This series aims to highlight the breadth and depth of analytical and intellectual talent at the IISS.
Antônio Sampaio, Research Associate for Conflict, Security and Development, joins Dr Kori Schake for this episode of Sounds Strategic.
How to provide robust security in rapidly growing cities has been a persistent challenge for policymakers, especially as more people are expected to move into cities throughout the 21st century. In this episode, Antônio explores the case of Rio de Janeiro, a city that has experienced extreme violence for decades as a result of state neglect and gang activity. Although Rio remains one of the most violent cities in the world, Antônio details some of the successful policies that have brought back a degree of stability and state control in the favelas, unofficial suburbs that have been the traditional heartland of Brazilian gangs.
Most importantly, the policy successes and failures that Antônio highlights in his research in Rio have important lessons and applications for urban security in other cities around the world, from countering cartels in Mexico to reintroducing state control in the re-claimed city of Mosul in Iraq.
For Antônio, developing effective human-centric approaches to urban security is vital and should be considered of equal importance to wider national-level security sector reform and development efforts before, during and after conflict. Counter to many policymakers’ concerns, Antônio does not believe rapid urbanisation inherently leads to greater violence in cities. He warns that this belief is used to justify military-centric policy that increases police lethality but overlooks local political dynamics within cities.