Created 53 years ago, Vila Kennedy officially became a neighborhood in Rio on July 14th 2017, from a subdivision of Bangu, in the West Zone. The community was born as a housing development, built to house evicted favela residents from various regions of the city. Its name is in honor of the US president John Kennedy, who even donated money for the construction of the first buildings and a replica of the statue of liberty.
The law that makes Vila Kennedy a neighborhood was sanctioned by Rio mayor Marcelo Crivella and brings Rio’s total officially recognized neighborhoods to 162.
The housing complex that gave birth to Vila Kennedy was built in 1964, by determination of governor Carlos Lacerda, to shelter the displaced residents of communities such as Morro do Pasmado in Botafogo. Initially, it had 5,054 dwellings. Today, it has 12.8 thousand homes and 41.5 thousand inhabitants, according to estimates by the Instituto Pereira Passos (IPP).
The construction of the housing complex was part of the Alliance for Progress program launched by JFK in 1961 to finance social projects in Latin American countries with the aim of preventing the advancement of communism. Brazil entered the list of beneficiary countries and the money was applied to the creation of the neighborhood that would take in people coming from favelas. Initially, the place was to be called Vila Esperança, but that changed after the death of the American president. – Source (PT)