Within the concrete wilderness of the biggest city of the Southern Hemisphere, the city makers of São Paulo are working hard to turn their car-centric city into a more sustainable, inclusive and humane city. But while faced with economical and political instability on a national level, they are also challenged on a local level by a population that fears the public sphere and a newly elected mayor, who -unlike his predecessor- seems to show little interest in city making and the development of new kinds of urban living. How can these Brazilian city makers rethink, co-create and hack their own city in order to obtain long-term and impactful change? An evening with and for (Brazilian) city makers, on the challenges of change.
Cities in transition: São Paulo, Brazil
In the last couple of years, Pakhuis de Zwijger has been building a network of so-called City Embassies, connecting city makers and bottom-up movements throughout the Netherlands (Nieuw Nederland: Steden in transitie) and Europe (New Europe: Cities in transition). Last summer, Pakhuis de Zwijger broadened its horizons by opening two City Embassies outside of Europe: through its own start-up, Fabrica Ciudad, in Quito (Ecuador), and by joining forces with the organization Cidades para pessoas, in São Paulo (Brazil).
From cars to people
Cidades para pessoas (“Cities for people”) is run by four women: Natália Garcia (journalist), Juliana Russo (visual artist), Marcella Arruda (architect/urban planning) and Raffaela Pastore (production), who aim to resolve complex urban challenges by investigating, interpreting and experimenting with ideas for more humane cities. During this event, Natália Garcia will join us on Skype, to share her perspective on the development of the bottom-up movement in São Paulo, and on how Cidades para pessoas tries to change São Paolo from a car- to a people-centered city.
The city maker’s right to the city
Despite the challenges that the city has to offer, São Paulo also offers its citizens one of the most progressive legislation around participatory urban planning, through it’s City Statute (Estatuto da Cidade). This legal tool enables citizens to actively engage and participate in the sustainable urban planning of their city. The Brazilian-Dutch architect Paola Huijding has researched the possibilities of the City Statute in her hometown, and has recently started to work with this piece of legislation in order to develop special student housing within São Paulo. She will share her findings on the tools that city makers can actively use to improve the city they live in. What can Dutch city makers learn from their Brazilian colleagues, and the other way around?
The bikeability of São Paulo
Brazilian and Dutch researchers have already joined forces to improve the human face of the city of São Paulo. Initiated by Floor van Spaendonck (Het Nieuwe Instituut) and curated by Gisela Domschke (DOM Produção), Round N Around is a collaborative research project between the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam (HvA’s Citizen Data Lab), the University of São Paulo and Het Nieuwe Instituut. With the support of local bikers communities, the project aims to explore the technologies developed for the measurement and analysis of data on the user-experience of bike paths in the city of São Paulo. Doing so, cyclists, researchers and public managers are able to contribute to the biking ecology of the city, while encouraging the use of bicycle lanes. Researcher Martijn de Waal (Citizen Data Lab, HvA) and participant Maarten Woolthuis (co-founder CycleSpace) will share their insights and experiences from the Round N Around project.
Interacting with the city
Finally, the Brazilian Vitor Freire, who is currently residing in Amsterdam for a three months creative residency, will shows us how to have some fun with cities. He describes himself as a “choreographer of human interactions, creating content and experiences that can reveal and/or unlock something truthful and joyful about our lives”. In his homebase São Paulo, where many people have long felt fear for public spaces, Vitor tries to make people interact and (re)connect with their city through projects as IJO. He will give a short presentation of real and/or imaginary ways in which people can interact with their city.
Moderation by Charley Fiedeldij Dop (Pakhuis de Zwijger).