André Albuquerque is a lawyer and a specialist in Urban and Environmental Management. In 2001, moved by an entrepreneurial and social drive, he create Terra Nova, a for-profit social enterprise to formalize urban slums by peacefully resolving land disputes and managing the regularization process. André is an Ashoka Fellow and was awarded the Social Entrepreneur Award by the Schwab Foundation for his efforts in conflict mediation and land regularization.
Terra Nova is a social enterprise committed to the sustainable regularization of illegally occupied properties in Brazil’s urban areas.
Terra Nova, a for-profit social enterprise, helps urban slum dwellers obtain legal title to the land they occupy. By managing all aspects of the land regularization process, Terra Nova helps community residents purchase the land they live on, formalizing an important asset and catalyzing economic growth. This enables the government to implement much needed infrastructure such as running water, sewer systems, electricity and paved roads. The process offers triple bottom line results (i.e., social, environmental and economic benefits) to these urban slums. It transforms dormant assets into capital benefitting all stakeholders: 1) community residents purchase important assets, gain access to credit and are transitioned into the formal economy, 2) governments resolve complex, costly problems associated with urban slums and collect taxes and, 3) land owners are compensated for their occupied property. Terra Nova's methodology for sustainable land regularization provides a dignified and empowering solution to formalizing property rights.
Eight years after its inception, Terra Nova now operates in five states in Brazil, as well as in the Federal District, and reaches 28 communities and some 30,000 families. Terra Nova is working to expand its operations to include cases involving families forcibly displaced due to infrastructural construction projects. With support from the World Bank, André plans to spread his operations to every state in Brazil. Within ten years, he hopes to have replicated Terra Nova’s methodology in several other developing countries.