The key issues to be dealt with in this Project Establishment (PE) is the "combined and uneven" social development of Brazil: reduced poverty, but persistent extreme inequality. How can this be best explained? The PE will design a bottom-up approach, fo cusing on the role of the cities: First, we need to explore the local government dimensions. Some Good Practices have to be identified: cities that are in the forefront against poverty and inequality. Second, the intergovernmental (national) dimensions m ust be taken into consideration. They are very complicated in the post-1988 constitutional democracy of Brazil. One method to be assessed is to track the participatory-democratic good-practice cities: Which hindrances vs. support do they face at higher le vels of government when they fight against poverty? Third, the international dimensions: The outside world is quite interested in the Brazilian city experiences. What can be learnt from Brazil? A meta-reflexive approach could be incorporated in the rese arch proposal. How do the foreign observers, visitors and dialog partners influence the Brazilian protagonists? The PE will use the plural-form, "experiences", rather than the singular (the Brazilian experience). The research should try to identify posit ive as well as negative lessons, and it ought to underpin the specific local Brazilian conditions. An overarching task of the Project Establishment is for NIBR to forge links and prepare effective co-operation with four institutional partners:CEBRAP: C entro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento.PUC/SP: Póntifica Universidade Católica de São Paulo - Observatório das Metrópoles and Sociology Department.Brown University (USA): Watson Institute for International Studies.CROP: Comparative Research program me on Poverty (finance & resource; networking, publishing role in an eventual research project).