Rental housing was historically a minimal feature of urban informality. Now it is surging amid municipal attempts to “upgrade” informal settlements in São Paulo, Brazil. Drawing upon a mixed-methodological study of two favelas on São Paulo’s east side, we analyze how cycles of upgrading shape informal rental housing at the urban, community, block, and parcel levels, providing detailed comparative data for 2010–2020. Our findings suggest that rental housing redevelopment can increase precarity in urban living, but is an important source of low-income housing in already built-up and “consolidated” settlements where access is declining. Our study emphasizes the need for scholars, policy makers, and planners to further explore the praxis of informal renting and rental housing, which can be effective conduits for channeling public investments across consolidated informal settlements and into individual dwellings.
- human settlements
- urban policy, self-help