help housing production; 4) to relate the self-help housing field of research with the discussion of labor, regarding forms of hiring and/or cooperation; and, finally, 5) to understand how self-builders deal with the coexistence between the construction site and dwelling in the cases in which self-help construction takes the form of expansion, verticalization or refurbishment.This research will be structured on two axes that will complement each other to provide a more complete comprehension of the subject. The first one is theoretical and consists on bibliographic research and secondary data analysis; most of these data have already been collected during my undergraduate thesis research, and will be refined and matched with further informations to be used as tools for identifying slums with intense self-help production, thus guiding the preliminary field studies (exploratory research). The second axis, which consists in the field research, will be defined by the choice of at least two slums with distinct features: one must be newer and marked by "pioneer self-help production", and the other one must be a consolidated settlement marked by densification. The field research will be conducted by semi-structured interviews and conversations, and by graphic representations of the construction sites as well (drawings, photographs, diagrams). (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
CABRAL, Gabriel Enrique Higo Mafra. Self-construction, forms and formworks: an approach to its building sites in São Paulo in the 2010s. 2022. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU/SBI) São Paulo.

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