SQUATTING IN RIO: RECLAIMING RIGHTS TO THE CITY The right for housing is among one of the fundamental human rights in the Brazilian Constitution. However, finding affordable and decent housing in Rio turned into a struggle for many. Re-urbanization projects in Rio de Janeiro’s city center have drastically changed the city in the past decade. The poor are excluded more and more from the city center and many had to move out. They must give way to malls and apartment blocks for the well to do and rich. The poor are even pushed out of the centrally located favela’s as rents have gone up incredibly in the past decades, a.o. a consequence of hosting the World Cup Football in 2014 and the Olympics of 2016.
However, not everybody is scared away that easy. Some people have undertaken different initiatives to reclaim their rights to the city. Occupying abandoned houses and buildings is one way of the poor to execute their right for housing. In particular old 19th century houses, hotels and deteriorated warehouses are squatted. Occupations might be done as private initiatives, or in organized forms by social movements. These organizations try to pressure the government to build social housing apartments in these abandoned places in the ‘ Minha Casa, Minha Vida ’ (My House, My Life) programme. This federal governmental programme finances the construction of apartment blocks administered by social movements. This story focuses on these movements and their fight for housing in Rio's city centre.