Case study: São Paulo, Brazil

The location of shanty town areas

Photograph of High rise buildings in central São Paulo and a favela in São Paulo

A favela in central São Paulo

São Paulo is a city in south east Brazil.

An estimated 20 million people live there and over 15% of these people live in informal shanty towns or favelas.

As migrants move into the city from rural areas they will move first to the informal favela areas where they build shelter and makeshift homes for themselves.

Most of these favelas are located on wasteland, marshy land, or land that is likely to flood.

They can also be found on very steep slope where it would be impossible to build any other sort of building.

Favelas are often found on or near rubbish tips or along major transport links like railways and major roads.

In São Paulo, most of the major favelas are now located at the edge of the city.

One example is Heliopolis in the south west of the city or Paraispolis (Paradise City) to the south.