ABSTRACT

In Morro do Urubu favela in Rio de Janeiro, Gloria is leading a community meeting about engaging youth to map the neighbourhood in order to document both assets and dangers in this favela in the northern part of the city A section of the favela was washed away in torrential rains in April 2010 and the land was condemned by the city as unsafe for reconstruction. The young people had ideas for how the new ‘open space’ might be used and what else in the community had been damaged by the rains and needed repair. But, dominating the meeting was the roar of a motorcycle racing up and down the street outside the Posto de Saú de, or community health centre, where we are meeting. Gloria tried to bring us back to the core issues:

Look, the city came in here and people were forced to leave their homes. They said our health was at risk from slides and disease. But the broken sewers, garbage and washed-out stairs remain. These are the risks I face everyday. The city officials don't look like us and we must set the agenda for improving our own community.