In Brazil, a slum or shantytown. A favela comes into being when squatters occupy vacant land at the edge of a city and construct shanties of salvaged or stolen materials. Communities form over time, often developing an array of social and religious organizations and forming associations to obtain such services as running water and electricity. Sometimes the residents (favelados) manage to gain title to the land and then are able to improve their homes. Because of crowding, unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition, and pollution, disease is rampant in the poorer favelas, and infant mortality rates are high.