Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014


Brazil -- Social conditions -- 21st century, Slums -- Brazil -- Dwellings, Poor -- Brazil, Squatter settlements -- Brazil, Tourism -- Social aspects -- Brazil


While Brazil is growing rapidly, increased attention is being paid to its many lowerincome “marginal” neighborhoods, called favelas, found near and within many major Brazilian cities. Three such favelas have been visually transformed by a Dutch design firm’s Favela Painting project, which consists of enormous murals painted on the walls of favela housing. The project was developed by two designers, Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn or Haas&Hahn, after they first visited a Brazilian favela to film a music video. Their original intent had little to do with any negative conditions of favelas – they simply wanted authorization for a painting on the both cramped and what they found to be uniquely functional buildings on very steep hillsides. After some time, they began seeing their project as a convenient way to address some of the poverty and crime (especially as the result of the drug trade) in favelas. They believed that Favela Painting would create a tourism industry in each favela that would lead to economic and social improvement, though in its current state, Favela Painting cannot be effective.

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