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Title:Greenwashing? The global rise of sustainability and forced housing displacement in Fortaleza, Brazil
Author(s):Contractor, Annie B
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):forceful housing displacement
informal housing
urban renewal
Abstract:Fortaleza is a lesser-known city of Latin America with over 3.5 million inhabitants, over one-third of whom reside in substandard housing. The city is currently undertaking transportation development projects that are driven by a broader discourse of sustainability, however the outcomes from these projects resemble those associated with urban renewal including slum clearance and public investment for private gain. This study analyzes whether transit projects rooted in sustainability are meeting the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, with a focus on equitable impacts to both formal and informal settlements. Specifically, this thesis seeks to uncover why infrastructure investments justified as increasing the capacity for sustainability continue to result in the systematic displacement of low-income informal households. To examine the relationships between sustainable infrastructure investments and outcomes including forced displacement, a mixed-methods approach combining a spatial analysis to verify disproportionate impact and interview and document analyses are employed to reveal unique displacement threats. Findings suggest that these projects are causing disproportionate, negative impact on the urban poor of Fortaleza, and that the experiences of individuals who face that negative impact via threats of displacement manifest in patterns which can be corroborated by documentation. Further, findings suggest that these projects are justified and continued under the justification of sustainability, but social sustainability bias, a crucial pillar to broader sustainability, is missing from the picture. This is important for urban planners and policy makers, more generally, as the systemic biases against the urban poor and marginalized groups within the urban poor are not only being perpetuated, but are being further rationalized by a cooptation of an otherwise promising concept: sustainability.
Issue Date:2015-04-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Annie Contractor
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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