O Morro! Fab(ulous) Favelas

A Rainbow in Rio

A rainbow is seen in Rio, not in the sky, but on the facades of 34 houses thanks to Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn.

These Dutch artists are part of the Favela Painting project which enlists locals to paint their homes transforming the neighborhood into an “explosion of color”. “O morro” can be literally translated to “the hill” in English from portuguese, but it is commonly used as term for “slum” on the streets.

The residents who participated in painting their community received a small sum for their work, but gained an experience and education much more valuable in the process.

Koolhaas ad Urhahn hope that this project will “transform the community into a landmark”  like the world famous Sugarloaf and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. This project will also bring a sense of pride to the community that suffers because socio-economic pressures.

To finance this massive project, the Firmeza Foundation seeks donations on a wide scale from a community of supporters. Donators are credited as one of the co-founders of the project. The painting took about one month and is visible from the center of Rio.

On our hemisphere, City Repair in Portland, has been promoting the idea that “localization of  culture, economy, and decision making” as a driver for sustainability.  Their projects include the annual Village Building Convergence where locals participate in intersection repairs and natural building. City Repair also hosts Earth Day and they even operate a mobile tea house called respectively the T-Horse.

Perhaps we should do a mobile coffee house here in Seattle?


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