Since 1970, the population of Manaus grew from 300,000 to over 2 million inhabitants. Many of those who arrived, lacking a place to live, squatted on empty lots and built palafitas—wooden shacks that sit on stilts.
By 2003 the city of Manaus faced important urban challenges as a result of rapid population growth, unplanned city growth, and a lack of investment in sanitation infrastructure.
The government of the State of Amazonas, of which Manaus is the capital, decided to take action to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of the igarapés and bring back the splendor of the city of Manaus. The government began preparing an Integrated Urban Plan for the city that included engineering, environment, urbanization, housing, social, and institutional action.