Permanent transitoriness and housing policies:

Inside São Paulo’s low-income private rental market

Felipe Villela de Miranda, Raquel Rolnik, Renato Abramowicz Santos and Regina Dulce Lins

Published in Issue 1.2 // The Long Read

Keywords: eviction, permanent transitoriness, housing policies, low-income private rental markets, resistance


In São Paulo, Brazil, housing policies and planning shape and boost highly precarious and exploitative private rental markets. This is the case of a housing public-private partnership (PPP) that is seizing land since 2017 in a very stigmatized central neighborhood known as Cracolândia or Crackland. This paper covers the first two years of the PPP’s implementation. Based on the life trajectories of tenants and squatters of buildings targeted for demolition, looking at both their living conditions and their encounters with governments, we demonstrate how policies and planning not only fail to meet the housing needs of people repeatedly forced to move but also deepen the permanent transitoriness which marks their housing experiences and struggles of everyday life. The paper also provides historical context to the housing PPP by highlighting the sequence of demolitions induced by various urban interventions that targeted the area since the late 1990s. The findings presented here stem from action research embedded in an ongoing process of resistance to government-led displacement –a process in which the authors intervene as advocates for adequate housing, and document and analyze as researchers.

Felipe Villela de Miranda is M.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning and Researcher at the Evictions Observatory. Raquel Rolnik is Professor of Planning and Architecture at the University of São Paulo (USP), former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Coordinator of the Evictions Observatory. Renato Abramowicz Santos is M.Sc. in Sociology, Researcher at the Evictions Observatory. Regina Dulce Lins is Professor of Planning and Architecture at the Alagoas Federal University.

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