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Collaborative services in informal settlements. A social innovation case in a pacified favela in Rio de Janeiro

Author: Carla Cipolla, Patricia Melo, and Ezio Manzini
Published Date: 16 December 2013

This Social Frontier paper was originally published by Nesta.

Informal settlements are complex social ecosystems, characterized by their lack of basic services and by their particular social ties. Nowadays, several informal settlements are undergoing aphase of rapid change and new organizations and relationships are appearing.

The Social Frontier paper discusses these transformations considering, in particular, if and how new services are emerging. This discussion is proposed on the basis of one case in a pacified favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro. Pacifica-tion is current Rio de Janeiro government strategy to occupy the favelas formerly controlled by the drug dealers. The case “Light Recicla” in Favela Santa Marta, is a service operated by the energycompany of Rio de Janeiro which seeks to reduce the electricity bill of the residents by exchanging recyclable materials for energy credits, helping them to adjust to the new reality brought bypacification.

Based on this case study, the paper discusses the possibility of building a new type of service based on vertical, experiential interactions that, in turn, enable a number of horizontal, self-organized (often relational) ones. Such services are here defined as hybrid collaborative services and it is argued that their effectiveness is based on socio-cultural qualities such as openness, transparency, dignity and collaboration.

Read in full: Collaborative services in informal settlements. A social innovation case in pacified favela in Rio de Janeiro