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Rio de Janeiro favelas – a new look

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Rio de Janeiro favela Rocinha_rd0052.jpg
Night view from top of Favela da Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil, located in Rio de Janeiro's South Zone between the high class districts of Sao Conrado and Gavea. Most of the favela is on a very steep hill, with many trees surrounding it. 69,161 (census 2010) people live in Rocinha, making it the most populous favela in Brazil. Although Rocinha is technically classified as a neighborhood, many still refer to it as a favela. It developed from a shanty town into an urbanized slum. Today, almost all the houses in Rocinha are made from concrete and brick. Some buildings are three and four stories tall and almost all houses have basic sanitation, plumbing, and electricity. Compared to simple shanty towns or slums, Rocinha has a better developed infrastructure and hundreds of businesses such as banks, medicine stores, bus lines, cable television, including locally based channel TV ROC (TV Rocinha), and, at one time, a McDonalds franchise. These factors help classify Rocinha as a favela bairro, or favela neighborhood.