The Challenge to Revert Unsustainable Trends: Uneven Development and Water Degradation in the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area
The search for water sustainability requires not only a combination of technical and managerial responses, but also firm action against socioeconomic injustices and political inequalities. The recognition of the politicised nature of water problems deserves particular attention in areas marred by long-term trends of environmental degradation and social exclusion. A case study of the Baixada Fluminense, an urbanised wetland in the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro, illustrates the challenge to reverse unsustainable practices in situations where water problems have been politically and electorally exploited. The research made use of an interdisciplinary approach to assess past and present initiatives that have attempted, but systematically failed, to restore river ecology and improve water services. The empirical results have important implications for water policy making and urban planning.
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