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Ecological Slums? Initial Notes on Tourism and Ecology in Brazilian Favelas

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This article examines the ecology in favelas (shanty towns) from comparative analysis of two recent initiatives that have created new features of these communities in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The first one is the Carioca Landscape Natural Park on Babilônia Hill, created by the city government in 2013, and the second is a reforested space in the upper part of the Vidigal favela, containing Dois Irmãos Trail, which has become one of the main hiking trails in the city. This study is the result of fieldwork in these favelas and analysis of the literature as well as official documents produced by government agencies and community associations. I focus on the favelas because these are the main access routes to these parks and residents carry out the reforestation. Furthermore, reports of foreign tourists and residents of Rio that have visited these places indicate that the reforestation and creation of ecological parks are unexpected, because traditional images of favelas are of dirty areas, urban agglomerations that are antiecological, since many of Rio's favelas are built on hills originally covered by Atlantic Forest and encroach on protected areas. However, both projects began precisely for these reasons. Thus, this article analyzes this apparent paradox of favelas turning into ecotourism attractions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2015

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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