Welcome to CHAPA, which means local guide in Portuguese. We are a comparative research initiative focused upon the role of citizens in creating, applying, and visualizing data for urban design and development. Funded by the United States National Science Foundation, CHAPA is affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin, and based out of São Paulo, Brazil.


While first generation housing policies across Latin America favored the construction of peripheral social housing estates, second generation approaches prioritized the upgrading or redevelopment of informal settlements that have consolidated since their establishment in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These second generation strategies range from infrastructure and public space improvements, to the construction of new housing within existing informal settlements.


In São Paulo, we have identified four general second generation housing types. Studies have evaluated singular approaches, yet none have assessed their impact on one another, nor the implications of this development nexus on future alternatives. The lack of transparent data not only suppresses public knowledge about development efficacy, but limits residents from leveraging data for future development in their own communities. The study’s overarching objective, then, is to transform redevelopment through technologies for assessing how past dynamics impact future alternatives.


To these ends, the project aims include:


(1) establish assessment criteria in collaboration with community residents and local planning agencies;


(2) apply a resiliency assessment analysis to 1100 households across two communities that have been impacted by the same five development strategies since the 1970s; 


(3) visualize data findings to facilitate decision-making around development alternatives proposed by communities and local government;  


(4) create a mobile app for ongoing community source data creation and mobilization around policies and urban design strategies that upgrade, renovate, and retrofit these historical development types for emerging needs and expectations.