Archive for July, 2010
In their public presentations regarding the need for resettlement of “areas at risk” (of landslides and floods), the Mayor’s team focuses mainly on “guaranteeing safety,” and on peoples’ desire to have a roof over their heads. To their defense, unlike their predecessors, they are also paying attention to other factors, like access to transportation and jobs. That is an advance. Yet no municipal official mentions culture, community, or architecture.
Yet even in the communities “at risk,” there are many that insist on staying. In fact, the city’s public defenders successfully barred the municipal government from removing residents More >
The international press has provided positive coverage for several recent City and State initiatives. The community policing units, or “UPPs” have been successfully installed thanks to a State program in 9 favelas, driving out drug lords and providing a sense of calm, thanks to a more humane, well-trained and funded youthful community policing force. The federal government’s Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) has brought heavy investments in infrastructure to a handful of favelas. Attention is being paid to improved public transportation, ranging from expansion of the metro and Bus Rapid Transit, to teleferic cars providing free trips up More >
Since the threat of removal, community leaders were only invited to speak with the mayor after they led a demonstration with hundreds of protesters representing 20 communities outside City Hall in early March. Yet these “conversations” are described by organizers as “one-way dialogues,” where the City states its intentions without much room for discussion. The next meeting has been set when the city will present its resettlement plans and provide an opportunity for the community to present an alternative plan for the area (to compete with the Olympic bid plan that took top technical experts 3 years More >
Zoom out from Copenhagen, away from Copacabana, and let’s take a stroll a few kilometers west of Copacabana, inside the city of Rio, in Barra da Tijuca, an area of the city once characterized by endless marshes, that has been entirely developed over the past 30 years. Rio’s “Miami,” as many refer to it, Barra da Tijuca is characterized by 5- to 15-story buildings, just blocks from the beach with no mixed use. Moving away from the beach, and the private condos, one finds private shopping malls lining the main thoroughfares. More >
It was with anxiety and a tingle in the stomach that many Cariocas (Rio natives) glued themselves to their TV screens at 11am on October 2nd, 2009, awaiting the results of a decision that, should it be taken, was viewed as inherently transformative in determining their city’s destiny: whether or not Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Summer Games. Everyone was surprised when Chicago was removed in the first round. It was then Tokyo’s turn in the second. Then finally More >