The Inclusive Cities Observatory: Belo Horizonte implements a programme to upgrade the Sierra favela

Belo Horizonte



The Inclusive Cities Observatory is a space for analysis and reflection on local social inclusion policies managed by the Committee on Social Inclusion of UCLG. Among these case studies, the Committee presents a study based on a social policy to upgrade the Sierra favela of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 


Case study

The main objective of the Villa Vivaí social policy in Belo Horizonte is to foster Social inclusion and to improve the quality of life of the families living in critical social and environmental areas in the Aglomerado (favela) da Serra. More than 50,000 people live in this area of 150 hectares. Much of the population lives in areas of high risk and suffers from many problems.

The programme which began in January 2005 includes various activities:

  • Drainage,
  • Rehousing of families in high risk areas,
  • Restructuring of the road network,
  • Provision of parks and facilities for sport and leisure, and construction of housing units

This situation led to the production of Specific Global Plans (SGPs), which are urban development tools involving intensive participation by the community in all phases of their implementation. The programme covers approximately 45,000 people, or around 13,000 families living in the settlements of Aglomerado (favela) da Serra.

Organiser: The city's Urban Development Company (URBEL) is the general coordinator of the Villa Viva Programme. Other participating bodies include various departments of Belo Horizonte City Council, as well as cooperation received from the Federal Government's social policies.

Financing: In 2006 the programme received a total investment of R$ 3,108,696.52 from Belo Horizonte City Council. The subsequent expansion of the Programme also used resources from the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) and the Federal Economic Fund.

Assessment: This social policy has resulted in a fall in the number of homes in the area at risk, improved access to public services, and improved living conditions. The main obstacles encountered were difficulties in formulating intersectorial policies, the high number of families resettled and shortcomings in the road network. In cities where this type of social inclusion policy is to be implemented, the Villa Viva programme recommends carrying out integrated and multi-sector measures and encouraging the community's active participation.

For more information, please consult the full case study: See the whole case study

For more information: Inclusive Cities Observatory