15,000 families will get titles to their homes in Rocinha and Vidigal under a new plan announced by the Brazilian government, O Globo reports (in Portuguese.)
Raquel Rolnik, of the Ministry of Cities, reports that a legal survey is already in the works for 1,800 families in Parque Royal, and that all-told, 22,000 families in Rio's favelas will get legal titles. After the city does an official survey, people in the community will have the right, collectively or individually, to file for usucapiao -- usucapio in English -- which essentially converts possession into the legal title to property.
A related article notes the difficulties involved in putting usucapiao to work. These can include problems describing the urban fabric (for instance when someone has built their house on the roof of a friend's house) and legal difficulties involving the various claimants and heirs of disputed pieces of property. And another sidebar discusses the delays in providing titles to Ladeira dos Funcionarios, a small favela in the northern Rio neighborhood of Caju. This favela has long been organized and urbanized. I visited Ladeira dos Funcionarios in 1999 and found it to be a well-organized community. The residents assocation had already passed a height limit on newly constructed buildings and was seriously considering a moratorium on all new construction to prevent overdevelopment. Yet, despite strong organizing efforts, it has been almost three years since they were promised title deeds and fewer than 1/4 of the residents have actually received them. (note: you may be required to register for globo's site to read these articles.)
Thanks to Alex for writing me about this. Memo to Alex and all who speaks Portuguese better than I do: feel free to correct any mistakes I have made or to translate more of the details from these articles. And Rocinha residents: do you know anything about this? Keep us up to date!