By Lindsay Spratt, Sub Editor

The elevator, photo by
The elevator, photo by

RIO DE JANEIRO – The opening of a sixty-meter elevator providing access to the Cantagalo and Pavão/Pavãozinho communities is to open in March 2010. The elevator is to be built at the exit of the new subway station, General Osório, which will open in Ipanema on December 17.

The elevator will be equivalent in height to a 23-story building and will be connected by covered walkways to a smaller tower twenty meters high which will serve Cantagalo and Pavão/Pavãozinho.

The tower will also not only provide access to the favelas but is also expected to attract tourists. There will be a fifty square meter viewing platform at the top offering panoramic views over the neighborhoods and beaches of Copacabana, Arpoador and Ipanema. The platform will also offer shops and bars owned by Metrô Rio (Rio subway).

According to the State Transport Secretary, Júlio Lopes, access to the elevator will be free and will operate during the same hours as the subway. Access to the elevator will be from the first floor of a three-story building already in construction at the corners of Teixera de Melo and Barão de Ipanema streets. The two upper floors of the building will provide various services to the community, such as a unit for issuing identity cards and driving licences.

The cost of the elevator is expected to be R$40 Million and will be funded by the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômic e Social, (BNDES), National Bank of Economic and Social Development). It does not come under the government’s Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC, Growth Acceleration Program), responsible for the 56 new apartments which were installed in Pavão/Pavãozinho on August 18 of this year.

According to the Urbanism Municipal Secretary, who has yet to approve the project, the region was declared an “Area of Special Social Interest” under Law 3.688 in 2003. The height of the tower does not conform to the maximum height of 10.6 meters detailed in Law 322 of 1976, but should be approved because of the social benefits it would afford.

According to the State Construction Secretary, Luiz Fernando Pezão, the project was widely discussed with both the residents of the favela and those living in Ipanema near the new metro station site, and that everyone was in favor.

Construction of the new subway station, photo by
Construction of the new subway station, photo by

“We approved the project, even though it exceeds the limitations for the maximum building height. In the end, there are already four elevators on Alberto de Campos street which serve the communities on the hill. Now, other people will be benefited. Apart from this, it will also be very beautiful,” said the President of the Association of Ipanema Residents, Maria Amélia Fernandes Loureiro.

Approximately 28,000 people live in the Cantagalo and Pavão/Pavãozinho communities. The PAC has promised an investment of R$1 Billion in a series of projects to be completed in favelas such as these before 2010. Apart from the housing afforded to the Cantagalo and Pavãozinho communities, apartments were also inaugurated in the Complexo do Alemão (German Complex) and Manguinhos. A health center, sports center and further education units were also introduced in Manguinhos at the end of May this year.


  1. Very nice! There is only one thing I do not understand: tourist beside a favela. Tehy normally do not mix fr security reasons, so I wonder how this will work.

  2. It will be convenient for the favela kids, as they will be able to steal from tourists and Cariocas, and then run home without having to strain themselves by going up hill. And the views! Riding to the top of this elevator will replace the need to send tourists to Corcovado.

  3. @ Lilly: have you been to a favela? if so did you have any problems? the truth is, unless the police or a rival faction invade while you happen to be there, you are safer there than walking down the street in copa. tourists go into favelas every day here and i have never heard of any incident. moradores of these communities generally appreciate people from the outside visiting because when they leave, the stories they take with them can help dispel the myths and stereotypes that the residents are plagued with.

    @ Kris: i’m so sick of comments like this. being poor is not a crime and most residents of these communities are most certainly not thiefs. many hold down 2 and three jobs….possibly even helping to provide the life style you may enjoy here, even if you don’t have a maid (ever take a taxi? enjoy a cold drink on the beach?). also, i din’t see in the article that they were building a staue of crist on top of cantagalo so your second comment was stupid too. but i digress.

  4. Ouch Tomas that hurt! Yes, I was being a bit cynical and sarcastic, but what’s with the name calling? I agree that there are a lot of hardworking honest residents in the Favelas. I’ve been visiting Brazil since 1989 and have been pickpocketed once in Sao Paulo and my wife’s purse was snatched in broad daylight while we were riding the Bonde in Santa Teresa. On each occassion, the thieves were……you guessed it… from the Favelas. Maybe you can take Lily and me on a walking tour of Cantagalo.


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