The emerging paradigm of Porto Alegre’s ‘condominio fechado’: beyond the wealthy enclave

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


The paper discusses the case of Porto Alegre as a paradigm of a paradoxically divided city due to security issues, where everyday practices, the production and reproduction of specific built patterns by urban elites have a direct impact on the spatial and socio-political landscape of the city.
Taking from the results of the EU funded research “Reducing Boundaries” (2014-2017) the paper contributes to the understanding of the role of the emerging ‘culture of fear’ as a fundamental contemporary societal paradigm (Beck 1992, Bauman 2003, Low 2004, Goldstein 2010) that is leading to worldwide new forms of spatial segregation and exclusion through architecture and urban planning. Focusing especially on the behaviours, lifestyles, discourses and the spatial organisation of the upper class of Porto Alegre, driven by real or perceived urban insecurity, the research casts light on their impact on the built form, the urban socio-spatial organisation and the pluralism of social life.
Analysing a number of specific typological case studies via an interdisciplinary investigation (anthropology, urbanism, photography) beyond the common boundaries of “condominios fechados” (enclaves) we could unfold the material expressions of the “fight against insecurity” incorporated in architecture (armed guards, walls and fences, gates, cameras) as well as the emotional geography of fear and the symbolic dimension that lead to certain behaviours.
At the same time, studying the mechanisms that result in the construction of exclusive real estate projects, their living conditions and standards, defensive systems and processes of formal-informal occupation and control of public spaces, help in grasping the tension between neoliberal forces and local resistances. Moreover, focusing on social processes and movements of the enclave’s inhabitants, we could question those “territorial forms” as often crystallised in literature (i.e. Caldeira) and common imaginary, discussing emerging urbanisms that suggest other forms of socialisation, city use and spatial production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRC21 Delhi 2019 conference proceedings
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Jan 2019


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