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This book shares the results of a decade of research aimed at finding housing solutions for underprivileged people. In Brazil, the architect Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti temporarily lived in favelas to better understand their spatial logic. This participative observation revealed that labor is the primary social practice shaping, designing, and governing the spaces of these informal settlements. The study shows that, for people struggling with their physical survival, labor is a priority which outweighs the aesthetic, comfort, and hygiene standards that current architectural practices are chiefly concerned with. Therefore, the right to housing must integrate the right to work, and labor must be considered a key social variable when designing housing solutions for informal settlement contexts. From theoretical discussions to examples of real architecture in the global south, this book presents both challenges and potential approaches to creating better housing for the residents of informal settlements.

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