Sunning in the Slums

Taking a hint from heightened interest in Brazil's <em>favelas</em>, a German developer plans to build 10 villas in a Rio de Janeiro slum, which he'll market as the new tourist hotspot.
March 18, 2009, 10am PDT | Judy Chang
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"[Rolf] Glaser is one of a small, bold band of foreigners going where most Rio residents fear to tread, catering to tourists who want to see the "real" Rio beyond the Copacabana beach district and the Christ the Redeemer statue.

The 52-year-old entrepreneur plans to build 10 or so well-appointed villas where tourists would be able to taste luxury and slum life at the same time."

"In a city renowned for the jaw-dropping beauty of its beaches and forested mountains, Vidigal, perched high at the end of a swanky beach area, has a panoramic vista that would make real estate agents' eyes water.

That is already causing worries that Glaser's investment, which he puts at around $500,000, may provoke property speculation that could force residents to sell and move to other slums.

Still, favelas remain largely off limits for Brazilians, leaving the way clear for foreigners who have found them increasingly fascinating and chic."

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Published on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in International Herald Tribune
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