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Once upon a time…

… there were a guy and a girl living in the second largest favela (slum) in Sao Paulo, Brasil: Paraisopolis

Every day…

… Acacio and Anny went about their daily business, working, eating, praying, playing and sleeping. But like 1 billion people just like them, they had profound worries about the security of their home. “Will fire break out? Will we be evicted by the owner? What does the government want? What will the police do?” They tried to make the best of life, but felt constantly on the edge.

One day…

… somebody walked into their neighborhood and asked: “Why don’t we all work together?” “With whom?” they asked. “Well, with everyone: the government, the land owner, banks. And of course with your community!”

Because of that…

… they started exploring the possibilities, instead of worrying about all the problems.

Because of that…

… they started talking with the other stakeholders and discussed different future scenario’s.

Until finally…

… they made an integral plan that benefited the interests of all stakeholders and they made a sustainable change to their own neighborhood.

Once upon a time…

… there was a retired widow living in the wealthy neighborhood of Morumbi, Sao Paulo, Brasil.

Every day…

… Marta was enjoying her days as pensionado, as things were very well taken care of by her late husband. She got up, got dressed and took the time to enjoy her breakfast. She went to exercise in the swimming pool and got together with friends and family. She didn’t have a worry in the world.

One day…

… she got a legal notice that a group of inhabitants from a nearby slum were claiming a piece of land that belonged to her late husband. She never realized she had it, but out of principle was not willing to let it go.

Because of that…

… she became worried that she would lose property that was rightfully hers.

Because of that…

… she had to face the group of people in court, and they started to fight over the case: eviction or dispossession?

Until finally…

… she realized that her interests can very well exist alongside theirs. So she joined forces and developed the favela to the benefit of herself and the community

Slumfighters vision, fight for a world where:

Slumfighters mission:

We aim to urbanize existing slums into safe, healthy and sustainable neighborhoods, improving the lives of the 1 billion informal inhabitants, with respect and recognition for all stakeholders, no extra cost for inhabitants and government and optimal profit for the official owner. We look to understand the status quo first and all its delicate dynamics from every different angle. We negotiate both bottom-up and top-down interests towards an all-in strategy that aims at the optimal balance of mutual benefits. Slumfighters will set the urbanization of the slum in motion by developing generic knowledge products, turning informal settlements into informed settlements. Next we take the responsibility of supporting the current victims of the unacceptable worldwide situations until implementation and completion.


We believe that everybody counts, but nobody is the same. Everyone deserves to have freedom, be treated with justice and get opportunities to succeed in life. We believe we can empower slum inhabitants to take control and proactively pursue access a safe home, health care, education, employment, culture, recreation and feel connected. And we believe that their pursuit to succeed in life will benefit both the city and therefore the society as a whole.


Web support slum inhabitants, private stakeholders and formal organizations to cooperate, by uncovering mutual benefits. With an exploration procedure focused on your social, economic and living situation and wishes, we develop a customized, step-by- step route map methodology which guides you through the process of urbanizing a home, street or neighborhood. Whether you are a slum inhabitant, private stakeholder or part of a formal organization, each of you can initiate this process and all stakeholders can participate in a transparent, mutually beneficial and just way:

  1. Together we systematically explore the status quo and the interests of all stakeholders.
  2. We adapt the route map methodology to the local context and personal preferences.
  3. We explore the mutual benefits through hands-on tools and serious gaming that enable all stakeholders to participate.
  4. Whenever we’re ready we proactively sign a mutual agreement with all stakeholders that acknowledges and values both the informal inhabitants’ and formal organizations’ interests as the agenda of the local government,
  5. We elaborate and propose a transparent investing opportunity, giving a full overview of the costs, benefits and risks.
  6. Finally we use the new input to (re)develop our route map methodology further, ensuring continuous improvement.

Slumfighters goals:



Urban agenda


Form follows function


Game tested



Exchange knowledge



Ensure social integration and social justice

Comply with building regulations and secure land tenure

high spatial density and socio-economic dynamics for an optimal use of (scarce) space

He market conform, affordable and have an optimal balance between costs and benefits

An optimal physical shape, form that reflect the demand from content and context

The whole is more than the sum of its parts, aiming to integrate the Global Goals

Thanks to serious gaming, results are tested with multiple users before implementation

To help all 1 billion slum inhabitants worldwide is our goal

The data we generate is open and available

We work with local partners and we maximize knowledge transfer, expertise and insights

True teamwork requires a deep sense of mutual understanding first

Our results are sustainable for coming generations, supporting the Global Goals

Who are we?

Slumfighters International is a non-governmental organization with the purpose of making an end to slums worldwide. We are an international network of experts in the fields of: engineering, architecture, urbanism, real-estate development, legal affairs, financing, sociology, pedagogy and sustainability. We combine our decades of historic experience on slum upgrading in Western Europa and the USA, with ongoing knowledge gathered locally every day in existing slums globally. We position ourselves, freely translated, like a relation therapist: Slumfighters negotiates and works with informal inhabitants and bottom-up initiatives on one hand, with formal organizations, government and top-down programs on the other, in other words: Slumfighters is all-in.