Ana Slade
Guilherme Lassance


Housing production in Brazil continues, for the most part, to be tied to the mono-functional paradigm. Social housing developments, gated communities and new neighbourhoods are conceived according to modern, functional zoning logic. However, in reality, the Brazilian way of life subverts this logic where its expression produces urban spaces that don’t correspond to what is originally planned or imposed by regulation.
This paper presents the outcomes of an investigation conducted on suburban houses in Rio de Janeiro, which have been informally transformed to accommodate multiple activities ranging from living areas to workspaces. Vast areas of lots generally occupied by single-family houses characterise the low-income suburbs of Rio. In these areas, the pressing need families face to increase their income, a need associated with the general lack of infrastructure — including local commerce and facilities — fosters the development of informal economies, which in turn transforms the built environment and effecting the public space. A fragment of one of these peripheral neighbourhoods is analysed in this paper through the mapping of commercial and professional activities that take place in single-family houses. The urban environment of streets in which these kinds of activities are taking place is compared with neighbouring streets in which no such activities are apparent.
The investigation consists of a consideration of the social and spatial effects of informal practices occurring within the formal city. The suburban houses are analysed as privileged spaces in which the local way of life can be observed and acknowledged as being intrinsic to a specific social and economic reality. Both spatial and building solutions are thereby recognised as valuable lessons which urge practitioners to consider alternatives to the way in which housing projects and city planning have been previously defined.


How to Cite
Slade, A. and Lassance, G. (2019) “Live-work Tactics in the Suburban House and their Effects on Public Spaces in the Peripheral Neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(2), pp. 81–100. doi: 10.32891/jps.v4i2.1205.
Author Biographies

Ana Slade, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Licensed architect and urbanist (FAU/UFRJ, 2000), specialist in History of Art and Architecture in Brazil (PUC-Rio, 2004) and Master in History and Art Criticism (EBA/UFRJ, 2007), Ana is currently an Assistant Professor at the Architecture Design Department of FAU / UFRJ (since 2012) and PhD candidate at PROURB-FAU/UFRJ (since 2015). She has developed one year of her PhD research at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University, Canada (2017).
She has experience in the area of Architecture and Urbanism, with emphasis on Architecture Design, with interest in the following subjects: Architecture and City, Architecture Design and Theory, Modern Brazilian Architecture, Architecture Teaching and Strategies of Urban and Architectural Intervention in Vulnerable Communities.
Current research focuses on the hybrid architecture for housing and work and its insertion in the contemporary city and on the survey of the suburbs of Rio as well. These themes are being developed in his doctoral dissertation and in the studios she teaches at FAU/UFRJ.

Guilherme Lassance, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Guilherme Lassance was trained as an architect in France from 1987 to 1992 and got a PhD in architecture from the University of Nantes in 1998. He worked as an architect in some public programs in urban design for the French Government (OPAH, PUCA), taught and lectured in several European schools of architecture. He is currently a full professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro where he has been mainly involved with architectural design studio teaching since 2002. In 2006, he co-founded Arquilab, a design and research studio within the Federal University of Rio. In 2013 with a Fulbright grant, and again in 2016, he was a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York. In 2018 he became the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU-UFRJ). He co-directs the Research Laboratory TEMPU of the Postgraduate Program in Urbanism at FAU-UFRJ. He is co-editor of an awarded series of books on architectural theory in Brazil and has published, the book Metropolitan Rio: Guide for an Architecture, which has received several awards in Brazil and Latin America.


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