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Self-construction, forms and formworks: an approach to its building sites in São Paulo in the 2010s

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Gabriel Enrique Higo Mafra Cabral
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU/SBI)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Caio Santo Amore de Carvalho; Edgar Samuel Jaramillo González; Lúcia Zanin Shimbo
Advisor: Caio Santo Amore de Carvalho

This research aims to update the discussion on self-built housing, focusing on the study of the phenomenon in popular settlements in the metropolis of São Paulo in the 2010s. Self-building is understood as a productive process which results in housing, with characteristics that we seek to better understand: the logics of its building sites, the arrangement of its agents and the relations between them, the construction techniques, the organization of labour, its social and economic insertion. Bibliographic and empirical research are used, using methods such as interviews with agents involved in self-construction. Firstly, we discuss the researches held in Brazil from the late 1960s onwards, in a context of industrial and urban expansion two processes that explain and are explained by the self-building of housing. The formulations of another strand of debate are also explored, which understands self-construction as an part of the process of introduction of capitalist relations in the construction chain and, also, of the production of the constructed space, defining it as a form of housing production. Since then, the Brazilian context has changed: one can speak of a decrease in land subdivision for the low income-strata and an increase in the number of squatter settlements and slums, loss of explanatory force for urban growth by the center- periphery model, as well as the intensification of the deregulation process of work relations. That said, we understand that self-construction, as a historically determined form of housing production, must be contextualized. Furthermore, it is understood that, in addition to the categories that define it as a form of housing production, self-construction should be understood as part of the universe of non-regulated housing production, constituted by the production processes that occur without state regulation of the urbanistic scope, as well as of the labor relations implied. The results of the interviews are exposed according to four spheres of analysis, which are related to activities and moments in the production process. They are: [1] Origination of Production and Initial Planning; [2] Supply of Materials; [3] Execution; and [4] Provision of Financial Resources. It is noticed that self-construction is a form of housing production with many porosities, which implies in a high level of entanglement of the spheres of analysis used for its understanding. There are also important overlaps with other forms of housing production such as production for the market, blurring the boundaries between the forms that can, nevertheless, generally be differentiated. Self-construction can be based on both unpaid domestic work and informally paid work, and it is understood that the concept of viração structures this form of production, with the precariousness of work and socioeconomic conditions being a common characteristic of several agents, such as residents and self-employed builders. Finally, there are relevant changes in the technical composition of self-construction due to the dissemination of ready-made components in the retail stores (such as doors, window frames and pre-assembled reinforcement), and also to the introduction of new agents and techniques, such as pumped concrete, which increases the productivity of these construction sites. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 19/07801-5 - The construction sites of self-help housing in contemporary São Paulo
Grantee:Gabriel Enrique Higo Mafra Cabral
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master