Rio de Janeiro (RUA Arquitetos and MAS Urban Design)

Despite the rise of the middle class in Brazil's burgeoning economies, Rio still suffers from a challenging topography of wealth and class, with favelas juxtaposed near high-rises and a growing population looking for more. RUA Arquitetos and MAS Urban Design's proposal for intervention doesn't ignore this instinct for improvement. The groups dreamed up Veranda Products, a line of do-it-yourself construction kits aiming to make sustainable design more compelling. They even half jokingly suggested a telenovela that would showcase the products at work. 

While the items they designed, such as a hanging garden or add-in balcony, seem like small additions, at a larger scale, the team feels like they could reshape the environment. 

"Instead of imposing, lets create products that are convincing," says Leonard Striech from MAS Urban Design. "Consider consumer behaviors and think about products that would make life better." 

The sketch above shows these easy-to-assemble kits at work, such as the Papaya Umbrella, a playful rainwater collection system (seen at bottom left).  Favelas suffer from infrastructure problems, according to Pedro Evora of RUA Arquitetos. These Veranda Products are meant to promote better possiblities for urban life.

"Any person can download and build these products by themselves," says Evora. "The idea is to promote a space for ideas. Almost a third of the city was built informally, built by the people. This is part of the culture."  Photo 1 of 6 in Housing in Megacities is a Mess. What Can We Do About It?