City making festival in São Paulo

Programme Maker Charley Fiedeldij Dop participated as an international guest speaker at the urban festival in Brazil.

From November 23-26, Pakhuis de Zwijger took part in the first edition of a city makers festival organised by the urban collective ‘O Instituto A Cidade Precisa de Você’ (The City Needs You Institute) in São Paulo, Brazil. Pakhuis Programme Maker Charley Fiedeldij Dop was invited by the Institute and the Dutch Consulate as an international guest during the festival. Here you’ll find an overview of this city makers festival in São Paulo.

The non-profit organization ‘A Cidade Precisa de Você‘ is an urban collective that discusses, activates and transforms public spaces through Urban Education projects, setting up Do It With Others (DIWO) urban maker spaces, and by developing models of Doing It Together (a collaboration between different urban actors). Doing so, this interdisciplinary network is committed to building fair, innovative, democratic, safe, healthy and vibrant cities.

During this first edition of Festival A Cidade Precisa de Você, the institute used these three focal points to discuss the creation of innovation, democracy, and diversity in urban public spaces. In four days of activities, they invited all participants to come together and discuss how to co-create, re-invent and re-occupy the city and its public spaces in a participatory way:

Day 1 /  Urban Education – Opening night

The opening night of the festival focused on various front(wo)men of the Institute that introduced the urgency of a collaborative approach towards the development of public spaces. Especially in a metropole as São Paulo, where the challenges are urgent, but the relationship between the municipality, its (active) citizens and public spaces are relatively young. The Institute also presented their new Urban Education courses to the audience, which focus on urban development from a broad array of themes (a.o. social ecology, the position of marginal communities, the decentralised city, and the urban commons).

Finally, the joint exposition of the Institute and Pakhuis de Zwijger ‘Fazendo junto: outra cidade possível‘ (Doing It Together: Other City Possible) was opened, which looks at several initiatives in Amsterdam and São Paulo in which top-down and bottom-up collaboration is key. The examples from Amsterdam were selected from the acceleration program, Amsterdammers, Maak je Stad! (People of Amsterdam, Make your City!). The exposition can be visited until December 15.

Day 2 / Doing it Together – Urban collaboration

On Friday night, Charley joined a panel discussion with several Brazilian city makers on the how/why of top-down and bottom-up collaboration in public spaces. A challenge that cities all over the world deal with, though within different contexts. As international guest speaker, Charley shared the perspective of Pakhuis de Zwijger. The Amsterdam Approach (which made Amsterdam win the European iCapital Awards) and spin-offs as Amsterdammers, Maak je Stad! and the We Make the City Festival in June 2018 functioned as examples of a multi-stakeholder approach (which incorporates all stakeholders in cities in the solutions of urban challenges).

The evening closed with a special open-air screening of the urban documentary Elevate 3.5 by Cine Solar (the first moving open-air cinema that works on solar energy in Brazil) on a public square in São Paulo.

Day 3 / Doing It With Others – Urban workshops

Natália Garcia, Cidades para Pessoas

On this third day, students from the faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Escola da Cidade, joined collective workshops in which they built urban furniture for a public square in the city. In the evening, journalist Natália Garcia (co-founder of Cidades para PessoasCity Embassy and partner of Pakhuis de Zwijger) shared food and thoughts with the audience in an intimate session on how to find your position as a person and city maker in the network of paths and urban challenges that the city offers.

Day 4 / City expedition

After Charley gave a more in-depth presentation about Pakhuis de Zwijger, the Institute took the participants to the streets of São Paulo. During an urban walk, they visited several public spaces that are co-created, re-invented and/or re-occupied by and for the citizens, such as the Minhocão, an elevated highway running through the center of the city. It’s closed for car traffic on Sundays, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to use its space.

The festival ended on a public square, with a picnic (with unconventional plants), music, and a demonstration of the urban furniture developed by the students on day #3.