How can existing practices of solidarity be reinforced and incorporated in government projects? This analysis of solidarity among inhabitants of low-income areas in Recife applies the theory of the gift, based on the threefold obligation of giving-receiving- retribution, to the hillsides. An effective housing policy for the areas is needed that improves the quality of the built environment and the quality of life of the inhabitants. For this to occur, it is necessary to listen to the people living in these spaces and understand how relations among them are built up to allow them to live more safely. Questions: • Is the Gift Teory adequate to analyse and understand the practices of solidarity between the inhabitants of hillside slums and their relationship with the environment? • What kind of practices exist in the relationship of inhabitants and neighbours and with the environment in the low-income areas? • What forms of solidarity exist in the community – tradition, memory, history of organization and mobilization? • What kind of factors contribute to practices of solidarity in the relationship among neighbours? // Qualitative analysis has being carried out, using open focus and group interviews with decision-makers, technicians, leaders, community health agents, socioenvironmental agents and inhabitants. The aspects to be analysed are: the forms of participation and the circumstances and themes in which the practices of the population express solidarity; initiatives associated with giving-receiving-retribution; public action in the location and the definition of public spaces. State of development of thesis: The thesis will be concluded in 2010. Now I will start the focus group and I am writing the chapters. The hypotheses are: • Practices of solidarity developed by the population who live in low-income areas can contribute to improving the quality of life in these areas, because they can facilitate the development of practices to mitigate the problems of living in these areas, and (re)establish social links. • The Gift Theory is valid to explain the relationship of solidarity among the inhabitants of low-income areas when dealing with the daily difficulties of living in these areas, because they have or can develop the capacity to give-receive-retribute and with this they can create social links. • The nature of these areas and the environment and the deficiencies of public planning in providing for the common good promote practices that place dwellings at risk, but also practices of solidarity between inhabitants. • Discovering the situations that promote such behaviour may help in the formulation of public policies to encourage solidarity. The fragility of the infrastructure, and also the blurring of public and private space, limit the scope for solidarity.