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Standby urbanization: Dwelling and organized crime in Rio de Janeiro

Introduction: Situated dwelling

I meet A. and her friend M. in front of A.’s house. A. chose this meeting point for good reason, knowing of my interest in the community’s physical and political development. She points to the foundations of her house, which sits about a meter below the level of the surrounding neighbors’ houses. These, A. explains, have all piled up their parcels with rubble and sand, gradually and over the years, in order to avoid damage from flooding during rainy season, when the two adjacent rivers overflow their banks.

Speaker’s corner: A comment alongside Essed

On the north-eastern edge of Hyde Park in central London is a place called ‘Speaker’s Corner’. Since the mid 19th century it has been a place which symbolizes free speech, the ability to express opinions fearlessly, to stand on a box and shout the truth to the people. And the crowd which gathers every Sunday to listen can shout their opinions back again, frothing at the mouth with fury, laughing at the lunacy, tutting in English disapproval, or quoting the bible with staring eyes as they maintain that the world is going to hell.

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