Paradise Garden, located 60 miles away from São Paulo, is one of many gated communities in the Brazilian Southeast. These fortified developments became common around Brazil’s major cities in the 1970s, during the heyday of a 21-year-long far-right dictatorship, and haven’t stopped spreading ever since.
In Paradise Garden, guards carry guns and wear bullet proof vests. Residents are biometrically identified, and visitors need to be registered with a photo ID. In Brazil’s profoundly stratified society, gated communities present themselves as pockets of cohesion, where liberties such as allowing children to play on the street are artificially guaranteed. In reality though, these pastoral fortresses violently interrupt the urban fabric and contribute to aggravate the contradictions they attempt to remedy. As Brazil once more dives into yet another period of authoritarianism, it becomes increasingly relevant to understand how places like Paradise Garden materialize the worldview of the economic elites.