City Voices: The Word from the Street

Favela next to middle-class neighbourhood, seen from Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Creative Commons

BRAZIL: World Cup, Olympic Social Legacy Thrown in Doubt

Community organisations say the major infrastructure works for the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil do not reflect the spirit of the social legacy promised by the government and business community, which project 68 billion dollars in economic benefits from the first event alone.

Tomatoes and lettuce growing in the Rostlaube "container farm".  Credit: Courtesy of Malzfabrik

Urban Farming Takes Root in Europe

Since the end of World War II, and especially since the 1960s, the Kreuzberg district in Berlin has been a melting pot of cultures, with residents hailing from the Balkans, Central Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

PAKISTAN: Troubled Karachi Finds a Happy Enclave

The long boardwalk, balmy sea air and ebb and flow of water under the bridge, but most of all the festive carnival-like atmosphere of people enjoying the Karachi sunset, are images that stand in deep contrast to the violence this metropolis recently witnessed.

 Credit: Raven Lintu

U.S.: Homeless Fall Through Health Care Cracks

While Americans are taking sides in the ongoing battle about the future of American healthcare, one underrepresented group is especially vulnerable to the change - or lack of change - that may be afoot: the homeless community.

Two of the women involved in Radio Mulher rehearsing. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

BRAZIL: Women in Favelas Broadcast Peace

Local women's voices have begun to be heard over a community radio station now broadcasting in Complexo do Alemao, a clump of favelas or shantytowns on the north side of this Brazilian city that were ruled until recently by armed drug gangs.

José Luiz Ferreira at his former home in the old Vila Chocolatão. Credit: Clarinha Glock/IPS

BRAZIL: More Community Input Needed in Relocation of Favelas

José Luiz Ferreira, 60, was born poor and is still poor, but was able to get an education. Known as Seu Luiz (Mr. Luiz) in Vila Nova Chocolatão, the Porto Alegre neighborhood where he lives, he earns a meager living by giving English classes. And he sees eagles where everyone else sees chickens.

U.S.: Brain Injuries Especially Invisible Among Homeless – Part II

James Smith is a 53-year-old Portland veteran who used to have a job he loved. After a car accident left him with traumatic brain and neck injuries in 2005, Smith lost his job, ran out of money and wound up on the streets.

VENEZUELA: Ambitious Promises of Affordable Housing

"I want my own roof over my head, my own home. I don't want to live in a curtained-off cubicle surrounded by masses of people," says Elena Díaz, who does ironing for a living and lives in a temporary shelter in the centre of the Venezuelan capital.

Traumatic brain injuries often go undiagnosed, especially on the streets. Credit: Street Roots

U.S.: Brain Injuries May Push Victims into Homelessness – Part I

You might say Nick Patton was born to fish. Literally born on a boat, Nick spent his earliest years living in orphanages along the Alaskan coastline. He ran away at the age of eight and quickly learned how to take care of himself and to rely on others - traveling in groups around the Pacific Northwest, picking apples and doing day labour.

Eljen is a resident of an Oasis Center transitional living facility for 18 to 21-year-olds who currently have no permanent housing. Credit: Courtesy of Oasis Center

U.S.: Young, Gay and Homeless

Living on the streets is not easy for anyone, but for gay teenagers it can be even worse. Many suffer rejection from their families - pushing them to homelessness – discrimination at school and even sexual assault on the streets. The Oasis Center, in Nashville, Tennessee, is gathering efforts to combat prejudice and provide a safe space for LGBTQ young people.

São Paulo is one of the world

Cities Join Forces to Fight Global Warming

Given that the world's 40 biggest cities account for eight percent of the global population and 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, local governments play an increasingly important role in confronting climate change.

Chapeu Mangueira, one of the 16 favelas where UPPs have been set up. Credit: Fabíola Ortiz/IPS

BRAZIL: From War on Drugs to Community Policing in Rio

Four decades after Washington declared its "war on drugs" and began to spread the doctrine south of the U.S. border, the government of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro decided to shift away from that approach towards a strategy focused on community policing.

A street in a "favela" or slum in the Complexo do Alemão. The militias are no longer active here, but do operate in nearby neighbourhoods.  Credit: Fabíola Ortiz/IPS

BRAZIL: Protected Witness Speaks Out – Part 1

Despite the risks involved, a man who is under the witness protection programme in Brazil and his wife decided to tell their story to IPS, to denounce flaws in a system that, in their case, has added neglect and isolation to the total anonymity in which they must live.

Security forces in an operation carried out in a favela. Credit: Rel-UITA

BRAZIL: Amnesty Highlights ‘Entrenched Inequalities’

Despite "considerable progress" made in reducing poverty, "stark inequalities" remain in Brazil, as well as high levels of police and gang violence in poor urban neighbourhoods, Amnesty International warns in its annual human rights report, released as it reaches its 50th anniversary.

The project nurtures the leadership potential in Panamanian teenagers.  Credit: Clarinha Glock/IPS

Young Panamanians Develop Antibodies Against Violence

In Panama's largest cities, minors under 18 not under supervision of an adult must be off the streets after 9:00 p.m. The juvenile curfew law means some spend several days behind bars until someone shows up to pay the fine.

The new waste burner dominates South Delhi. Credit: Sandeep Biswas/IPS

INDIA: Waste to Energy Project Not So Green

A waste-to-energy (WtE) project in the heart of the Indian capital run by a powerful industrial family is testing the enforceability of the country’s environmental and zoning laws.

ARGENTINA: Free Books in Public Places to Woo Readers

"This book has not been lost. It has no owner; it is part of the Argentine Free Book Movement, and it was left in this place so that you would find it."

SPAIN: Madrid Mayor Wants to Sweep Homeless Out of Sight

The mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, has called for a law for compulsory removals of homeless people off the streets, but this has met with resistance from civil society organisations and has split Ruiz-Gallardo's own People's Party (PP).

Cyclists demonstrating in Porto Alegre: "Respect cyclists. More love, fewer motors."  Credit: Clarinha Glock/IPS

BRAZIL: Porto Alegre Cyclists Step Up Demands for Bike Lanes

In the weeks since a motorist mowed down dozens of cyclists in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, the incident has becoming a rallying flag in the fight to create a more bike-friendly city.

One in six South Africans struggle with a mental disorder. Credit: Charlie Sperring

SOUTH AFRICA: The Invisible People

Since psychiatric care was decentralised last year in South Africa, patients have been moved from hospitals into community day hospitals that don't have the appropriate resources to deal with mental illnesses. As a result, many of society's most vulnerable have slipped through the cracks in the system and now walk the streets like invisible people.

CHILE: Grassroots Heritage Preservation Efforts Growing

With the first National Congress on Heritage Neighbourhoods and Areas, community groups in Chile plan to draw attention to their struggle to defend the country's vulnerable historic heritage.

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