SLUM lab studio newspaper, Spring 2008

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MAY 2008




CONTENTS 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 11


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CREDITS/ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS From the moment we first conceived the SLUMLAB, we have been extraordinarily fortunate that so many people believed in our objectives. It is impossible to name all that have joined us in the Studio or to give the full measure of our gratitude for their help and comments. SLUMLAB was made possible by the encouragement and support of Mark Wigley and David Hinkle. We would particularly like to recognize Mark Collins, Toru Hasegawa, Fernando Mello, Milton Braga, John Frankfurt and Rob Garfield from the Columbia University CCNMTL, all at the City of São Paulo's SEHAB / HABI agencies and friends from Paraisópolis, who stood by us as we worked on this project. For their hard work, collaborative efforts, unflagging interest, and belief in our goals, we thank the students who made this studio possible. Cover photo provided by Tuca Vieira. All other photos are owned by the GSAPP SLUMLAB. Texts are credited to the authors. Daniel DeSousa and Alfredo Brillembourg, U-TT NY office, designed the original conceptual layout of the paper. We wish to thank Elizabeth Franca and Maria Teresa Diniz for their generosity in hosting the Columbia GSAPP Kinne fellows and providing background material. Material from Christian Werthmann’s studio is owned by the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Material from Reinhold Martin’s studio is owned by the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. The SLUM Lab is a loose unit of researchers and practicitioners operating out of the Columbia Univesity GSAPP. For more information, see 2

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but rather as urban acupuncture intended as an impure act of regeneration.

Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner Urban Think Tank COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ADVANCED ARCHITECTURE STUDIO VI SPRING 2008

Today, we question the status of the city in all of its ontological security. The barrios of Latin America or the impoverished suburbs of European cities cast doubt on the traditional notion of city growth as a self-contained and rational thing born from the logic of the functional organization of space. Who has a right to the city and Forget about Utopia, this is a dispatch from the front to what uses may property reasonably be put in an lines of the Global South – blade runner in the tropics. increasingly segregated world? What are the theoretical This is a SLUMLAB report from the Petri dish of social convergences between the notions of private and public transformation. A speculation on the future of the city as property and the constitution of architectural work in the a vast modernizing “slum”, a dense networked Sustain- developing Global South City? able Living Urban Model. In the favelas and barrios, of Latin America’s Global South (SUR GLOBAL), designers and architects are forced to work like Médecins Sans Frontières, trying to effect change and solve problems without institutions to turn to or draw support from. São Paulo is an ideal place for generating ways to navigate webs of neglect, instability and provides our platform at the geographic center of the Americas. A microcosm third-millennium mega city, caught in a Darwinian evolutional transformation. São Paulo shows tomorrow’s debates merit attention today.

Risk Zone, Paraisópolis

In this issue of the SLUM LAB report we describe the urban cultural context of Latin America and how this context breeds implications for a new urban discourse, re-imagining the nature of cities in the south. Illustrated by GSAPP studio ideas, we use specific examples from the SLUMLAB students. We conclude by presenting a rough agenda for architecture and design, positioning architecture at the intersection of the economic, social, political and sustainable. Throughout we focus on the GLOBAL SOUTH urban region because it is where we work and what we know, but we hope that our observations can be generalized to a certain extent to the rest of the Global South, and specifically to Latin America. Moreover, we believe the lessons of the informal city extend to the developed world as well, where informality can also be observed

World Informal City Map, Harvard GSD

In sum, the relevance of this kind of thinking is to emphasize the dematerialization of the total work of architecture, to instead compose buildings out of an interchangeable “kit of parts”, a flexible, viable urban architecture that could function as a life support system for developing city cultures in perpetual change and in urgent need for available solutions. The student work is also about presenting urban concepts of retrofitting, stacking and overlapping as a generative hybrid design process. We want to present an urban design strategy, which is agnostic and experimental. It is a bottom up strategy for architects that emerges within the local community and reuses, adapts and modifies the existing infrastructure of the city as a point of departure. As such, these design ideas demand certain contextual reassessment. In other words, the built interventions cannot be linked uncritically to their built environment as cohesive and whole,

Informal City Growth in São Paulo, Harvard GSD

Slum Lab Workshop, Paraisópolis

Formal/ Informal, São Paulo

SLUM LAB SLUM LAB (Sustainable Living Urban Model) is searching for a philosophy of urbanism predicated on empirical realities in the Global South. The context is Paraisópolis, a city of 70,000 inhabitants that is less a place, or even an alignment of places, than a condition of what constitutes today’s Cities in the Global South. In a sense, the announcement of a global south is premature, as even now, ever-accelerating global and local events are unfolding in real-time. This studio is about reverse flows: The North looks South and back again. As the studio title implies, Urban Think Tank endeavors to focus on the culture of architecture in Latin America, and this studio semester was particularly oriented as a type of post-housing studio. The studio is an attempt to develop complex social and architectural strategies that transgress, with distinct ambitions, the urban reality. We identify and react to actual social processes, building theory and practice in developing world cities. São Paulo, whose metropolitan population has grown since 1940 from under 2 million to more than 17, is an extreme example to research. The archetype of this crisis is the “informal” zone, exacerbated by rising poverty levels, weakened institutions, and other signs of urban crisis. Rapid urbanization in these areas has left huge gaps in both physical infrastructure and theoretical understanding. Policymakers and designers have tended to treat these informal zones as blind spots in our cities. In the end, there is both a struggle and a synergy between social realities, architectural concepts, and urban ideas: each influences, constructs, and deconstructs the other. The studio had two components:

unexpected ways. In this newspaper, the studio presents the conclusions as 'lessons learned' in sustainable development rather than prescriptive solutions, and as a starting point for further dialogue and investigation.



Toru Hasegawa and Mark Collins GSAPP technical consultants

What started out as a conventional, street-gridded, commercial, single-family housing development in the neighborhood of Morumbi, São Paulo, after 50+ years has become a thriving favela the size of a small city. Along with the industrialization of the city came migration from the countryside, which in turn instigated a proliferation of favelas on the periphery. Rural areas often supply extra-market goods, services, and amenities to urban dwellers, who remain very poor in market terms. This migration from the rural to the urban is among the major factors of why slums expand. A community built entirely devoid of architects, Paraisópolis comprises a range of buildings: two- to three-storey structures of brick and concrete coexist with flimsy provisional shelters of polyethylene, wood and bamboo. Due to their unsightly nature, it is often assumed that it is these makeshift homes themselves which create the poverty. To this the answer seems obvious: demolish the housing and the problem will go away. But it is poverty that creates the sites of desolation where poor people live; it is not the environment that creates poverty. People built their own shelters not necessarily because they cannot enter the official housing market but because there was no sufficient housing policy to accommodate the influx of people migrating into the city.

1) To deepen investigation into design as a tool for sustainable development in the informal city. 2) To encourage dialogue through the establishment of an interdisciplinary student research program. In the first phase we critically examine the foremost examples of slum upgrading projects displayed in the GSD exhibition, “Dirty Work: Transforming Landscape in the Non-formal City of the Americas." We studied alternative technologies directed towards energy, water, waste, erosion control, and transportation in built examples of sustainable urbanism worldwide. DESIGN PROJECT In the second phase, the studio transferred green infrastructure principles to the real case of Paraisópolis, the “City of Heaven” in São Paulo. The studio worked with São Paulo city agencies to develop site-specific project proposals for select infrastructure upgrades. Designers developed strategies that address two main issues: finding an aesthetic approach to branding a place and shaping space to stimulate democracy, sustainability, good governance and tolerance.

Final review

We present these studio concepts not as abstract ‘truths’ but as perspectives developed iteratively, which are relevant to cities worldwide. This design methodology reacts to patterns that overlap and intersect in 4

The GSAPP SLUM LAB studio, in Brazil.

Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner SLUM LAB Directors

Fernando de Mello + Milton Braga SLUM LAB São Paulo local partner Elizabeth Franca and Maria Teresa Diniz Coordinators of São Paulo planning agencies PMSP- SEHAB HABI John Beardsley and Christian Werthmann Lanscape Architecture, Harvard GSD Pat Arnett Robert Silman Associates structural engineers David White NY Eric Rothstein Stephanie Trainer SLUMLAB / NY coordinator.

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All photos were taken on the occasion of the GSAPP Kinne Travelling fellowship to S達o Paulo, Brazil. The Columbia GSAPP generously supports an international trip in the last semester of study. The entire studio, as well as SLUM Lab directors and participants, met in S達o Paulo to visit Paraisoplis, meet with local leaders and participate in a conference on slum upgrading. These are a few images from the SlumLab archive, an amalgam of photos and videos of the trip, which took place in March of 2008.

SEHAB / HABI CITY OF SÃO PAULO The Paraisópolis Project aims at integrating the precarious communities to the formal city, through urban and land regularization, with access to the infrastructure, social inclusion and improvement in environmental, habitability and health conditions. Paraisópolis is the second largest slum in São Paulo, with 60,000 dwellers, and it stands out from the others due to occupying 900,000 m2 of private area and because it is very well located in relation to the job market, with a privileged accessibility. O Projeto Paraisópolis visa integrar seus assentamentos precários à cidade formal por meio da regularização urbanística e fundiária, com acesso à infra-estrutura, à inclusão social e à melhoria de suas condições ambientais, de habitabilidade e saúde. Paraisópolis é a segunda maior favela de São Paulo, com 60.000 moradores, e se diferencia das demais por ocupar 900.000 m2 de área particular e por estar muito bem localizada em relação ao mercado de trabalho e de acessibilidade privilegiada. The current Slum Upgrading Program has become more mature in its processes and renewed its practical experiences. The challenges of design and works faced daily by the multidisciplinary team show that one must investigate and seek new paths that are suitable to each new situation. The problems are so varied that the elaboration of a single model of intervention does not apply, since each solution must be “tailor-made” for each space. The prerequisites of the program comprise the universalization of access to public services, recognizing the effort already made by the low-income population in producing their dwellings. The removals are restricted to situations of geotechnical risk or those related to installation of infrastructure that required resettlement of the families in the slum’s vicinities. Social Work The project is implemented collectively, which strengthens the community’s social integration and reinforces the credibility of the government’s actions. The creation of new urban spaces intended for public use counts on the participation of dwellers through management boards or work front representative committees. The participative process intends to achieve a greater appropriation of public spaces and their subsequent preservation. The dwellers’ awareness is raised by the urbanization process so that they understand the benefits of the change introduced by the works and in order to create a commitment with the place of public use and social exchanges. The activities developed discuss themes related to maintenance and caretaking, environment, waste, culture, sports, transportation and circulation. Designs and Works With the design, one should be able to solve problems related to: infrastructure networks, pedestrian and road access, risk area elimination and public service installation. For such, urbanism, water, sewage, drainage, paving and geotechnical containment designs are 6

elaborated, in addition to designs of the buildings for resettlements of the families to be removed. Slum urbanization differs from other works in that it is a large worksite, where several families live, with minimal and precarious accesses. In many cases, the equipments and machines used to execute the services in the legal city cannot be used in the works. For this reason, less burdensome solutions are not always adopted but rather those more suitable to the reasonable standards of urbanity. The professionals responsible for the intervention must be creative and seek alternative solutions, bringing the standards in line with the reality. The works team from the Municipality and from the contractor is combined to the technical management team responsible for inspecting the works executed and to the social management team. The constant changes in scope, unpredictability of the work fronts and handling of social issues require great technical capacity from those involved. Together, these professionals continuously perfect their practices. Legal concerns The Paraisópolis Project faces an important issue that comes parallel to the urban regularization: the land tenure regularization, which makes possible to provide titles of use for the occupiers, the construction of new housing units and the original property owners’ compensation. The main issue concerning land tenure regularization that stands this slum out from the others of similar size and conditions, is that the entire occupation rests in private area. For this reason, the process in Paraisópolis is divided in two steps: the donation of land to the Municipality by original owners; and the concession of titles to the occupiers for residence purposes. Therefore, as legal instruments to accomplish the first phase of land regularization, the Law 14.062/05 and the Decrees nº 47.144/06 and 47.272/06 were published.

Below: Community graffiti project at Manuel Antonio staircase

They allow owners of the original lots to donate them to the municipality in exchange for debit remission or transfer of the right to build, for purposes of tenure regularization or construction of new housing units. Among the processes in progress, 50,000 m2 have already been donated, making possible the regularization of 548 families. Moreover, considering the lots in process of donation, corresponding to 64,278 m2, the benefit will reach over 1450 families in a near future. On the other hand, the empty lots donated to the municipality, which totalize the amount of 23,000 m2, are directed to the resettlement of families. In these lots, the project will build 516 housing units, already designed and contracted. Sehab Team Elisabete França – Superintendent of Social Housing Maria Teresa Diniz – Coordinator of the Paraisópolis Project Carlos Alberto Pellarim Flavia Felix Salviano Helen Mara Monpean José Eduardo Rossato de Campos Laura Degaspare Monte Mascaro Lucia Agata Luiz Henrique Tibiriça Márcia Maria Fartos Terlizzi Maria Angela A. Campos Maria Valeria P. B. Brito Maria Regina de Oliveira Marion Katcher Nancy Cavalete da Silva Natália Romano Soares Sylvia Mariutti

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HABISP: Information System for Social Housing in S達o Paulo City Good housing policies require accurate information on the situation of citizens in urban areas. Modern information technologies have improved data processing and have made available advanced decision support systems, including corresponding geographical references. The greatest challenge, however, is to keep the database updated with vital information for the decision making process. This was the reason for creating the S達o Paulo social housing information system. The system automatically calculates new data, based on information from other registered maps. Among the data produced by geographical analysis we can mention risk indicators, social vulnerability, health income, environment and zoning. In addition it generates new indicators of the occupancy conditions and the urban infrastructure using maps of road systems, hydrography and sanitation. Regularization. Each one of these areas has its variable, geographical analyses and specific prioritization rules. Besides helping to define properties in the attendance, the system allows information control during the process in which the programs are applied. Every family attended by the urbanization or regularization programs and even by other programs have socioeconomic records stored in the database. This data is used during attendance through reports, statistics and the thematic maps provided by the system, which remain available for future inquiry. The map is the main system tool. It allows inquiring all the information in any scale. It can also combine different data and produce thematic maps for better interpretation. It also has integrated design tools that can be used to insert or change data and geometries that are processed geographically (see image below). Left: Projects and community activities organized by HABI Below: HABISP (Information system for social housing)

WERTHMANN HARVARD GSD WHAT IF... Alternative Infrastructure in Paraisópolis 21 students at the Graduate School of Design in Harvard (USA) investigated alternative ways to manage storm water, sewage, energy production, organic and inorganic waste, erosion-prone hills, and transportation in Paraisópolis. They asked themselves “How can we turn big problems like trash, flooding, dirty water and rising energy costs into opportunities for Paraisópolis? How can we generate income and community value by providing alternative solutions to these problems?” Some of their ideas: What if Paraisópolis organic waste and sewage were to be converted into energy, and gas prices cut in half? What if summer rainstorms would not bring floods, but rather would replenish a public swimming pool where the children of Paraisópolis would learn to swim on hot summer afternoons? What if rainstorms would not threaten houses but feed several underground cisterns that irrigate community gardens? What if the steep hills of Paraisópolis were not to be covered in concrete, but planted with tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants? What if plastic waste were collected and transformed into shopping bags designed by the best designers of Brazil and distributed all over São Paulo? What if the new biogas plant lighted LED message boards at bus stations, laundries and pool halls? What if the streets of Paraisópolis could suck up rain instead of flooding the lower parts of the city? The students created over 30 boards that explain their ideas in detail and how they could be realized. Their show will be exhibited in Paraisópolis this fall. Instructor: Christian Werthmann, Associate Professor Teaching Assistant: Jonathan Tate Students: Justin Brown, Dk Osseo-Asare, Rina Salvi, Ryan Bollom, Jae Yoon Lee, Sylvie Nguyen, Natalie Pohlman, Leah Solk, Jerome Chou, Melissa Guerrero, Ellen Oettinger, Laura Shipman, Jin Zhong, Radhika Garg, Sabeen Hasan, Claire Abrahamse (MIT), Simon Bussierie, Stephen Gray, Sabrina Kleinhammans (MIT), Seetha Raghupathy, Nida Rehman (MIT)


Grow your own vegetables in Natalie Pohlman and Jae Yoon Lee’s designs where hanging vegetable gardens replace concrete covered hills. Nida Rehman imagines underground cistern to control floods. Simon Bussierie develops new promenades on grates suspended over the creeks. (no other captions provided)

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HOUSING PARAISÓPOLIS This Housing Project, allocated to 1000 families whose homes will be removed in the urbanization areas of the Paraisópolis favela, focuses on the insertion of these new buildings, at the same time as integrating the existing slums and creating an interface with the adjacent neighborhood of tall buildings. This typology provides buildings with 4 floors above the intermediate level of access and, below, spreading gradually and variably lower to adapt to the highly rugged topography of the land. The paved access roads are open for collective activities, leisure or education, in addition to housing units for the disabled. 7 “condominiums” have been created, including business units on the ground floor of some of them. This typology incorporates a frame structure on its perimeter, releasing the plan of the housing unit, with 54m², for possible changes by the resident, and consists of connective modules that can be built in stages. O Projeto Habitacional para alocação de 1000 famílias cujas casas serão removidas nas áreas de urbanização da Favela Paraisópolis, foca a inserção destes novos edifícios ao mesmo tempo integrando à favela existente e fazendo a interface com o bairro de edifícios altos adjacente. A tipologia prevê edificações com 4 pavimentos acima do nível intermediário de acesso e, abaixo, escalonamento inferior progressivo e variável para se adaptar à topografia fortemente acidentada do terreno. O pavimento de acesso é livre para atividades socializantes, de lazer ou educativas, além das unidades habitacionais para portadores de deficiência. Foram criados 7 “condomínios” incluindo unidades comerciais em alguns deles no pavimento térreo. A tipologia criada tem estrutura portante no seu perímetro, liberando a planta da unidade habitacional, com 54m², para possíveis modificações por parte do morador, e é constituída por módulos conectáveis podendo ser construída em etapas.



FIXING THE FIX Architecture can’t fix a favela, but the wrong architectural plan can put a favela in a fix. That’s what a group of architecture students from Columbia University began to grapple with when they visited the São Paulo favela of Paraisópolis. On first view, it seemed that city officials were doing the right thing in removing all the houses from the steep slopes of the central valley of the favela. This hillside, more of a ravine than a valley, was already prone to mudslides and flooding before people moved there. Paraisópolis residents built their homes on weak landfill made from uncompacted garbage, making the area even more risky. Relocating the residents makes some sense, because people could die in a heavy rainfall. But, as students walked around the favela, it became clear to some of them that the plan São Paulo has chosen to implement deliberately spurns an opportunity to reverse the social exclusion that has plagued the city’s favelas for generations. The city is building a six-lane road on the outskirts of the favela, a moat of traffic that will separate it from the rich castles and coops of neighboring (and hugely wealthy) Morumbi. And the favela dwellers won’t really benefit from the road. The old cliché is correct; the key to real estate success involves three things: location, location, and location. But the city uses the road to block off access to the favela. None of the new buildings – not any of the residences or commercial structures – offer Paraisópolis people a chance to develop along the road. What São Paulo could be doing is learning from the mistakes made in other places. When major U.S. cities built housing projects that turned inward, away from the roads around them, officials thought they were making improvements, providing new housing and play areas away from the fastflowing traffic of the city. Instead, these communities proved too insular, and became ghettos within ghettos. Though the buildings were new, they quickly became less desirable places to live than the older neighborhood buildings around them. Some students wanted to build one or two new towers to house the displaced Paraisópolis residents, and to use the rest of the land as park, playground and commercial space. City officials suggested this was doomed to failure because their experience is that favela residents don’t have the money or inclination to take care of elevators. Others wanted to change the location of the road, so that housing and stores could line both sides, as in other neighborhoods of São Paulo. City officials said that this was not at all the kind of development they were contemplating. Their ideas pushed this paradigm: if Paraisópolis truly shared the road with the rich residents of Morumbi, favela storeowners could possibly begin to attract a mixed clientele. A person who takes the bus from Morumbi might buy his or her newspaper or beer from a favela storeowner. This


could be the start of urban integration, in which the favela could cease to be seen as other – frightening, dangerous, unlawful – and rather gain a reputation for being what it truly is: a normal urban neighborhood. The danger for Paraisópolis is that the city’s plan, conceived as an effort to help residents living with the risk of flood and landslides, may wind up making the favela less safe, less desirable, and less able to develop. The periferia (the overall name for the outlying low income neighborhoods of São Paulo) doesn’t need to be peripheral. It doesn’t want to be peripheral. The problem is that city planners and fearful nearby residents conspire to keep these neighborhoods from becoming a true part of the city. Speaking personally, I admire the São Paulo city government for working inside the favelas. But I hope that, in consultation with groups like the Columbia students, their plans have room to become more communal: developed more by the favela residents themselves, who have no interest in building for their own exclusion.

Robert Neuwirth is a writer who has spent two years living in squatter communities on four continents. Neuwirth communicates the concern that these neighborhoods—which dominate most of the cities of the developing world—are vibrant and energetic, but horribly misunderstood. His book, Shadow Cities, is an attempt to humanize these maligned settlements. He regularly blogs at

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SITE POTENTIALITY Coming from a real estate development background, it is impossible not to admire the intensive efforts already undertaken by the City of São Paulo to improve services and amenities, land tenure and housing quality in Paraisópolis. The public sector has unflinchingly pursued upgrading efforts in some of the most technically complicated and politically charged conditions imaginable. Now the City of São Paulo has a truly unique opportunity in Paraisópolis. They are poised to acquire over 105,000 square meters of undeveloped land; not on the periphery of this sprawling city, but rather in an unusual no-man’s-land between the favela and an affluent neighborhood. It is rare to have access to such a large site in the midst of a builtout city. It is even more unusual for such a generous site to become available adjacent to a high-end neighborhood. The site’s location and access make it very attractive from a market-rate development perspective—the success of recent high-end housing projects and the strength of marketrate resales in the vicinity are evidence of this. However, this site holds even greater potential to demonstrate how the formal and informal cities can be knit together. It begs for an ambitious and innovative plan that leverages the site’s market potential, and attracts private sector resources to complement public sector investment. While the current plan for the site will result in over 900 units of much-needed replacement housing of acceptable quality and familiar form, so much more could be accomplished. A properly conceived project could create physical, social, and economic connections to fill the existing void. It is easy to see why São Paulo’s work thus far has captured the attention of the international community. This was evident at the International Policy Dialogue that was in session during our studio visit in March. The conference, organized by the City of São Paulo and the Cities Alliance, was especially inspirational due to the candor with which the participants talked about their shared and unique challenges.

The City of São Paulo demonstrated true leadership by discussing not only their great successes, but also by exposing their missteps. Their work, and their openness in discussing their process, is held in high regard by others facing similar dilemmas around the world. As a result, São Paulo is in a unique position not only to improve their own citizen’s lives, but also to influence thinking about how the informal and formal sectors of the city relate in communities around the globe. This site gives them a blank canvas to envision a new model, one that might help to bind the formal and informal, the affluent and not-so. The student work conducted in this studio was inspiring to me in its expansiveness and its resistance to formulaic traps.

Deidre Schmidt is a developer in Minneapolis and a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University GSD. She has worked to create affordable housing in neighborhoods at risk of gentrification. She has an interest in housing and urbanization in developing countries and studies urban design, architecture, and innovative city planning strategies.

Deidre at the Paraisópolis site

At the heart of democracy is the belief that people should control the decisions and processes that affect their lives. In this sense, the position of the favelado in Brazilian society is highly undemocratic, as she in particular is subject to forces outside her control. Housing and employment markets provide her few formal opportunities, police are quick to use violence against her, and an exclusionary politics is only concerned with buying her vote at a cheap price every few years. Historic Paraisópolis is both the product of these undemocratic forces and a refuge from them. In the past, scant government involvement left the community largely under the direction of residents, creating small spaces for democratic self-control. While severely limited by conditions of poverty and unequal integration into the larger city, this small amount of self-control allowed residents of Paraisópolis to achieve remarkable development against tremendous odds. In today’s Paraisópolis, this is changing. Since the passage of the Estatuto da Cidade (City Statue) in 2002 and the Programa de Aceleração de Crescimento (Growth Acceleration Program) in 2007, previously unthinkable amounts of state resources are being spent to regularize and urbanize favelas. Paraisópolis is only one example, with the government already having spent over R$151 million ($91.5 million U.S.) in the ongoing project, money that goes largely to government employees and private companies to complete the plans. If goals are met, roughly 60,000 favelados will have land-use titles, improved access to clean drinking water, recreational spaces, and better transportation infrastructure. There is no doubt that security of tenure and better public services, when tailored to the practices of a community, are good things. But the central question facing Paraisópolis is this: through these schemes for upgrading that come from the outside, will spaces for democratic self-control expand, or will they shrink? This is an extremely difficult question to answer. The city of São Paulo has engaged in an admirable level of community consultation through the process up to this point, even altering building plans on occasion when residents protest. But in a fundamental sense, consultation is not the same as control. Only favelados themselves, remaining vigilant and insistent that they be given more control over their own communities, will ensure that urbanização and regularização also mean democratização. Laura Tompkins is a Fulbright visiting scholar at the Laboratório de Habitação e Assentamentos Humanos da FAUUSP.

Real-estate transactions in Paraisópolis

Larura with kids from the Jardim Colombo favela



A zoning envelope that protects the continuity with the new, central 'park' space, as well as the Sierpinski organization around that generating space, is established

LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD How can a planned housing development take cues

from the logic of the favela, to anticipate growth? 900 housing units, for a static population, is hardly a realistic capacity for the only site still available for largescale construction in Paraisópolis. Triple the possible units. Allow for negotiation over time between regulators and the faveladas, so that they can have an equal stake in their environment. Only then can the transplants to this site see the possibility of transcending the otherwise restrictive, planned development in their future. The aggregating fractal logic of informal development is turned outside-in, to follow a subdividing fractal system, a Sierpinski carpet that becomes a logic of social organization as well as a massing diagram that locks in communal spaces. Functional open space— parkland with less than 6% slope—is protected, while sloped land is augmented to level out at a network of rooftop parks. This strategic building-up and multiplication of surface carries the added benefits of creating systems for rainwater retention and localized food production. Moreover, this network of public spaces connects to the football field to convey a new resource—a 'central park'—to the entire Paraisópolis community, while allowing a complexity of built configurations to play out beneath the surface.

some education (hh) educational facilities

The first phase of 900 units immediately produces a resource for the entire city, by creating as much open space at the same datum as the playing field, as the space taken up by housing.


MAY 2008 13

existing: 35 sq.m.

Above the Sierpinski fractal, the second-order fractal of a cellular automaton ruleset, into which 'expert systems' relating to light, air, infrastructure, and social proximity can be embedded, determines the potential growth of the building. Eight generations from low (dark) to high (light gray) are shown below in plan.

tetris: 50 sq.m. +/-

Below: the divisive perimeter road can be used to the advantage of the faveladas, as its changes in elevation provide access to all levels

40 sq.m.

proposed: 50 sq.m.


Program Diagram

Site Diagram

CONNECTING AND INTEGRATING Social spaces, retails and outdoor green areas are really significant in the favela. Therefore, by grouping these areas and linking them to each of the living spaces was my first move. And by introducing urban farming into the site, residents can grow small, light agriculture such as flowers, herbs and tealeaves, for self use and also could be sold in their self owned retail spaces. The agriculture would also bring an urban carpet that changes color throughout the site, according to the different seasons. The main green shopping strip would group the retails and restaurants together and goes all the way into the existing favela, so to invite people from the whole Parais贸polis to come and shop, and use the public facilities.

Density Diagram

Density Diagram

GIS Analysis

Concept Diagram


Program Study

MAY 2008 15 Typical Building Plan

Site Section A

Site Section B

Master Plan

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CHENG-LING CONNECTING DIFFERENT URBAN FABRICS This project provides a system for blurring the boundary between favela and wealthy neighborhoods. The overlapping Voronoi patterns create a multi-layered urban condition. By taking the original favela urban configuration and lifting the living space up, the project allows various activties—soccer, basketball, skateboarding—to happen on the first layer/ground level. Moreover, it creates a continuous landscape for events. The upper layer is the social housing building bars. Those bars are linked by the public buildings on the ground level and create smaller courtyards.


MAY 2008 19

MAROULI EVANGELIA PUXADINHO Observation of the self-production process in the favela allows us to see how a non-planned, non-rational settlement becomes practice and produces a complex social, cultural and political organization. The dynamic of these spaces is created by the inhabitants’ activity in spontaneous situations of life.By ignoring conventional and formal architectural practices, the inhabitants produce a unique city. Using this analysis of the favela, my project attempts to use this vibrant space production in the formulation of an organizational system applied onto a new site. Without compromising the essential qualites of favela life, the production of a mass-produced prefabricated unit is proposed in order to bridge the self-constructing ethos with a new logical infrastructure. This new type of urbanism will produce a constantly growing and ever transformative city that adapts to the needs of its dwellers and allows for its skin to change through time.


solar panel potable water tank

kichen and bathroom Unit

Self- assembling frame with structural infill

Wood Slat panel

Gray water tank


MAY 2008 21


The word “Paraisópolis” means paradise. The area Paraisópolis gathers people from suburban, poorer towns to the metropolis, which promise them better lives. Paraisópolis is one of thousands of slums in Brazil. Despite of the name “favela” (slum), Paraisópolis is a city of its own. A complete united community of inhabitants. Instead of merely considering the urgent problem of how to build 900 units to re-inhabit people removed from risk area, this project can be a chance to imagine a better city. “1921: part of the old Morumbi Farm was divided into 100m x 200m lots and these were sub-divided into smaller plots of 500 m²; with 10m - wide streets. Total number of lots: 2.200 1950s: occupation of the area began slowly 1960s: the real estate “boom” in the area led to intensiveoccupation. Street pattern officially recognized. 1970s: wooden shacks appeared throughout the area 1972: Zoning Law approved, under which occupation of the area was confined to one family per plot, and the settlements expanded as a result 1974 -1980: intense occupation of the area. 2000: with the expansion of Urbanism and the forming of its rich neighborhood, Paraisópolis became a land with high value in real estate.



A preoccupied anchor buidling in the site, which is the third part of the BIG PUBLIC CENTER for the whole city

The project proposes a system in which private housing is intergrated with public space. They become each other, help connect each other, enrich each other.

A brach inserts into the existing fabric, connecting the three BIG PUBLIC, and as the first probe of how the new meets the old, public meets private; Distribution of two type of housings, consistent to each’s topography and the fabric of its existing neighborhood An ‘artery’ system connecting the housing part to the anchor building and connecting the housing inside of each. Parking system functions together with the artery.

- house+open theater - house+skywalk - skywalker+connector - landscape+house - house+retail - open terrace+parking - house+entrance - house+bridge - house+filter

Basic survey “Private area occupied by the slum River beds occupied by homes and garbage Precarious infrastructure (water, sewage, drainage and electricity) Green and leisure areas virtually nonexistent Chaotic road system and lack of access to houses Houses built on dumped rubble and garbage”


Contract to the homogeneous fabric in the whole city, there’re two BIG blocks emerge from no long after the city came into being: the soccer field and the high school. They are called BIG PUBLIC here. To consolidate the spatial significance of this part and promote it to be a public convergence of the whole area is to strengthen the urban hierarchy. Aside to this big public, our site was provoked to rise another BIG PUBLIC, with which to bind the three pieces creates a virtual center in the city.


Located at the highest part of the entire city, what is constructed here has the possibility of being at the high or low extremes of height. It goes up. Overlooking the whole landscape of mundane lives, it appears to be quiet and clear. He is walking along the platform. Suddenly he becoms a beloved citizen of the paradise. It also goes down, immersed into the sea of housing. It connects small communities, carves out public containers, and reshapes open spaces.

MAY 2008 23

“—For the residents, is there any difference in spends according to the location and orientation of those house? —No. There’s no difference. But interesting thing is the new inhabitants will choose their neighbors.” Open theater


Public transit


There are four types of housing. This polymeric treatment is both a responsive way of building in terms of location and topography, and a social-functional strategy of inhabiting groups with different needs. The strips are the first to be built for the most efficient way of inhabiting the majority of people. The Anchor housing will be set to redefine the condition of the site to grant public importance. The branch are programmatically flexible. Can be used for temporary removing accommodation, or hostels open to the visitors. The independent houses at the south part are for people intended to stick to bigger family and wanted more privacy.

Diagrams of public spaces interwine with private housings.

Unit of the independent housing. Having different entrance of each family, the sitting on the topography respond to the way people get in, and increase the privacy as well.


MOBILE COMMUNITY – INTERVENTIONAL INFERSTRUCTURE Urban design for the extension of Paraisópolis intends to open its boundary to the city by creating new transportation infrastructural system, such a new highway, a pedestrian bridge, and continue roof walking loop. Participation, permeability and conviviality will be the key words for this project. Following the idea of traditional street life, the new type of housing caters to the variety of living arrangements of contemporary families through a flexible building plan, which will allow for different programs and ways of living, thus increasing the useful space shift of the building. While maximizing land occupation for its residents, the matrix housing units create their own ecosystem that act in symbiosis with the surrounding landscape. The whole green roof, which is served as a new social park, covers full density mat housing, and takes advantage of the regional urban context. Paraisópolis will become a vital and dynamic residential community through its master plan and buildings that effectively address the needs of emergent cultural and environmental trends.

Conceptual Sketch

This new project intends to raise awareness of sustainability issues and to explore new structural and poetic aspects of the green and rain and their role upon our leisure, science, and ecology. The design is comprised of a transitional building, safe public areas, and a plaza, within a larger green space than before. The design concept is based on the phrases “under the sky.” The building shape is intended to create a central gathering plaza, open to sky and green, with the horizon in the distance. This geometric surface, with its bended over-the-valley shape, forms the character of the main leisure space, while the central glass structural containers form the over-the-valley shape rainwater collectors. Thus, the concept generates a unique profile and form for the interventional infrastructure system, and through its insertion and efficient site utilization, the project integrates seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.

Programatic Site Plan 24

MAY 2008 25

Geometric Diagram

Aerial View


AMALGAMIZING PARASOPOLIS The premise of the project is to produce a new urban mixture. Taking the idiosyncratic qualities that Paraisópolis inadvertently created over time, it’s spaces became a catalyst for a formal exploration between the boundaries of the old and new, informal and formal, and traditional and modern. By carefully studying these spaces from cutting into a block of Paraisópolis, I found that these areas provided new definition of boundaries that generated or hybridized a diverse program within a dense population. The scheme became a deformation of these voids developed from an extrusion of spaces into a variable shifting of their boundaries to make different gradients of performances with program at various levels.

_ Study of an example block from surrounding Parasopolis _ Integration of the formal grid to the informal interior of the block

Strategy: _ Extrapolation of site qualites by mapping open spaces _ Studying how a 2D photo become 3D space _ Inverting the sectional shape to become volumetric _ Combining different sections from these analysis in order to extrude and to be deformed to create a new mixture

_ Producing the variety of sections to come to a conclusion of 5 pieces (each having different qualities of spaces)

_ Sections are placed along 9 bars with different programs in each _ Connecting the larger programs to produce a cohesive landscape


_ The misshapen form causes different levels of programmatic richness

and opportunites for connectedness and breaking the view of the long row of housing

MAY 2008 27


Below: Deborah Grossberg, Bank of the South Studio Project

Below: Chad Kellogg, Bank of the South Studio Project

Siting the Bank of the South at the original core of Sao Paulo and spanning three non-functional urban monuments — a renovated market, an abandoned vertical favela, and a stateguarded civic park — forces the development bank to turn its attention back to the problem of the megacity's shrinking center and growing periphery. Touching the ground minimally, a solar canopy overhead delineates a newly inhabitable landscape at ground level and shades a public promenade snaking through the building. Reproduction of money through the circulation of capital is paralleled by a catalog of invented architectural typologies of circulation space functioning to expand the public realm of the city. The building acts as micro civic infrastructure by re-engineering the ground plane around urban monuments, setting a precedent for the bank's future development projects. —Deborah Grossberg

The intention of this design is that it can help formulate the Bank of the South's mission as well as its mode of operation. The design is developed around an exhibition space at the center of the bank. This space symbolically bridges over the existing infrastructure and connects the two neighborhoods one either side that have been cut off from each other bay the freeway. The inverted facade of the banking hall represents, and even simulates through its formal language the complexity, the way that financial capital operates. Ultimately this building is about exposing the relationships between the different groups of people that bank both protects and affects. —Chad Kellogg

Archive and Experience at GSAPP Early in January of 2008, a week long electronic interchange with Reinhold Martin excited us at the SLUM LAB about the possibility of interacting between Columbia GSAPP Studios. Truth be told, both studios were complex and had what seemed contradictory programs. However, both studios interchanged midterm, final juries and shared a surplus of images and ideas in the KINNE trip that were memorable. Excerpt from studio syllabus, Reinhold Martin Advanced Studio, Columbia University GSAPP 2008 *Think Tank 2.2: Money* This studio will deal with the question of meaning and of representation in architecture. It will do so with reference to an object that is, strictly speaking, meaningless: Money. In an age dominated by finance capital, money is at once the ultimate virtuality and the ultimate reality. Its value, initially extracted from human labor, rises and falls on the basis of its circulation. Though in and of itself money is immaterial, its circulation depends on any number of material infrastructures, each with their specific set of protocols and techniques. Among these are banks—institutions that, since the eighteenth century, have been primary objects of architectural representation, often in monumental form that reflected (and also helped to produce) the presumed substantiality of the bank’s contents. To design a bank today is to engage this tradition, however remote, at a moment when “all that is solid” may seem long ago to have “melted into air,” especially for those who are powerless to control the flows of global capital. This studio will therefore ask: What does money represent, today? For whom and to whom? How? Why? And therefore: What does a bank represent, today? For whom and to whom? How? Why? And therefore: What does the architecture of a bank represent? For whom and to whom? How? Why? And therefore: What does architecture (as such) represent? For whom and to whom? How? Why? And finally: What should architecture represent? For whom and to whom? How? Why? *A Proto-thesis* In response to the above set of conditions and issues, each student will be responsible for the development of an independent project—a proto-thesis that responds to the general framework established by the overall studio.



MAY 2008 29 Below: Luoyi Yin, Bank of South in S茫o Paulo






Below: Jieun Yang, Bank of the South at the edge of Parais贸polis



SLUM TECH: HEAT MAPPING Technology has become increasingly urbanized in recent years, which is to say that it has become portable, spatially aware (through cell tower triangulation and GPS) and highly networked, participating among many shared protocols (GIS, KML, XML, RFID). The effects of this urbanization are still unknown - the speed at which technology changes (or obsolesces) creates a frantic quest for the ‘killer’ app and gives little time for practices to grow into maturity. We are just seeing now a truly mature web platform - the spatial technologies that have only now become consumer-grade have yet to locate themselves beyond the narrow goals of their developers. Technology and the slum condition, at first glance, seem at odds with each other. However, trends in technology have moved decidedly towards low-cost, human-centric design and distributed cloud computing. The embededness of computing and allied “devices” (ranging from RFID tagged clothing to digital alarm clocks) tie us into a grid of information, one that increasingly penetrates into even under-served markets such as the slum.

We start with the assumption that mapping of such a complex area is best achieved as a distributed task and that such an activity would be carried out simulataneously by a series of agents (social workers as well as children, delivery trucks, and buses). Devices could be carried and installed to map traffic patterns, to understand pedestrian traffic, and to register and compare social worker contact with different areas of the slum. Our own efforts included the collection and transformation of GPS data to evaluate its usefullness as an instrument of strategic, low-cost urban mapping. During our frequent visits to Paraisópolis in March of 2008, we used a portable GPS transmiter (Garman eTrex Legend, MSRP $160 USD) which continually logs position, altitude and time on a 15-second increment. At the end of the week we had a large, passively gathered data set, with which we can examine speeds and bottle knecks, intensities of occupation, areas of public interest as well as areas closed off from use. Like all data sets, we need a critical mass, an aggregate of participants to aquire truly meaningful results. The promise is to de-professionalize mapping, to imagine all “agents” within the system as instruments of measurement.

Satellite reception inside Paraisópolis

Toru checks the GPS unit (above) Site-slope heat map indicating geotechnical risk areas, from software written for SlumLAB (below)

Already, walking through Paraisópolis, one encounters cell phones, game systems. The vanguard of digital appliances has yet to land, but one can imagine the immanent arrival of GPS-enabled smart phones and ad-hoc networked laptops. Even with the absence of the top-level consumer goods, all devices will have access to computation with a capital “C” via cloud computing, regardless of cost or size. In short, we are about to learn a lot more (if we care to) about everyone, and issues of privacy will pale in comparison to the demonstrable benefits of pushing all data into “the cloud”. The big question is, what do we do with all of this information? In the case of slums, this high-volume low-value information (GPS, cell phone transmissions) constitutes a shared measurement, in some places perhaps the first. These settlements, because of their very nature, are extraordinarily difficult to track, map and quantify. We ask a simple question of ourselves: how can we use this low-value data to understand Paraisópolis, to map this place? Heatmap generated in Procssing, based on GPS logs gathered between 3/10/2008 and 3/20/20008. The map shows the duration of subsequent visits to Paraispolis (at left) through inensification of color. 2008-03-17 2008-03-17 19:31:35 ?44.0 ?44.0 ft ft 19:31:35 Itenerary for the day: ► Architect Presentations at Paraisopolis ► GSAPP Student presentation ► FAU @ Universidade de São Paulo ► Local community board meeting


MAY 2008 31

TAKE-AWAY Our message comes from El Lado Sur, from the other side of the border. Every city needs a voice and we have heard the voice of Paraisópolis. São Paulo’s Paraisópolis, does not feature in glossy travel magazines nor is it used as a backdrop in the US film industry and might therefore not yet exist in the realm of imagination of today’s audience. We send this message out in a quest to establish reverse flows between North and South, East and West, by drawing places like Tijuana, Manila, Port-au-Prince, São Paulo, Abuja, Phnom Pen onto your mental map. We will aim to do so by taking you through the dense, political and creative visual landscape that makes up the reality of our work. Here the city organism grows in an unchecked manner, constantly retro feeding. In turn the accumulation of accidental design are now growing into the mega cities of the South that we are only “discovering” today. Although this kind of urban structure might appear new and exotic to our understanding of cities, we cannot call this an emergence. The cities of the Global South are a life form on the run, ever evolving steered by multiple un-harnessed forces (market strengths, political authorities, poverty, environmental powers) striving for survival by relentlessly building the urban organism that we experience in Caracas or São Paulo. It is intense and alive. The SLUM LAB mission can be summed up as follows: A process by which focused, small-scale architectural interventions can spread iteratively throughout a city to produce an emergent sense of order and effect massive urban change. In social terms, the acts of ‘local’ individuals or groups, which are interdependent and not stand-alone categories . A search for geometry that rejects symmetry but relies on the repetition of fractal, self-similar patterns at all scales. A process of happenings in Architecture, Biology, Mathematics and Economics, which embraces rather than obfuscates the complexity and non-linearity of the urban environment.

Global South as a an exploration into a collective territory of thought at the intersection of design in complex sociopolitical domains. Thus this non-alignment suggests a new territory a “new virtual SUR GLOBAL city” that transgresses hemispheric boundaries with a transient staff and global sights of intervention. For this purpose we created S.L.U.M. LAB, platform that works between Columbia University’s GSAPP and our office in Caracas and probes further. The idea being that architects and planners coming from their respective parts of the world would incorporate their insight and then return to their bases and hopefully pass forward the experiences gained creating a network of dialogue throughout the world of architecture and urban planing. Thinking about architecture for us means: theory (think tank), culture (fuel tank), and practice (do tank). Within this structure is everything deemed to be vital to the profession. Theory is not just an academic principle, but it is the principle with which architecture is organized, best described by paraphrasing Peter Eisenman “if you don’t have a theory, you can’t be an architect.” The hierarchy of theories is not unlike a biological theology of divide-and-hierarchize. By contrast, culture which is our food is brute matter, unthinking mechanism, but the essence of our architect DNA. Finally, distinct from ‘theory’ and ‘culture’ is a third approach, that of practice or in our case “do tank”. We are also interested in elements from the principle of organization that culminates into our life-force in architecture. We can simply refer to this as the principle of being an architect, the central concept that structures a whole field of investigation. We may differ with our sense of urgency, but conditions make it so that we are just glad when we discover something that enables us to point and say ‘over there...’ or perhaps, architecture ‘it’s alive...alive!’ again’. In positing such principles of process we articulate boundaries: livingnonliving, organic-inorganic, formal-informal. We can refer

to this practice as “boundaries of articulation”. Together, the principle of our life in the Global South and the” boundaries of articulation” of an architect are the two methods from which we think innovation can emerge. Urban-Think Tank has deliberately shifted from the formal traditional master plans to a strategy of activist architect who operates as initiator, mediator and designer. We work towards an urban model that aims to reflect the spatial necessities of a society in need of equal access to housing, work, technology, services and education as a principal right for all social classes. Because Caracas is our home and the Global South our culture, working in this climate we developed an architectural practice that transgresses with distinct ambitions in the urban reality which has allowed U-TT to endure a complicated practice. We believe that the opposition of ‘legal’ and ‘peripheral’ urban areas, the rich and the marginalised, are equally constitutive and therefore a new vision for the city model must be implemented for developing cities. The slum lab proposals here consist of perpetually redefining global systems (urban planning and legislation), looking for possible loopholes and uncertainties which allow the various human groups freedom of action. We propose urban models that aim to reflect the spatial necessities of a society in need of equal access to housing, work, technology, services, education and resources as a principle right for all city dwellers-an integrated ecosystem, if you will, that deploys all the mechanisms of cultural tradition, local climate and existing technologies.

A break with the assumptions of a status quo, which are doomed to be limited due to their closed system of reference. A flexible model of organization: one able to adapt. An acknowledgement that, in a built world bound by static elements, we can introduce and combine discrete structures or practices, previously existing in separate form, to generate new structures, objects and architecture practices. An assembly that injects ambiguities and redundancies into planning and design, to allow for speculation without resorting to pared-down minimalism. Our hope is that this paper will prompt innovative thinking and real urban solutions/proposals through reversing the flows from North to South and from South to North, from Urban-Think Tank in Caracas to NY and in reverse. U-TT wants to contribute the idea of an informal network for the




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