Rebel Architecture: The Pedreiro and The Master Planner

Rocinha is Rio de Janeiro’s largest and oldest slum, located on a steep mountain overlooking the city.

RIO DE JANEIRO – The documentary series Rebel Architecture on Al-Jazeera English concludes tonight with a final episode focusing on the issues facing Rio de Janeiro’s largest and oldest favela, Rocinha.

The episode is centred on two men: Ricardo de Olivera, a self-taught builder (pedreiro) who learnt the trade at age 12 and has realised over 150 buildings in the favela, and Luis Carlos Toledo, a well-meaning, veteran urban planner. The film follows them as they try to come up with different ways to improve the quality of the built environment and urban infrastructure which is still scarce in Rocinha.

The problems faced by the inhabitants are not just those of poor sanitation: gangs and drug lords still control large parts of the neighbourhood and efforts by the police to ‘pacify’ the situation have resulted in a number of casualties from innocent bystanders in recent years. In addition, plans for civic infrastructure put in place by Toledo had been replaced by the municipality in favour of iconic projects such as a cable car, causing further mistrust between the inhabitants and the authorities.

Rebel Architecture: The Pedreiro and The Master Planner airs today at 22:30 GMT on Al Jazeera English and can be watched online via the Al-Jazeera website.

Photos courtesy of Al-Jazeera.

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