Social Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro March 22-26, 2010

Abahlali baseMjondolo will be represented at this event by Louisa Motha, Mnikelo Ndabankulu, David Ntseng & Mazwi Nzimande. The trip to Rio has been made possible by solidarity from German churches and money raised in their Lenten appeal.

Social Movements and Organizations of Rio de Janeiro invite you to:

Social Urban Forum Fighting for the right to the city, democracy and urban justice in neighborhoods and in the world
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
March 22-26, 2010


In March, 2010, the city of Rio de Janeiro will host the V World Urban Forum (WUF). Organized every two years by the United Nations Habitat Agency, it is expected to bring together 50,000 participants from all over the globe. In past versions, the WUF was dominated by official delegations that responded to multilateral organization discourses and speeches, such as the World Bank, Inter American Development Bank (IADB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Program for Development (UNPD), City Alliances, among others. Words, words, words … but also a repeated effort to impose cities all over the world, a model of competitive and entrepreneurial city and large projects that only deepen inequalities and gentrification processes, especially in peripheral countries. The poverty alleviation rhetoric does not hide the failure of a policy that subjects our cities to a market logic scheme, while the mechanisms and processes that produce and reproduce inequalities and social and environmental injustices in cities are silenced or hidden.

In its various editions, the WUF has also been unable to open space to those who resist the implacable logic of entrepreneurial cities, those who fight to build alternatives to the models adopted in various governments and spread by international consultants and international “aid” which rarely is uninterested, as well as by world conferences and congresses where the urban misery of millions is transformed in cold statistics and promises that are never fulfilled.

For these reasons, social movements and organizations of Rio de Janeiro decided to invite all social movements and civil society organizations to build with us a space of wide and free manifestations and debate, in our SOCIAL URBAN FORUM. This will be a space and time for us to meet and recognize each other, to share experiences and to build collectively, a perspective of another city: a democratic and egalitarian city, committed to social and environmental justice.


The objective of the SOCIAL URBAN FORUM is to enable dialogue, sharing of experiences, and expression of diversity and the strengthening of social movements and organizations articulations around the globe.

The SOCIAL URBAN FORUM also places itself as an opportunity to unveil the true city that is usually hidden behind walls and fences, as well as behind discourses about global cities with which many governments justify huge investments in mega events of urban marketing. This is why host movements and organizations want to offer the international and participants the possibility to know a Rio de Janeiro that is not present in post cards or official propaganda, a Rio de Janeiro that can be ugly and unfair, but that is also rich in resistance and popular creativity.


From March 23 to March 26, 2010, parallel to the World Urban Forum, the activities and events of the SOCIAL URBAN FORUM will be taking place. They are organized in the following manner:

– panels and debates that will cover the following topics: Urban Violence and
Poverty Criminalization; Mega Events and Globalization of Cities;
Environmental Justice in the City; Great Urban Projects, Central and Port
– Tables and debates proposed by Brazilian movements and organizations and
other countries;
– Expositions and video projections;
– Cultural manifestations;
– Other proposed activities.


– Criminalization of Poverty and Urban Violence
Militarization of periphery and popular communities and neighborhoods;
Criminalization of poverty and immigrants; Urban violence in its multiple
manifestations; Racism, gender discrimination, and homophobia in the city.
Gender violence; Repression and criminalization of community based and
human rights activists.
– Mega Events and Globalization of Cities
Soccer World Cup, Olympic Games, international exhibitions and expositions;
Impact of international mega events in cities, from international experiences
and from the experience of Rio de Janeiro; What are its ¨legacies¨ and who
are its beneficiaries or stakeholders?
– Environmental Justice in the City
Environmental inequality and organization of urban space; Land tenure
regularization, health and environment; Environmental racism;
Environmental conflicts and resistance fights; Climate change in cities.
– Inner cities, Water Fronts, and Large Urban Projects
Renewal of of inner cities and water fronts. Mobility. Gentrification. Evictions
by institutional and/or real state violence. Corporations, public-private
partnerships and land speculation. Globalization and urban capitalism.


Beyond the proposed topics, we also invite the organizations and movements of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the world, to contribute to the auto-managed activities proposed. These will be developed in debates, plenary, articulation forums, expositions, projections, and other cultural activities. The deadline to send proposals is March 7, 2010.

The inscription to activities must be made by filling out the SOCIAL URBAN FORUM ACTIVITY PROPOSAL application.

The Program Commission will try to include all the received proposals within the limits of space and time available. Guided visits and tours will also be organized to allow direct contact with barely known urban realities, such as cultural manifestations of the city and struggle experiences – community movements, occupations, etc.


The activities of the Urban Social Forum will be developed in the Cultural Center of the Citizen Action Against Hunger, at Barao de Tefé Ave. no 75, in the Saude neighborhood>. This venue is a port warehouse, built in 1871 and restored in 2002. Today, it hosts political, artistic and cultural events. The space has 14,000 m2, offering good conditions to develop various activities and events simultaneously (pictures at

The Urban Social Forum is also located 300 meters from the WUF, allowing easy
circulation to all participants between both events. Guided visits will also start in this same place, taking into consideration previous announcements.


Social Urban Forum: Democracy and Justice in the City
Submission of activity: