Jake Cummings (MUP ’12) spent his 2011 summer working with Catalytic Communities, a non-profit NGO in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Catalytic Communities is dedicated to de-stigmatizing Rio’s informal (“favela”) communities and integrating them into the wider society, generating global recognition of their heritage capital and legitimacy. Advocating for favelas is particularly important as Rio kicks off its redevelopment plans in preparation for the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics it will be hosting in the coming years.
Jake’s role was to research, via site visits and other primary sources, the redevelopment issues faced by particular communities or urban policies directed at favelas citywide, and publish his findings on the community reporting platform RioOnWatch.org. For example, he reported on how one highly functioning settlement near a planned Olympic Park mega-project was negotiating with the municipal government over the eviction of part of the community to make way for a BRT corridor. He also published a critical assessment of Morar Carioca, Rio’s newly created favela urbanization program.