Homework 6: A shanty town redevelopment: Dona Marta, Rio de Janeiro

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Dona Marta (or Santa Marta) a favela in Rio de Janiero, Brazil (see in Google Maps) is a great example of a squatter settlement that has been redeveloped.

Dona Marta was featured in the Michael Jackson video They Don’t Care About Us in 1996.

Since the video was filmed there have been many changes to the favela. A new kind of policing has “pacified” the community, leading to a reduction in violence and drug-related crime. The UPP strategy is described in this Class Clip.

Once the neighbourhood was safer, it could be improved through the Programa Favela Barrio. This article describes the policing policy and the subsequent physical improvements to the favela.

This is an improved version of the resource we used in the lesson, adapted from this web page.


The improvments have made a big difference to the lives of the inhabitants. Dona Marta has recently hosted an international mountain bike race. Another video of the race is here. Local people are developing favela tourism. The favela is no longer officlally classed as a slum by the Rio authorities. 

Make sure that you can…

1) Describe the location of Dona / Santa Marta

2) Describe conditions in the favela before 1996

3) Describe some of the improvments that happened through the UPP police scheme and the Programa Favela Barrio – a self help / local authority scheme

4) Explain how these improvements have led to a better quality of life for the residents.



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