For the 'Squatter Settlement' worksheet - click here.
Squatter settlements - areas of cities (usually on the outskirts) that are built by people using any materials they can find on land that does not belong to them. Such settlements have different names is different parts of the world e.g. favela in Brazil and are often known as shanty towns.
Informal sector - that part of the economy where jobs are created by people to try to get an income (e.g. taking in washing, mending bicycles) and which are not recognised in official figures.
Fact Sheet: Squatter Settlements in Rio de Janeiro - click here.
Self-help - sometimes known as assisted self-help (ASH), this is where local authorities help the squatter settlement residents to improve their homes by offering finance in the form of loans or grants and often installing water, sanitation etc.
Site and service - occur where land is divided into individual plots and water, sanitation, electricity and basic track layout are supplied before any building by residents begins.
Living in Squatter Settlements
No preparation for the building of these areas is done, so the houses are not provided with basic infrastructure such as sanitation, piped water, electricity and road access. Some of the photos above provide a very clear impression of the conditions in the favela. The houses are made of any materials available nearby - corrugated iron, pieces of board - haphazardly assembled to provide a basic shelter. There is a simple layout that may have a living area separate from a sleeping area. Parents and large families inhabit a small shack in an areas that is very overcrowded. There are no toilets, water must be collected from a nearby source - often at a cost - and carried back. Rubbish is not collected and the area quickly degenerates into a place of filth and disease.
The inhabitants tend to create poorly paid jobs where the income is unreliable or they work in the less well-paid part of the formal sector. Quality of life is poor; the housing and environment are largely responsible for this. So too is the economic circumstances in which the residents find themselves, as a lack of money makes improvement difficult. Crime is a problem, children often do not go to school, the family lives on top of each other, there is no privacy, disease is rife and life is one of trying to survive from one day to the next.