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Finalist EPFL doctorate Award 2015 - Fernanda Maria Lonardoni

© 2015 EPFL

© 2015 EPFL

Special distinction from the selection committee to Fernanda Maria Lonardoni for her thesis "Within the limits and opportunities of informal rental housing: Tenants and livelihood in Brazilian favelas". Thesis n° 6091 (2014). Thesis directors: Prof. J.-C. Bolay, Prof. M. I. Sugai

Across the world, rental housing is increasingly becoming the key shelter option for the poor living in and moving into cities, including those living in informal settlements. This Thesis investigates the residential choices of low income tenant households and the role of informal rental markets in enabling or constraining access to housing and livelihood in cities. Findings were achieved through a case study research involving in-depth interviews and a survey with tenants and landlords in informal settlements in the Conurbation of Florianopolis, south of Brazil.

The contributions to existing theory and knowledge are twofold: first, by developing a conceptually more sophisticated livelihood analytical framework that is empirically applicable to understand the role of access and residential location for livelihood strategies; second, by understanding not only how actors compose livelihoods strategies and access resources, but how livelihood outcomes impact household vulnerability and promote social change.

The conclusions add to our understanding on the linkages between housing and livelihood, leaving little doubt that accessibility and residential location are important alternative agendas for the poor to seize opportunities in cities. However, at the same time that informal rental markets increase shelter opportunities in strategic urban locations they also reproduce further dimensions of insecurity and deprivation that prevent tenants from expanding long-term security and emancipation.

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