Water system in Rio de Janeiro

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Short description

Research project: Natural, self-sufficient and decentralized small-scale water management in informal urban settlements in Rio de Janeiro.


By means of several case studies in Rio de Janeiro natural, self-sufficient and decentralized small-scale water management is explored. The research will result in an innovative design proposal for a pilot project in the Maré district, integrating a closed water cycle into its social, spatial and ecological context.


The project ‘Água Carioca Water System’ explores the potentials of Constructed Wetlands. It introduces innovative decentralized water treatment and recycling systems that reduces pollution and improves the quality of life and of public space in four distinct favelas in Rio de Janeiro. The project contributes to solving the water problems in these neighborhoods. More broadly, it investigates the implementation of such systems in order to understand why such systems have, despite seemingly providing optimal solutions, rarely been implemented in informal and remote settlements in Brazil so far. Sub-aims in this respect are twofold, notably (1) gain insight in conditions that foster or hinder the technical implementation of such systems and (2) gain insights into social and cultural conditions that obstruct or increase their acceptance. The overall aim of the project is to understand how social, cultural and technical factors influence each other and how they can be overcome by means of integral, design-led approach.

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