How do you Redesign a Ghetto?

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To redesign a ghetto or slum, you don’t need to build beautiful buildings. – Marcelo Rosenbaum

Favelas, or slums, are home to hundreds of thousands of people in Brazil. Many houses in these ghettos are just arrangements of plywood and scrap metal. Quite often, little or no health care, sewage system, or education exist in these favelas. Not that long ago, crime was so bad in these slums that outsiders wouldn’t have been able to come into these ghettos.

For one favela – Parque Santo Antonio, this began to change when designer Marcelo Rosenbaum offered to paint the houses in this community. Many residents couldn’t believe that someone from outside the favela (Rosenbaum is a very well known Designer and is host of Lar Doce Lar – Brazil’s version of Extreme Makeover) would come and do something for them.

Now in Parque Santo Antonio, you can see brightly painted purple, pink, sunshine yellow houses. More importantly, neighbors now talk to each other. You don’t even see as much garbage in the street anymore. There is a more sense of community now, and it all started with the idea of painting a few houses. In addition, after the painting project, the neighborhood’s first library was built there and locals have embraced it as a community center.

Simple, effective, and easy to execute, bravo to Rosenbaum’s idea on how to transform change and not just structural change, but social change.

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