Case Study Source: The Joint U.S.-Brazil Initiative on Urban Sustainability, part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


As in many large cities in the developing world, a large portion of the population of Rio de Janeiro lives in informal settlements or slums, called favelas. Municipal services, including infrastructure, education, and health, have not traditionally reached these favelas, as they have not traditionally been zoned as official parts of the City. However, the Morar Carioca Program, also called the Municipal Plan for the Integration of Informal Settlements, aims to provide integrated development and services through the Municipal Secretary of Housing (SMH) to incorporate these areas into the more formal communities that they generally border. Through holistic urban planning, re-zoning, infrastructure upgrading, housing improvements, regularization of land tenure, City services extensions, and concentrated monitoring, this priority of the Rio de Janeiro city government aims to formalize all of the City's favelas by 2020, improving living conditions for up to 320,000 households. The Morar Carioca Program is part of the initiative called Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life-Urbanization of Slums) and falls under the Federal Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), which invested R$ 27.2 billion (USD 13.5 billion) in 3,760 projects between 2007 and 2011.


The City established eligibility criteria and a list of priority factors to help sequence Morar Carioca interventions, and is already working in more than 50 communities. Using census-based classifications to determine the size, geography, security, and socio-economic characteristics of each favela, SMH is working with civil society and research organizations to undertake different interventions in communities based on both size and risk factors. In the first phases of the program, communities nearest to Olympic and World Cup sites and transportation routes will benefit from planned interventions in sanitation, transportation, health, education, and housing as appropriate. SMH incorporates community feedback throughout Morar Carioca, including requiring its contracted architects/planners to undertake social evaluations before the projects and conduct regular stakeholder consultations. The program also includes engagement with communities outside the favelas to promote integration across the City.


Morar Carioca has been working in several communities to improve housing, infrastructure, and quality of life, including:

  • Babilonia/Chapeau Mangueira
  • Colonia Juliano Moreira
  • Complexo Alemão Praça do Conheicamento
  • Providencia

Contact Information

Bruno Neele
International Relations, City of Rio de Janeiro