From Cidade de Deus do Minha Casa Minha Vida:
The Anachronism of Informality Within Generic Layouts of Social Housing Programs

A closer look into Brazil’s infamous ‘neo-favela’ Cidade de Deus allows us to replace the abstract meta-narrative of informality with the specific story of a neighborhood that has grown outside regulated conditions and created its own urban rules and subjective dispositions linked to close community interactions. In this context, informality, as a case, emerges as a breeding bed for transformative micropolitical urbanism that encourages transformative subjectivations. Informality, seen as the potential to spark transformative micropolitical urbanism, offers the subjective freedom to surmount limitations imposed by normative regimes. Transformative strategies and alternatives are pursued collectively and can trigger fundamental urban, political, and economic changes once authentically developed by micropolitical agencies connected to the community. However, micro-scale transformations ultimately encounter great difficulties when they are confronted with necessary macropolitical mediations and integrations. The last decade in Brazilian urban history has been particularly revealing in this regard. Transformative macro- and micropolitical mediations met with radical normative macro- and micropolitical manifestations that appropriated spatial policies to violently control transformative subjectivities. Through armed militarization of Brazilian favelas and the new federal social housing policy Minha Casa Minha Vida, disciplinary control and serialization schemes of minimum housing standards are massively reintroduced into the urban realities of the entire country. The accelerated informalization tendencies in the monofunctional ready-made MCMV settlements contribute to the anachronism of informality within generic layouts of social housing programs. Learning from the MCMV ‘Cidade de Deus Dejá-vue’ increasingly becomes the current micropolitical challenge of the Brazilian 21st-century urban landscapes.

Type: Exhibition Contribution, Brazilian Pavillion
Location:  Venice Biennale 2018, Italy
Year: 2018

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Patricia L Ventura