Last week, Solar Cities Solutions visited the greater Rio area to continue their efforts to build biodigesters in up to four favelas prior to the 2014 World Cup. During this visit the team completed the first set of biodigesters in Niterói that will serve a school in one of the communities affected by the tragic landslides of April 2010. Solar Cities Solutions worked on the Niterói site with Architecture for Humanity (who are concurrently constructing the ninety-person day care center the biodigesters will be utilized by), the future head of the school and local environmental engineers and architects.
Biodigesters are an ancient technology, historically More >
The critical period of potential landslides on hillsides is just beginning. Unlike floods, which form immediately during a very large rainfall, landslides generally depend on a slightly slower process, where the determining factor is the level of saturation of the soil. The houses that fell apart last month, in Complexo do Alemão, did so primarily because of fragile construction, and not movement of the soil. When there is heavy rain for many hours or days, water infiltrates the soil at a higher velocity than it seeps out, generally due to percolation or evaporation. The mechanical resistance of soil greatly diminishes More >
Last Wednesday December 11, heavy rains devastated large parts of Rio de Janeiro’s urban metropolitan region as rivers overflowed, areas flooded completely and landslides occurred on some hillsides. It’s estimated that at least four people died and around 6,000 people have lost their home and belongings. The worst affected areas are located in Rio’s North Zone and, just further north and outside city limits, the Baixada Fluminense, lower-income regions where the historic absence of the state has been felt in the relief effort as community organizations have mobilized to support those affected, while criticisms of uncoordinated, contradictory and culpable government action More >
In a city full of beautiful distractions—nature, people, music—it is often easy to forget what is going on beneath your feet. However, for officially more than a quarter of the population in Rio de Janeiro, but likely much more, what is happening, or more appropriately, not happening, is difficult to ignore. According to the Ministry of Cities, 30% of the population in Rio de Janeiro is not connected to a formal sanitation system, and even in areas with formal connections, only about half of sewage waste is treated before entering into waterways and eventually the ocean.
These figures are a best case scenario, More >
Vila Laboriaux, with its dramatic view of beach on one side, lagoon on the other, is situated at the peak of Rocinha, Rio’s largest single favela. The community, between tranquil forest and the hustle and bustle of the Estrada da Gávea, is joining an increasing number of communities using self-help planning to tackle issues on their own terms. On Sunday August 4th, around 100 residents gathered on the local football pitch to begin drafting a document to outline both the potentials and challenges of their community. Residents of this neighborhood have been fighting the threat of evictions since a handful of neighbors suffered a landslide More >