Social Function of Urban Property Campaign




The National Forum on Urban Reform – FNRU/ Brazil
launches campaign for social function of urban property: the city is not a
business, the city is for all of us, aiming the effective transformation of urban
life, involving universal access to housing and land urban as well as equipment
and goods necessary for social reproduction, and the effective democratization
of decisions concerning the present and the future of cities.

Brazilian cities are marked by serious urban
problems affecting unequally the different social groups, and a strong spatial
segregation: people’s opportunities in terms of access to a quality of life
depends on the place they occupy within the cities.

Although the city’s social function and social
function of urban property are 
secured by the Constitution and the Statute
of the City, these principles are 
far from being effected and become reality
in most Brazilian cities.

But ultimately, what they mean to the city’s
social function and social function of urban property according the Brazilian
Constitution and Statute of Cities?

Before attending economic interests and
be subjected to the logic of the 
market and profit, the city and property
rights are collective, meaning it must be at the service of the whole
community, ensuring social protection and quality of life of each and every.
Thus, to define what is the social function of property is necessary in order
to understand what is right to the city.

The right to the city can be understood as
a collective right of everyone to the enjoyment of the city within the equitable
principles of social justice and 
territorial, environmental
sustainability and democracy. That is, the right to the city involves the right
to housing, access to urban land, environmental 
sanitation, urban mobility, work,
culture, leisure, education, health and all the goods and services necessary
for reproduction social dignity and quality.

The right to the city also involves the right
to rebuild the city, the right to have a radically democratic city where all
can participate in decisions on how the city should work and how to organize collective
life in the city. This implies that all people should have the right to participate
in the planning and management of dwelling, to ensure that the use of resources
implementation of urban projects are reversed
for the benefit of the community and city projects desired by the various
communities, respecting the different cultures and the environment in which
they are located.

You could say that the social function
of the city means ensuring the right to the city for all and for all. From this
perspective, the right to the city is related to three fundamental principles:

(i) Full exercise of social citizenship:
completion of all collective and individual human rights and fundamental
freedoms, ensuring the dignity and collective well-being of city residents in
conditions of equality, justice, social and territorial cohesion, and
environmental sustainability.

(ii) Democratic management of the city: the
control and guarantee the 
participation of all people who live in
the city, through direct and representative forms, planning and local

(iii) The social function of urban property
and public regulation of urban 
land: the subordination of individual rights
to use the property interests and 
collective rights in order to ensure socially
just and environmentally 
balanced urban space.

Public policies, notably, urban policy, should
be at the service of promoting 
the right to the city and the effectiveness
of the social function of 

In this sense, the FNRU proposes to implement
the following measures:

1.The adoption by the government of laws
and policies that enforce the social function of property as provided in the Brazilian
Constitution, especially through public regulation of urban land and the
implementation of the tools provided in the Statute of the City, in order: (i)
the immediate disposal of public property, vacant and underutilized for social
housing, (ii) the regularization of land occupied in an area of 250 square
meters for housing by low-income population, (iii) the establishment of special
zones of social interest, in areas occupied by lowincome population and area destines
empty housing of social interest, and (iv) to combat land speculation, underutilization
of vacant land and land value capture, resulting public investments for the
purpose of investment in social housing.

2.The adoption by public authorities, instruments
and policies that subordinate the uses of private property to collective
interests and the broad exercise of citizenship, which implies, among other
things, the approval of projects and urban real estate should be subject to
criteria social justice and environmental sustainability and must pass the
instances of social participation and control, with a broad representation of
different social segments.

3.The adoption by the public, measures decommodification
of housing and urban land, including limiting the number of urban land and
housing units that may have a single owner, to ensure access for all and all to
decent housing , environmental sanitation and urban mobility. Being a social
need, housing can not be treated as a commodity, ie, access to decent housing and
urban services can not be subordinated to the payment capacity of the people,
and no one can profitably exploit the fundamental access to these essential

4. The recognition by the public, the collective
ownership. As a social right, the right to housing can be exercised by collectivities,
which should result in the possibility of collective ownership of the property,
ensuring the right to ownership and housing to all people within those
communities. At the same time, the government should promote and support
self-management of production processes of social housing.

5. The adoption by public authorities, mechanisms,
procedures and policies to ensure participatory decision-making processes about
policies and urban projects, involving the establishment of participatory
budgets, councils and conferences of cities and political reform in the
country, so ensure the progressive institutionalization of democratic
management of cities. An effective participatory democracy must guarantee the
right of citizens and citizens to participate and act through mechanisms of
representation and direct, individual and collective, in all spheres of
government. Besides the direct exercise of voting in elections for government
executives and parliaments, we must incorporate, making power, both the direct participation
of people in meetings, forums, conferences and hearings, as well as the
participation of different communities (unions, associations, 
organizations and social movements, etc.)
in the public management policies that require some degree of representation
(such as councils) and also in parliament itself.

6. The approval by Congress, to amend the
bill to reform the Code of Civil 
Procedure, seeking to change the legal procedure
of repossessions and 
possessory actions in the case of collective
disputes over possession of 
urban and rural properties, in order to protect
the human and collective rights of thousands of families threatened with eviction
by injunctions throughout Brazil.

For the Implementation of the Urban Reform
and the Right to the City.

* To download the pdf,
click here.