“Together changing the face of Formiga”
Urban Citizenship Labs in Morro da Formiga, Rio de Janeiro
The goal of an integrated Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is currently within grasping reach of becoming a fully integrated city. The current police pacification programme and accompanied social investment have made unprecedented advances towards the possibility of truly integrating the city Rio de Janeiro. However, for these gains to be lasting, they must be held together by a ‘social cement’ of active citizenship, especially in the city’s critical areas.
The importance of Citizenship in Critical Areas
The legacy of ‘negative citizenship’ in critical areas must be reversed, overcoming the lack of social cohesion and apathy of citizens is a huge challenge. Nevertheless the active participation of citizens is key, and must be focused on with due care. The impetus for change must come from within communities — through the empowerment of residents of pacified favelas and systematic approaches in which residents become active and responsible actors for change.
The ‘Unique Social Technology’ of Urban Citizenship Labs
The unique social technology of ICOS rebuilds the required active citizenship and participation in critical areas. ICOS’ ‘Urban Citizenship Labs’ empower communities to generate systematic responses to their key challenges. Through Labs residents discover active participation and become agents of lasting and positive change.
Engendering active citizenship by addressing social disorganisation
Urban Labs enable active citizenship by focusing on building community actions to improve the public spaces, thus reversing social disorganisation and building social cohesion. This area has proven to offer maximum leverage for causing profound changes in levels of mobilisation for active citizenship in communities.
ICOS Cidadania is a Brazilian NGO which works to achieve active citizenship and urban integration. Coordinated from Rio de Janeiro, ICOS Cidadania has implemented Labs in West Bahia, and in Asuncion Paraguay to respond to local challenges of urban development and citizenship. ICOS’ main work in Brazil is focused on Urban Citizenship Labs in the city of Rio de Janeiro as a driver for social integration.