Jose de Filippi Jr. is the former mayor of Diadema (396,000 inhabitants), where he was elected for three terms (1993- 1996, 2001-2004 and 2005-2008). Currently, he is working with affordable housing projects in the private sector. Jose is interested in how to improve safety in large metropolitan areas, especially cities where poverty, inequality and urban segregation abound.
In his last 8 years of office, Jose was successful in mobilizing the City Hall of Diadema to get involved with safety public actions. He states that, safety in Brazil is seen mostly as a State Government issue, however, the problem is so complex, and urban violence itself represents such a growing concern to society, that other authorities must look for a more effective response. He took this more collective approach while mayor of Diadema. In1999 and 2000, Diadema was the most violent city in Brazil with 110 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants. In 2008 this figure was 20.6 homicides per 100,000, a decrease of 81%. The local actions were decisive: urbanization of the favelas, integrated police work, participatory governance, alcohol control and enforcement, policies focused on teenagers, gun control, campaigns against toy guns, urban development and strong investments on social policies - mainly health, education and social inclusion.
As a Loeb Fellow, Jose used his time and the resources of Harvard in multiple ways. He interacted with people from the GSD, the Loeb Fellows, researchers and faculty members from Harvard, and used his Fellowship year to reflect upon his previous accomplishments. He felt he would be more prepared, as a policymaker, to contribute to a multitude of cities to bring about a necessary reduction in violence.