Housing shortage is part of Brazilian reality already for many decades and it manifests itself strongly specially in the biggest Brazilian cities such as São Paulo. The impossibility of achieving dwellings in the city centers drives low-income population to live in slums. Housing movements began to emerge together with illegal settlements dissemination, demanding improvements in the periphery where was no urban infrastructure. In the 1970s, the housing movements started to oppose to mass-housing construction carried out by the government and drew their own alternative of popular housing: self-help construction financed from local government’s budgets and administered by the community of future users. The model was inspired by Uruguayan housing cooperatives which had accomplished better and cheaper construction than official housing programs. The goal was not only to achieve housing but also form a strong and organized local communities able to fight for their rights. Through various difficulties and challenges, self-managed housing construction represents not only solution of housing for the urban poor but also critical approach to the question of production of urban space and architecture under capitalism.

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