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Special Mention in the Deliberation category

Integrated Planning of Land Regularisation in Special Social Interest Zones (ZEIS)

Fortaleza, Brasil

Number of the inhabitants

2.600.000 inhabitants

Promoting entity

Prefeitura de Fortaleza, Administração Indireta, Instituto de Planejamento de Fortaleza (Iplanfor), Diretoria de Articulação e Integração de Políticas (DIART/Iplanfor).


January 2020 - ongoing

Type of experience

Participatory planning Standing council Workshop / meeting for diagnosis,
monitoring, etc.
Public hearing / forum Assemblies / Citizen juries /
Deliberation spaces
E-government / Open government /
Digital platforms
Citizen initiative

Territorial scope

District & neighbourhood

Thematic area

Governance Education Transport Urban management Security Civic associations, grassroots
and new social movements
Culture Housing Job creation Local development Economy and/or finances Legal regulations Social inclusion


SDG 1 SDG 3 SDG 4 SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 17

Objective of the experience

  • Integrating diversity as a criterion for inclusion
  • Linking different participation tools within a participatory democracy "ecosystem"
  • Improving public policy through the active participation of local residents.


Fortaleza, the bustling capital of the State of Ceará in Brazil, emerges as a vibrant tapestry of cultural diversity, intertwining its colonial history, indigenous heritage, and contemporary cosmopolitan influences. Recognised for its avant-garde inclusivity and designated as a “Creative City of Design” by UNESCO, Fortaleza's rich tapestry is further coloured by its coastal charm and the fusion of its urban and marginalised sociourban realities. The city's historical significance, particularly in the context of the national abolition of slavery, is underscored by influential figures like Chico da Matilde, revered as the 'Dragon of the Sea.'

Driven by the ethos of democratisation and participatory urban planning, the 2009 Participatory Master Plan serves as a testament to Fortaleza's commitment to social inclusion, laying the groundwork for the emergence of the “Special Social Interest Zones” (ZEIS) that foster equitable land regularisation and community-based urban development.

Central to Fortaleza's transformative trajectory is the innovative integration of community stakeholders and university institutions in the planning process, epitomising a paradigm shift in shared territorial management. The collaborative partnership between the Fortaleza Planning Institute (Iplanfor) and academic entities facilitated the inclusive participation of local residents as decision-makers, amplifying their agency in shaping urban interventions and policies.

The holistic approach of the Integrated Land Regularization Plans, spanning various social policies and administrative levels, culminated in the establishment of the 'ZEIS Policy,' perpetuating an interconnected web of transport, healthcare, and economic development initiatives. Notably, the experience engendered a profound metamorphosis, harnessing the collective wisdom of the communities, fostering cohesive neighbourhood ties, and empowering the populace towards a dignified existence replete with the fruits of urban living.