Mariana Faver_From public space to public domain

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A regeneration project for degraded public spaces in Copacabana

Mariana Faver Linhares - EMU Final Thesis - Spring 2009 - TU Delft


ABSTRACT by Mariana Faver Linhares

A regeneration project for degraded public spaces in Copacabana 1 st Mentor: Daan Zandbelt 2nd Mentor: Roberto Rocco

A place with strong social cohesion, where exchange happens between different groups of people can be considered Public Domain. A growing tendency of impoverishment of public spaces has been observed lately in many big cities all over the world since their meaning and functions change drastically. The fear of the public, of being exposed to the dangers of the world “outside� has also played an important role on the decay of these spaces. But an attempt to rescue and transform these spaces into real public domain, an attempt to give the city back to the people and value the public life has been constantly made in many places. The proposal of this research is to investigate which kind of public environment fulfils the necessary requirements to create a network of efficient public spaces that will improve the quality of daily life of people, create more opportunities and change the overall bad image of the area. The neighborhood of Copacabana was chosen as a study-case in order to develop a project for the regeneration of its degraded public spaces, especially outside of the celebrated sea front.



First of all I would like to thank my family that, even from far away, gave me continuos support in every possible way. I would also like to thank my mentors, the Dutch one: Daan Zandbelt and the Brazilian one: Roberto Rocco. They guided me with great competence, patience and encouragement trough this thesis development process. I am also very grateful to my EMU colleagues, I have learned so much from them... From presentation and working skills to “Cheers” in several different languages. I have no doubt that these 2 years of the course will be forever kept in a special place in our hearts. Special thanks to my cousin and future architect Luisa Faver for the wonderful pictures she took for me in Copacabana. Finally I would like to thank Joris Wiers who played a very significant role during this period, in my work and in my life. He helped making me go to the university every morning, in spite of the rain and made the whole period of the “thesis semester” much more fun.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction · Problem Field · Thesis Objectives & End Product · Methodology · Motivation · Relevance · Location 2. Location Analysis · Positioning in different scales · Historical Background · Demographic Overview · Morphology · Mobility · Uses and activities · Public Spaces · Conclusion 3. Public Spaces · Analyzed Public Spaces · Beach · Squares · Streets · Conclusion 4. Case studies · Introduction · Barcelona, Spain · Curitiba, Brazil · New York, U.S.A 5. Scenarios · Introduction · Copacabana a la Barcelona · Copacabana a la Curitiba · Copacabana a la New York · Conclusion

05 06 06 07 08 08 11 14 15 16 18 22 28 30 33 34 36 44 48

6. Strategic Projects · Definition · Mobility · Renovation and Creation of Squares · Interior of Building Blocks · Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) · Special Programs 7. Design Strip · Definition · Key Projects · Plan & Section · Mobility Integration · Pedestrian Bridge · Main Square · Community Center · Interior Garden · Banco do Brasil POPS · Favela Hostel · Evaluation 8. Conclusion · Transferability 9. Bibliography

77 79 83 86 88 90 93 94 95 96 98 100 104 106 108 110 113 115 116

51 52 56 60 65 66 69 72 75



PROBLEM FIELD “As the public realm has been growing increasingly impoverished, there has been a corresponding decline in meaningful public space and desire to control one's space, or to privatize. From a place that once combined production, consumption, and social interaction, public space has become compartmentalized. The social aspects of the street, for instance, have been suppressed over time in favor of movement (the road). And as public space has been transforming, so have private space and the relationship between them” (Nan Ellin, 1999). The situation described above can be easily observed in the context of the metropolitan regions in Brazil. The rapid uncontrolled growth of these regions originated several economical, environmental and social problems. Among these, the increase on the privatization of the urban spaces as an attempt to control it was one of the biggest threats for social life in the cities. Private life is becoming over rated because of several changes in our metropolitan/ globalized life styles. One of the most important being internet and the connection to the virtual public world. If you add to this new life style the fear of violence/ terrorism we have been experiencing in the last decades and the desperate search for a secure environment, you will have as a result the current depletion of the few left-over existing public spaces and the continuos decay of the public life. “Public time was dead; there wasn’t time anymore for public space; public space was next to go”

Police arresting suspect in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro (Jornal O Globo 23/03/09)

(Vito Acconci, 1990). Something had to be done. And some interventions began to take place all over the world in an attempt to rescue public life, several examples of successful renovation of public spaces could be observed during the past two decades in big cities such as Barcelona and New York. These renovation plans aimed at rescuing public places from the domain of the car and giving them qualities to value the pedestrian and the cyclist roles’ in the urban space. The issue of the public sphere in the contemporary metropolitan regions and its characteristics is to be investigated in this research. Given the huge scale and diversity of urban patterns in a city as big as Rio de Janeiro, I've chosen the neighborhood of Copacabana as a study-case in order to develop a project for the regeneration of its degraded public spaces, especially outside of the celebrated sea front. Copacabana is a relevant case study because of its iconic image in the national/ international mind, its importance as one of the most significant examples of neighborhood life and culture in Brazil and its clearly defined natural boundaries, making it possible to study it as a “chunk” in the city.

Square Serzedelo Correia, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro



THESIS OBJECTIVES & END PRODUCT The research aims to investigate the possible relations between the quality of the public spaces and the morphology of the urban fabric in an attempt to find guidelines/ criteria for the regeneration of decayed urban space in large South American cities. Through the analysis of successful examples of regeneration of public spaces, we expect to find some guidelines that could be applied in the context of Brazilian and other South American big cities to regenerate public spaces and reconstitute social interaction and exchange in the public domain. This leads to the following research questions: ? What can be learned from some relevant successful examples of regeneration of public spaces? ? How can this knowledge be applied to the context of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro in the form of design guidelines and planning processes, to improve the condition of public spaces? ? Could these results be applied for regeneration of degraded public spaces in other areas with similar problems?

The proposed methodology is to develop a “research by design” study, as described below: ? ·Literature review on the theme of the situation of public spaces in contemporary cities; ? ·Mapping and analysis of the current situation of public spaces in Copacabana using maps, diagrams and pictures ; ? ·Identification of different users of public spaces in Copacabana and their needs based on historical background, demographic overview, economic profile and social condition; ? ··Analysis of projects of regeneration of public spaces in BarcelonaSpain, Curitiba- Brazil and New York- U.S.A; in order to search for guidelines and design techniques; ? ·Design exploration in order to improve public spaces in particular conditions; ? ·Impact evaluation of the design project analysing possible effects and consequences on society, mobility, economy and landscape.

The end product should be a design exploration for the regeneration of decayed public spaces applied in a specific case study in Brazil (Copacabana) aiming to add overall value to the city image.


FEBRUARY Definition of theme and mentors Development of Thesis Proposal Literature review Location mapping and analysis Study cases mapping and analysis Conclusion of analysis Prepare Midterm presentation Design project for Copacabana Evaluation of the project Prepare Final presentation






MOTIVATION The personal motivation for this research came from a working visit to Vienna during the “Constructing the City� EMU semester. Many doors, porches, passages and galleries make the urban fabric of the city very permeable, creating several possibilities of routes and diversity of spaces. The quality of the public spaces in the city is impressive and made me think about the relation between the quality of these places and the permeability of the urban fabric. The following semester, in Barcelona, it was inevitable to notice a different kind of public domain from the one found in Vienna, but also very strong and coherent in the sense that it was possible to observe different groups of people interacting in the same public spaces in different parts of the city:

The old city centre, in Barceloneta beach or within the CerdĂĄ blocks. Barcelona is now famous for its public life, but this only began around two decades ago, with a successful plan for renovation of open spaces around the city. After having lived in Europe for one year and a half and having experienced different urban environments I identified a possible task and maybe a big challenge, to come up with a strategy to rescue the value of the public domain and the important role of public spaces for the development of decaying neighborhoods in large Brazilian cities, using Copacabana as a main study case.



Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro


RELEVANCE The Social relevance of this study is the aim at improving the social cohesion in degraded areas trough the regeneration and creation of public spaces, facilitating interaction between people, creating opportunities and minimizing the social segregation in the area. The Scientific relevance is to explore the possibility of shaping urban space trough design projects rather than trough planning and laws, as it is usually done in Brazil.


LOCATION The project location, the neighborhood of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, is a place of contrasts and the search for social cohesion will never be an easy task. The neighborhood along the most famous beach in Brazil has within its 508 hectares: 160.000 inhabitants, 80 hotels and 4 slums. The beach is the main space for social interaction in Copacabana. It’s the only place where all different groups of people get together. It’s also the spot where the biggest events in Rio de Janeiro (New Year’s Eve, concerts, parades...) take place, attracting many tourists and people from several parts of the city. Copacabana is well-served by public transportation, counting on 3 underground stations and several bus lines, but the noisy cars and buses seem to have taken over the main streets and the pedestrians and cyclists are not a priority in the current situation. The few open spaces inside the urban fabric seem to have none or insignificant social role in providing spaces for interaction. Many squares have become dangerous/ obsolete areas with poor architectural and social value. Most social interaction, business and commerce are concentrated along the beach and along the avenue running parallel to it, Avenue Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, which in spite of the constant heavy traffic, is also the main shopping street. As a result of the regeneration of the public spaces and the consequent improvement of the social cohesion, the activities for which the neighborhood is already known such as tourism, commerce, services and leisure are likely to be reinforced, improving the local economy. The final result could also act as an example for other neighborhoods with similar problems. But, as this text is being written, the latest Brazilian news are showing that Copacabana is threatened by the drug dealers’ war and 5 people have been shot in one of the most busy streets, Santa Clara Street. Criminals from the biggest slum in the city, Rocinha, are trying to take over the spots of drugs’ sales in a slum of Copacabana. Makes me wonder if I am not being so naive to think I can change the situation by designing the public spaces and trying to integrate people. Maybe I am, but some steps have to be taken in that direction since it appears to be the only way to stop this degrading situation.

160.000 inhabitants 350 homeless 4 favelas



POSITIONING - BRAZIL 196 million inhabitants 8.5 million km2 26 inh/km2 (ibge prev. 2008)


Rio de Janeiro São Paulo


POSITIONING - RIO DE JANEIRO 7 million inhabitants 1.200 km2 5.600 inh/km2 (ibge prev. 2008)

Metropolitan region

Guanabara Bay


Atlantic Ocean


POSITIONING - COPACABANA 160.000 inhabitants 8 km2 20.000 inh/km2 (









Images of the urban evolution of Copacabana (IPP - Guta)


Copacabana was a difficult area to be reached from the city centre because of the morphology of the land. Rocky montains isolated the oceanic beach from the rest of the city.

In 1892 Copacabana was incorporated to the city of Rio de Janeiro with the opening of the first tunnel and the extension of the tram line from the city centre. In 1904, a second tunnel was made improving the connectivity of the new neighborhood which was basically constituited of farm houses. In 1923, the most famous hotel of Rio de Janeiro, the Copacabana Palace, was inaugurated and ever since, it’s considered to be the best one.

1963 1960

During the 50’s and 60’s the neighborhood grew at enormous velocity and two more tunnels were built in Copacabana. By the 70’s it was already crowded with high-rise buildings. The beach became worldwilde famous for its beauty and bohemian character.

In the 70’s, a landfil of 70m of entension was made on the beach to protect the buildings on the coast. The Avenue Atlântica got the configuration it has nowadays with 2 lanes and the worldwide famous pavement by Burle Marx. Since the 30’s illegal occupations of ground in the mountains begin to take place and nowadays there are also 4 slums in Copacabana with an estimated population of 8000 people.

DEMOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW Demographic density (

Proportion of senior citizens in the total population (

Monthly income per dwelling (

$ $ $ $

$ $

Based on the information of the previous maps it’s possible to conclude that Copacabana is one of the neighborhoods with the highest population density rates, with a high concentration of senior residents and with one of the best economic profiles within the city of Rio de Janeiro.









Analysis of Building Blocks


02 100m


03 100m





05 80m

90m 280m


entrances limits inside core

The urban fabric in Copacabana is very dense and squeezed between the montains and the sea, this makes the neighborhood very special, but also very crowded. The building blocks have different shapes and sizes (from 80m up to 300m per side) and are all heavily constructed with private uses, even in their cores. Most of the time, these cores that are not integrated, each building has its own private area that has no special function besides ventilation for the apartments and, some times, parking spaces. The buildings are about 13 storeys high and make a strong pressure over the few open spaces. Therefore it’s so important to rescue the quality and use of those remaining open spaces and look for opportunities of creating new ones.

Interior of building blocks (Mariana Faver)


MOBILITY - RIO DE JANEIRO Express way Linha Vermelha Express way Linha Amarela High way Avenue Brasil Underground line Trein line Metropolitan region

Guanabara Bay


Atlantic Ocean 0

18 12





MOBILITY - COPACABANA Cycling paths Bike rental station

Main motorized vehicles’ flows

Main pedestrian’s flows Underground station



City centre (14 lines) South zone (14 lines) North zone (17 lines) West zone (7 lines) Metropolitan zone (1 line)

20 12

Bus Lines that pass by Copacabana 119 - Copacabana x Praça 15 121 - Copacabana x Estrada de Ferro 123 - Praça Mauá x Jardim de Alá 125 - Estrada de Ferro x General Osório 126 - Copacabana x Rodoviária 127 - Copacabana x Rodoviária 128 - Rodoviária x Leblon 132 - Estrada de Ferro 136 - Copacabana x Rodoviária 154 - Estrada de Ferro 175 - Central x Alvorada 177 - Praça Mauá x São Conrado 404 - Rio Comprido x Jardim de Alá 413 - Muda x Copacabana 415 - Usina x Leblon 426 - Usina x Copacabana 432 - Barão de Drumond x Leblon 433 - Barão de Drumond x Leblon 434 - Grajaú x Leblon 435 - Grajaú x Leblon 455 - Méier x Copacabana 456 - Méier x General Osório 457 - Abolição x General Osório 462 - São Cristovão x Copacabana 463 - São Cristovão x Copacabana 464 - Maracanã x Leblon 484 - Olaria x Copacabana 485 - Penha x Copacabana 503 - Botafogo x Leblon 511 - Urca x Leblon 512 - Urca x Leblon 521 - Vidigal x Metrô (Botafogo) 522 - Vidigal x Metrô (Botafogo) 523 - Botafogo x Alvorada 557 - Copacabana x Itanhangá 569 - Leblon x Largo do Machado 570 - Leblon x Largo do Machado 571 - Gloria x Leblon 572 - Gloria x Leblon 573 - São Salvador x Leblon 574 - São Salvador x Leblon 583 - Cosme Velho x Leblon 584 - Cosme Velho x Leblon 591 - Hotel Nacional x Leme 592 - São Conrado x Leme 593 - Gávea x Leme 740d - Leme x Charitas (Niteroi) 1133 - Recreio x Castelo 1134 - Castelo x Campo Grande 1135 - Castelo x Base Aérea de Santa Cruz 2015 - Castelo x Leblon 2018 - AIRJ x São Conrado 2113 - Castelo x Taquara

MOBILITY - CONCLUSION Even tough Copacabana can be considered of the neighborhoods with more public transportation options in Rio de Janeiro, many problems arise exactly because of the lack of integration between them in a metropolitan scale. There are 3 underground stations that connect Copacabana, the city centre and the North Zone. Therefore, for the greatest part of the city, the beach of Copacabana is the best accesible by public transportation, since all the beaches in the Guanabara Bay are polluted and not suitable for swimming. The underground stations also have a great influence on the pedestrian flows, creating a perpendicular flow in direction to the beach. 53 lines of buses pass trough Copacabana, specially in Av. N. S. de Copacabana and Barata Ribeiro Street, the main shopping and services’ streets in the area. This lines of buses ride to mainly 5 different zones of the city: Centre, South, North, West and Metropolitan region. They seem to be the “owners of the streets” and are a huge distress factor for the public life and quality of the environment in the area. Another problem identified in this analysis is that the main motorized vehicles’ flows coincide, almost all the time, with the main pedestrian flows. Therefore the environment is not so good for the pedestrian since they have to bear all the noise, pollution and distress that heavy traffic causes. Parking is another big issue since many of the buildings don’t have garages and the streets can’t accommodate the amount of private cars of people that live or work there. In occasion of the big events in the beach, parking becomes even harder and the urban chaos becomes worse since people begin to park in the sidewalks or on double lanes. The use of bikes has been recently encouraged and the municipality has already installed 8 points of public bike rental in Copacabana, but the amount of cycling paths hasn’t been increased and the use of bikes is still mainly for leisure purposes and not as a mean of transport in everyday life. Therefore, any project that aims on improving the quality of the public spaces in Copacabana has to deal with the rather chaotic situation of the mobility system in first place.

Avenue N.S. de Copacabana in New Year’s Eve 2008 (Mariana Faver)



Tourists Hotels Restaurants Shopping Leisure Sports Residents Tourists Housing Shopping Offices Restaurants Culture Hotels Housing Small shops Services Housing Housing Favelas


Copacabana can be considered as a neighborhood that has all of the main uses and functions that are necessary to work as a city. Based on the analysis of the previous map, it is possible to notice that these functions are spread in layers in a parallel direction to the sea. These layers could be categorized as: Sea, Leisure, Centrality, Housing, Favela and Mountains. In the diagram beside, we can observe this division in the map and have an idea about the spatial qualities of each layer, based on their image and users. Since shopping is one of the main functions in the neighborhood and this activity influences a lot on the public life , it will be further analyzed in this chapter, together with the street markets and the “Baixo Copa�.








resident of Copacabana

resident of other parts of Rio de Janeiro




Street vendors Small stores Fancy stores Big stores Department stores Supermarkets Shopping center Galleries


Shopping is definitely one of the main activities in Copacabana and it’s possible to find all sorts of products in all kinds of shops. From department stores like C&A and Lojas Americanas along Av. N. S. de Copacabana to fancy jewelry stores like Amsterdam Sauer and H. Stern at Av. Atlântica. Streets vendors can be found anywhere with a reasonable amount of people, but specially along Av. N. S. de Copacabana and at the beach. They also gather around the underground stations selling popcorn, ice-cream and soft drinks. As further one goes from the beach inside the neighborhood, there are less stores. Some local shops can still be found like bakeries, butchers and small supermarkets. There are also some popular shopping centers as the ones in Santa Clara street and some galleries. They are not considered public spaces per se, but they have collective uses and are consireded to be important meeting places. The most interesting of them is Galeria Menescal which links Av. N. S. de Copacabana to Barata Ribeiro Street, two of the main streets in the neighborhood.

Street vendor at Av. N. S. de Copacabana (Leo Chaves)

Entrance of Galeria Menescal at Av. N. S. de Copacabana (Selusava)

Inside Galeria Menescal (Selusava)


USES AND ACTIVITIES - STREET MARKETS There are currently two kinds of street markets in Copacabana, one with food and the other with art & handicrafts in the weekends. They are very popular among the residents of the neighborhood and they take place on the spots and days of the week showed on the map below.

art market food market Monday food market Wednesday food market Thursday food market Sunday

Market at Ronald de Carvalho Street (Matheus Guerra)


Watermellons in a market in Copacabana(Guilherme Bacha)

Art market at Av. Atlântica (Felipe Dellaqua)


a Atl ânt ic







mi ng os

S. d N. Av.

Ipan ema


o de

Fe rre ira

eC opa c



aba na

“Baixo Copa”is the nickname given by the residents of Rio de Janeiro to the area between the Streets Bolivar, Barão de Ipanema and Domingos Ferreira. Every night, people gather around the 20 bars and cafes to eat, drink and talk. During the weekends, this area gets very crouwded and tables and chairs are spread all over the sidewalks. Parking your car can be a challenge around here.


“Baixo Copa” during the day (Luisa Faver)

“Baixo Copa” during the night (Mariana Faver)





Public Spaces







New Years’ Eve








New Years’ Eve


















Beach Streets 0:00














Mountains Favela Housing

Centrality Leisure Sea

By applying the key attributes for good quality public spaces, suggested in the diagram on the left page, to the diagram elaborated with the division in Layers of Copacabana, we can identify that from the sea in direction to the mountains, all these attributes go fading away. It means that in the Leisure Layer, along the beach, we can find all these characteristics and, in the Favela Layer, none of them. In the next chapter, a detailed analysis of all the squares and main streets will be made in order to identify their qualities and problems and provide us with a more detailed understanding of the neighborhood.






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Housing Ho merc us e

Wo ods Commerce Com legend:




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intensity of use:

n a e c

period of use:

open fenced


day resident of Copacabana

resident of other parts of Rio de Janeiro







fishing swimming kiosks

Copacabana Beach passing-by staying


This is the main public space in the neighborhood and can be considered real public domain because all different groups of people get together and interact in this place. Its qualities are well-known all over the world, altough some of its weakenesses also. The 4 km long beach offers many leisure possibilities all year long, day and night. Events, concerts, parades, sports competitions are just some examples of what happens there.

events drinks concerts

passing-by staying

streets vendors

500.000 m2

passing-by staying (Mariana Faver)





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Square Almirante Júlio de Noronha Located in the end of Av. Atlântica, by the beach, this square has a conventional playground and a flexible area with a small amphitheatre. It’s mainly used by residents of the neighborhood, altought some tourists pass by it walking along the beach. It’s surrounded by a school, a miliatry base and housing.

playground amphitheater

6.400 m2

staying passing-by passing-by

(Mariana Faver)

Square Demétrio Ribeiro Located in the intersection between Av. Princesa Isabel and Barata Ribeiro Street, this square is hardly ever used. People just pass by it, there aren’t any activities that could make people use the space, specially because it is surrounded by very busy and noisy streets.


2.200 m2


SquareBernadelli ( Lido) It’s one of the most traditional squares, located between Av. N. S. de Copacabana and Av. Atlântica. It’s mainly used by residents of Copacabana and it has a conventional playground and one covered area with benches. Nowadays it’s fenced and closed during the nights. The square does not offer a good environment, in spite of the privileged location.

covered sitting area playground


staying 2

6.200 m

(Mariana Faver)


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Square Inhangá Located by Barata Ribeiro Street close to the underground station Cardeal Arcoverde. It’s mainly used by residents of the neighborhood, that take their chairs and tables and sit there to play cards and talk.

newsstand flower kiosk chess tables

800 m

staying passing-by


(Luisa Faver)

Square Serzedelo Correia Located by Av. N. S. de Copacabana, it’s one of the biggest squares in te area, but mainly only one part of it is really used, the covered area with tables for games. It also has a conventional playground. It is fenced and closed during the nights and it is surrounded by two very busy streets. It was the first square in Copacabana because it used to be the final spot of the former tram coming from the city centre.


covered area chess tables playground


5.100 m2


(Mariana Faver)

Square Edmundo Bittencourt It’s one of the most appreciatted squares, located in Bairro Peixoto, a very quiet area of Copacabana. It’s mainly used by the residents of the surrounding areas. It has a playground and an area with benches with a fontain.




passing-by staying

6.300 m2 (


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Square Station Cardeal Arcoverde passing-by

Located between Barata Ribeiro and Tonelero Street, its where the first underground station of Copacabana was built. It’s mainly used by people passing by. Hardly anyone stays in the square which also has a small playground and some chess tables.

chess tables

Play M ground flower bike rental ice-cream popcorn kiosk stand stand


2.500 m2 passing-by (Mariana Faver)

Square Station Siqueira Campos popcorn flower kiosk stand

Located by Barata Ribeiro Street, this square is also used by people passing by, going to and coming from the underground station. This station has two exits, one at Siqueira Campos Street and another at Figueiredo Magalhães Street. The square doesn’t have any other functions or equipments.



newsstand M

planned bike rental ice-cream stand

2.600 m2


passing-by (Mariana Faver)

Square Station Cantagalo It’s located at the entrance from Lagoa to Copacabana. This was the latest built underground station in Copacabana (2007) and the square where the stationis located was also renovated. It has a playground and some chess tables which are used by the residents of the surrounding area.


police stand chess tables

Play ground M

popcorn stand


3.100 m2 passing-by (


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Square Sarah Kubitschek This square, located at Av. N. S. de Copacabana, is dedicated to the senior population of the neighborhood. The decorated wall in the front separate the square from the busy avenue, the access is made by the sides of the wall .

1.200 m2



Square Peter Pan

1.800 m2

This is the only public space in Copacabana dedicated entirely to kids. It is built within walls and it has only one entrance located in the corner of Raul Pompéia and Francisco Sá Streets. It’s highly appreciated by the kids for having an unusual set of toys with small houses, castles and streets where they can safelly ride their bikes.


(Luisa Faver)


STREETS Avenue Princesa Isabel This is the one of the busiest avenues in Copacabana because it’s the entrance of the neighborhood for people coming from several other areas of Rio de Janeiro and from the metropolitan region.

housing commerce 3

3 3 3 3


3 3 3 3






Avenue Atlântica This is the Avenue along the famous beach of Copacabana. It’s a very important connection between Copacabana and its surroundings. It’s the main leisure area in the neighborhood, together with the beach. On Sundays and holidays, one of the traffic lanes is closed for the cars and opened to the public.

housing commerce 20



3 3 3


3 3 3 2.5




Hotels Discotheques Offices Housing Car rental shops




(Mariana Faver)


kiosks Restaurants



Housing (

(Mariana Faver)


STREETS private



Avenue N. S. de Copacabana This avenue can be considered the backbone of the neighborhood. It is the main shopping, business and services area, but it has also many leisure options and housing facilities. It has a heavy traffic of motorized vehicles, squeezed between continuos lines of high rise buildings. Even tough such environment is not very favorable for the pedestrians, they are all over the avenue, day and night, trying to divert the street vendors and beggars, disputing space with hundreds of cars and buses.

housing commerce parking 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3




Barata Ribeiro Street Parallel to the sea and to the Avenue N. S. de Copacabana, this street has also a very important role for the area. Its functions and activities are similar to the ones of Avenue Copacabana, but in a less intensive way. It also has the same dense environment, with high rise buildings on both sides and heavy traffic.

housing commerce 2 3 3 3 3 2




Siqueira Campos Street This street makes a connection between the neighborhood of Botafogo (trough a tunnel) and the sea. It has a central location in Copacabana. It has also a metro station which makes the pedestrian traffic very intense, specially on weekends, in direction to the beach, even tough the conditions of the sidewalk are terrible.

housing commerce 2 3 3 3 2




Schools Services Pharmacies Theater Banks Supermarkets

Housing Discotheques

Restaurants Bars Offices

Housing Banks

Housing Restaurants




(Mariana Faver)



Shops Bars

(Mariana Faver)


Services Hotels

(Mariana Faver)



Shops Offices Hotels Pharmacies

Services 47

Type of Public Space: Destination space: Beach Neighborhood spaces: Closed squares Open squares Children square Circulation spaces: Metro squares Streets Marginal spaces: Residual space square



CONCLUSION - ANALYZED PUBLIC SPACES The analysis of the public spaces of Copacabana done in this chapter, made it possible to classify them according to the type of public spaces and their quality as shown in the map on the left. The beach is the main public space. It can be considered a Destination space because it attracts people from the whole city of Rio de Janeiro, besides many tourists and these people spend there a considerable amount of time. It has a great quality environment and it’s used during day and night. Some squares can be considered as Neighborhood spaces because only residents from the surrounding areas go there and they don’t stay very long. These squares are situated on the Centrality and Housing Layers and specially the fenced ones, were considered to have a very bad quality. There are also the Circulation spaces which are the streets and the squares by the Metro Stations. The streets are not very comfortable because of the intense traffic of motorized vehicles. People’s circulation are not a priority in the current design. The squares by the Metro stations are mainly used for residents of Copacabana and other areas of the city, but only passing-by, coming or going to the Metro. They don’t actually spend time in these squares. There is also one square which can be considered a Marginal space. It has no particular use and it’s just a left-over space between very busy streets. It has very poor quality and can be considered a waste of space in such a dense area, in the Centrality Layer, of Copacabana. In the next chapter, we will make a research about three study cases, that relate to Copacabana in some way, in order to investigate how these cities dealt with the issue of the quality of public spaces.




To understand how the contemporary cities around the world are dealing with the issue of the impoverishment and transformation of the public spaces, some significative case studies were selected to develop this research and, further on, to design based on researched principles. Nowadays Barcelona is perhaps the first city that comes to our minds when the topic is public spaces in contemporary cities. It’s also well-known that Barcelona went trough a huge process of urban recovery which began in the 80’s. One of the adopted strategies was the renovation of open spaces within the city. The interventions took place in hundreds of underutilized or residual open spaces, creating a real network of fine grain open space. The positive result of the interventions had a great impact on the overall city’s image. Since Barcelona is a city that can be comparable to Rio de Janeiro in many aspects, such as the density, the grid system and the fact that both of them are metropolitan cities by the sea, it became interesting to investigate the process of regeneration of the urban spaces in Barcelona. Another selected case study is Curitiba, the capital of Paraná state in the South of Brazil. Curitiba is internationally known for its urban policy which comprises traffic, ecological, social, cultural and economic measures giving priority to a sustainable development. The integrated bus system and the pedestrian friendly center are the highlights of the project. Since transportation and pedestrian friendly public spaces are some of the greatest issues to be dealt with in the Copacabana case, the Curitiba case study is a very relevant one, specially because it’s also a Brazilian state’s capital like Rio de Janeiro . The New York case, with the Privately Owned Public Spaces Policies has proofed to be very effective in creating a network of pocket parks in a very dense and urbanized area as Manhattan. The project focuses on the improvement of the spaces for collective use in the ground floor level of the buildings. The mechanism relies on a bonus system which grant benefits such as increased height if the developer creates spaces for collective/ public uses. Permeability and diversity of functions on the ground level can be very interesting tools in such dense and built urban fabrics such as the ones of Manhattan and Copacabana. These kind of interventions tend to have a big impact in transforming the image of the public space trough the years.




The city of Barcelona in Spain was able to create a real network of good quality public spaces in the last few decades which improved the image of the city as a whole. “In the face of the impasse produced by traditional planning and purely decorative urban design, new processes or urban transformation and new ideas for projecting the city began to emerge, and their application proved their conceptual and theoretical interest. Therefore the idea of the “urban project” took form as a way of overcoming the sterile dissociation between urban plan and architectural project that had relegated the former to the field of analysis and zoning and the later to the one-off proposal” (Joan Busquets, 2006). Their idea was to value the potential of projects rather than the traditional long-term planning, so the government initiated the renovation by designing several new public spaces, parks and squares. These new spaces were usually created by pulling down dilapidated apartment buildings or old industrial areas. In the city center some squares were renovated and underground parking garages, created. “Architecture and sculpture have played a key role in the design of Barcelona’s public face. New parks and squares were created under the motto: “Move museums into the street” (Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe, 2006). This action made it possible for each area to have its own character and for people to identify themselves to the public spaces. It also attracted the attention of many tourists.

Miró Sculpture and Plaça Robacols (Barcelona-The urban evolution of a compact city)

Parc del Clot (Mariana Faver)

Ciutat Vella (Mariana Faver)



Different projects in different locations

Public Space Network

Port Olimpic with Gehry’s Fish (Mariana Faver)


Square in front of Macba (Mariana Faver)

Another important feature for the success of the Barcelona’s interventions was that the fact that a urban design office was created to elaborate and co-ordinate the projects of public spaces. Each one of the ten districts of the city had its own team of architects that hold meetings with the local residents and gave them the possibility of participating in the design process. Barcelona had room for experimentation and gave opportunity for many young architects and students to work in these projects, besides the famous ones. “The design of spaces from the overall level to the tiniest detail on the basis of strong ideas and site-specific solutions- these are the special contributions Barcelona has made to planning public spaces in the 1980’s”(Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe, 2006). And these are lessons that can be applied in any context. The Olympic Games in 1992 had an exceptional character, major projects were developed and several offices became involved in the process. The four Olympic areas (Olympic Ring, the Olympic Village, Vall d’Hebron and the Diagonal area) were very important for organizational matters, the financial aspects and the fact that they had to be ready and in service by July 1992. The Olympic event was very successful and the city became recognized internationally. “Many of the services developed for the Olympic Games led to the constant flow of foreign visitors, promoting hotels, business and services” (Joan Busquets, 2006). Currently the city still occupies a distinguishable position in the European’ scenario for its intrinsic capacities, such as its urban planning, its culture and its geographical qualities.

Plaza Universitat (Mariana Faver)

The variety of public spaces produced can be observed in the bottom of the previous pages. Main squares with harder characters, parks with facilities that function as an “oasis� in the city and pedestrian shopping streets, among others.

In the image on the right we can observe the distribution of parks in the current urban environment. They are spread all over the city and usually associated to the main infrastructure system. A rich and diversified network of public spaces has been established in Barcelona and this was fundamental for the role that the city it plays in the international scenario nowadays.

(Barcelona-The urban evolution of a compact city)




INTEGRATING MOBILITY + PUBLIC SPACES Creating a pedestrian friendly city center is only part of the ambitious strategy for the urban development of Curitiba, the capital of the state of Paraná, in the South of Brazil. The plan seeks a sustainable development and emphasizes the integration of the public transportation system. The results are considered to be unique for a city with its size and economical development. Currently there are 1.8 million people living in Curitiba and its public transportation system is considered reference all over the world. The main idea is very simple and the results on the way the city works are very effective. Buses were selected as the main means of public transportation because they are flexible and cheaper than metro or trams, which requires much more infrastructure. “The bus system is organized around three guiding principles. Buses have their own lanes throughout the city, separate from the other traffic, which allows relatively fast transportation. Specially designed buses and stops ensure fast, comfortable loading and unloading os passengers. In addition, several bus terminals, (...) provide good opportunities for interchanges and good access from buses to the pedestrian areas in the city center. A single ticket allows passengers to ride and get on and off throughout the whole bus system. ” (Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe, 2006) In the diagram below it’s possible to observe the current bus system.

(New City Spaces)

The diagram above shows the network of public spaces in the city center of Curitiba with its most important pedestrian streets and squares. The dotted lines indicate pedestrian priority streets and the circles indicate the location of three bus terminals. Based on this image, we can understand how the bus terminals “feed” the city center with pedestrians and how the pedestrians can comfortably reach the main shopping streets and squares. (



+ people

(New City Spaces)


+ private cars

public transportation

Jaime Lerner, an urban planner which was Curitiba’s mayor between 1972 and 1992, helped developing these plans for the city and has major influence on its realization and success. The public transportation strategy can be summarized by the image on the left. It represents the valorization of the pedestrian on the urban space rather than private cars. The public transportation is also emphasized because it is fast, cheap and comfortable. This system “handles 78% of commuter traffic in the city” (Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe, 2006). Below, on the left, we can see a picture of one of the special bus stops, where you can get a ticket, before entering the bus. They are also adapted to serve people with mobility problems, they have an elevation platform so they can be reached by people in wheel chairs and the buses are in the same level as the platforms. Below, on the right, there is an image from a presentation that Jaime Lerner made on the website, where he presented plans for the mobility in the city of Rio de Janeiro, in the models used in Curitiba. In this case, integrating buses and metro trains.


INTEGRATING MOBILITY + PUBLIC SPACES Another important part on the process of urban development of Curitiba are its open public spaces. Curitiba is considered to be the ecological capital of Brazil. There are 26 woods and parks within the city’s limits and many of the new parks have been built in old quarries which prevented them from ending as rubbish tips, like in many other cities. The public spaces are well maintained and used by the population. The main shopping street, in the city center, was made pedestrian in 1972. Its floor is covered with decorative patterned stones inspired by the Portuguese tradition and it still attracts a huge amount of people, as can be observed in the images on the left side. Bellow, there is a picture of the botanical garden, one of the main attractions in the city. The integration of the mobility system with the good quality public spaces was primary for the success of the strategy, besides the fact that, as a mayor, Jaime Lerner had the political strength to put the plan into practice. (New City Spaces)







According to Jerold Kayden, “Cities provide public spaces for their citizens in a variety of ways”. Variety is a key word for the development of a good urban space. Diversity of types, of users and owners can make the city a lively place. Plurality is what makes people appropriate the public spaces and turn them into places. It’s what creates real public domain. In New York a new kind of relation between public and private was created in 1961, trough a legal innovation established in their zoning plan: the Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). Since then more than 500 new public spaces have been created. The flexibility that the new policy provides is amazing. The public spaces don’t need to be defined before the development of the area, but can be added every time public and private interests meet. They can easily change and adapt to new urban necessities. (Cities x Lines: A new lens for the urbanistic project)


NEW YORK, U.S.A. Development of POPS trough the years

(Cities x Lines: A new lens for the urbanistic project)


Use of POPS trough the day

(Cities x Lines: A new lens for the urbanistic project)

CREATING PUBLIC SPACES IN A DENSE PRIVATE BUILT ENVIRONMENT The city becomes more dynamic, new public spaces and different routes can be created at any time. The network of public spaces in the city becomes much more rich and interesting for its citizens. In the diagrams of the previous page it’s possible to observe how much this network was improved in only 30 years time. It’s also possible to observe how the use of these spaces changes during the day in the second diagram. The possibilities this policy opens are countless. The results or spaces that can be created vary a lot. In New York, the examples go from simple and ungraceful enlargements of the sidewalk to really interesting parks where business men usually go to have lunch. They can be open or closed spaces, may have a green or grey identity. Infinite possibilities Some examples of these spaces in New York are shown in the pictures on the right and below, a diagram of their composition.


Private land

Public use

= Privately Owned Public Space

(Cities x Lines: A new lens for the urbanistic project)




In order to develop a “Research by Design”, the elaboration of three different scenarios was made, according to the study cases of Barcelona, Curitiba and New York, testing their main concepts and design interventions. By applying these concepts in the case of Copacabana it is possible to investigate their transferability, a “swot” analysis will be made in the end of the chapter for each of the scenarios to evaluate them. Based on the results of these study cases research and the main objective of the plan for renovation of the public spaces in Copacabana, we will be able to develop a strategy framework. The future interventions in the neighborhood should fit within this framework.






Main square Market square Metro station square Neighborhood square Rambla P


Shopping boulevard Underground parking

COPACABANA A LA BARCELONA Barcelona Passeig de Gracia (Shopping Boulevard) Plaza de Catalunya (Main square)




Ramblas Praça Serzedelo Correia (Main Square) Ramblas

Avenue Copacabana (Shopping Boulevard)

In the “Copacabana a la Barcelona” scenario, the main shopping street is made into a Shopping Boulevard in the same way as Passeig de Gracia and three underground parking garages would be constructed along it . The streets that come from the metro stations in direction to the sea, with a heavy pedestrian circulation, would become pedestrian like the Ramblas in Barcelona and the square Serdezelo Correia would function as the main square, like Plaza de Catalunya, making a connection between the shopping street and the Ramblas, as a central point in the neighborhood.



Rodolfo Dantas Street (from the metro station to the beach) (Mariana Faver)


Avenue N. S. de Copacabana (main shopping street) (Mariana Faver)

“Shopping Boulevard”





P Main square Metro station square Neighborhood square Pedestrian Shopping street Main Bus Lanes Secondary Bus Lane Cycling path Bus Transfer terminal P

Underground parking


COPACABANA A LA CURITIBA Curitiba city centre



In this scenario, the main feature is the integration of the bus system and the creation of separate lanes for them, out of the main shopping street, which would become pedestrian. The main Bus Boulevard would be in the Avenue Atlântica and the closest bus transfer terminals would be located in the neighborhoods of Botafogo and Leblon. Special bus stops, like the ones in Curitiba, should be spread along these new bus lanes of Copacabana. Underground parking garages are also planned along the main shopping street.



Avenue Atlântica (Mariana Faver)

Bus Lanes

Avenue N. S. de Copacabana (main shopping street) (Mariana Faver)

Pedestrian shopping street



Squares Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS)




Squares + POPS

In the “Copacabana a la New York” scenario, the possibility of creation of several Privately Owned Public Spaces is explored in the whole neighborhood. As a partnership of private and public interests, these private developers would create some area for public use in their property in exchange of taxes’ benefits. In the diagrams on the left, it’s possible to identify how much more rich and permeable the urban structure would be. These spaces can assume different functions, shapes and attract all sorts of different users.



Barata Ribeiro Street (Mariana Faver)

Barata Ribeiro Street

Avenue N. S. de Copacabana (Mariana Faver)

Avenue N. S. de Copacabana






Shopping Boulevar Ramblas Cariocas Undergound parking spaces


Activities day and night Interaction between different kinds of people in the pedestrian friendly streets


Integration of transportation Mobility system associated to public spaces


Huge amount of public investments

Increase of traffic jams in the surrounding neighborhoods


Pedestrian friendly shopping area

Copacabana is already totally constructed, which makes it harder to make these kinds of structural interventions

Interaction between different kinds of people in the pedestrian friendly streets and public spaces


Political interests contrary to integrating the mobility system may cause the failure of the plan.


Management of public x private interests


Simple enlargement of sidewalk with no urban quality added


Porosity of the urban fabric

Different types of spaces New pedestrian routes









The main idea is to transform the layered and divided structure of Copacabana in a more complex network. The objective of creating this network is to improve social cohesion in the area, creating attractive public spaces for different kinds of users in all existing layers of the neighborhood.






For the next steps of this work, the conclusions drawn from the scenarios are combined with the final objectives of the plan in order to develop a couple of strategic projects to create a framework within which key projects are designed to show the possible outcomes.


STRATEGIC PROJECTS The addopted strategy is to create a network of good quality public spaces in Copacabana, working with the mobility system and the restructuring of fine-grain open space, according to the following projects :


LOCATION Mountains Favela



Leisure Sea

1- Trigger project: Renovation of the mobility system integrating public transportation, creating more cycling paths, underground parking and making it pedestrian-friendly ; 2- Renovation of selected squares, provide them with more activities and creation of public spaces in the slums; 3- Creation of collective spaces in the interior of the building blocks; 4- Creation of new public spaces in the ground floor of private buildings (Privately Owned Public Spaces); 5- Creation of special programs.


In the diagram above it’s possible to identify which strategic project should be applied to which layer of the urban structure in Copacabana. The mobility integration is the trigger project and it is supposed to be applied in all layers of the neighborhood. It will be the base for the implementation of the public space’s network. The renovation and creation of open public spaces will focus on the Centrality layer, where the existing squares are in the worst shape and the Favela layer, where there aren’t any squares. The creation of collective spaces in the interior of the building blocks targets the Housing layer, where residents will be able to decide the type of space and uses they want. The creation of special programs has the Favela layer as a main target, since it is the less developed and the one which has the biggest amount of social problems.


Several actions are proposed in this chapter to integrate the mobility system, making it more efficient and sustainable, emphasizing the pedestrian scale in the urban space. These actions consist of a base for the development of the other projects and are, therefore, extremely important for the success of the plan as a whole since they will affect all different layers in the neighborhood and even other areas of the city of Rio de Janeiro.


1- Combine different bus lines driving in the same routes


+ =

2- New Bus routes

3- Creation of more bike paths

4- New underground parking garages by the main shopping street


There are too many lines of buses passing almost empty trough Copacabana, as already analyzed in the first chapter. The proposed solution is that the buses’ lines are grouped as much as possible in order to make it more efficient. Transfer stations would be created in strategic points where routes could be changed and the user wouldn’t need to pay for more than one ticket, even if the integration is made with other forms of transportation like the metro or the train.

The new bus routes were designed to surround the most central and busy areas of Copacabana, running around them. The main Bus Boulevard is going to be along the beach. Secondary paths will connect the main one to the metro stations and the surrounding neighborhoods.

There are already 8 bike rentals stations in Copacabana, including stations located by the metro exits. New cycling paths are proposed, separated from the motorized vehicles traffic in the main streets, to provide comfort and safety for its users.

New underground parking garages are proposed to be created under 3 squares situated along the Avenue N. S. de Copacabana, the main shopping street. These garages should be big enough to also attend the extra population in occasion of big events in the beach. Two of them are located in the edges of the centrality to help ensure activity in its borders.

MOBILITY ACTIONS 5- “Shopping Boulevard�- pedestrian friendly shopping street

6- Mobility Hub Buildings

7- Pedestrian friendly routes to the Beach

The current design of the main shopping street does not provide a nice environment for the pedestrians. The sidewalks are often not spacious enough to attend the big demand and the huge amount of traffic makes the environment even worse. Another problem is the fact that many bars and street vendors also occupy great part of the pedestrian space. The new street design would give priority to the pedestrians with wider sidewalks and trees separating it from the vehicles. The buses would not pass by this street anymore, but parallel to it.

Two Mobility Hub Buildings are planned in strategic access points to Copacabana. The first one is located together with the Cantagalo metro station which is the first accessible one for people coming from other neighborhoods in the west side of Copacabana in direction to the city center or the North zone. This building would provide parking spaces and integration with other transportation systems (metro, bus or bike). The second building is located by the Avenue Princesa Isabel and, besides providing parking spaces, it also allows people to change from the main bus boulevard to the secondary one with a different route or to rent a bike and cycle along the seaside in the South Zone.

The transformation of the streets that lead from the metro stations to the beach is proposed in order to provide more comfort for the already huge amount of pedestrians. These routes are even more important on weekends or in occasion of big events at the beach. Nowadays the quality of the route is very poor, the sidewalk is often too small and people tend to dispute space with cars, walking in the streets, which is besides uncomfortable, very dangerous. In this project, the streets from the Metro stations untill the Shopping Street are made pedestrian-friendly and, from there to the beach, they become exclusively pedestrians. Three pedestrian bridges are proposed in the end of these streets, over Avenue Atlântica, linking them to the beach.











B P Underground station square Shopping Boulevard Main Bus Boulevard Secondary Bus Boulevard Cycling path Mobility hub building




Underground parking garage


Bike rental station


Selected for renovation

In this map, the layers analysis are added to the existing structure of squares. It’s possible to observe that most of these squares are in the Centrality and Leisure layers, some in the Housing layer, but there are no squares or open public spaces in the Favelas layer. This analysis is also made to enable the identification of the different types of spaces and their potentials. The selected squares for renovation are the ones with the worst quality and less used by the people, but with great potential for development because of their situation in the neighborhood.



Neighborhood square Belvedere square Existing square Proposed public space

Belvederes, squares and other kinds of public spaces are proposed to be built in the slums, where, currently, there aren’t any open public spaces.



As a result from these interventions concerning squares and open public spaces, combined with the Mobility Integration, a basic network of public spaces is expected to be created, connecting all different layers of Copacabana and provoking interaction between all different kinds of people.



To make the network of public spaces even more interesting and special, the use of the open areas within the building blocks can be a powerful tool. Using them, it’s possible to create new routes and different kinds of spaces with different levels of control and regulations. As observed in the location analysis, the interior of the building blocks are usually left over spaces with no special functions besides illumination/ ventilation. The main focus of this intervention is on the “Housing layer” building blocks and the main users will be the residents of these blocks and its surroundings. They will have a reasonably controlled and safe open space that could have different functions such as playground, garden, barbecue area and so on. These open areas could be built by the municipality since they would be public spaces during the day, improving the permeability in Copacabana, but their maintenance could be made by the residents of the building block as a group. They would also have the power to decide which kind of activities could happen and at what time.



This diagram show the network created by adding the spaces in the interior of the Building Blocks to the previous established network of public spaces.



The area classified as the “Centrality layer� of the neighborhood is the most dense and has the highest concentration of different functions. Several office buildings, shops, restaurants and bars can be found in this area, almost always combined to housing, in 13 storeys-high buildings. The pressure these buildings make over the open space is therefore very high and the creation of new open/ public spaces becomes very appealing. The proposal, based on the New York experience, focuses on the highlighted area on the map (centrality) and gives the opportunity for private investors to offer an area of the ground floor of their building for public use in exchange of taxes privileges. These Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) could assume different shapes and have different functions, making the experience of the urban space in Copacabana much more rich. Some examples could be relaxing gardens for people that work in the surroundings to have lunch, areas for chess and cards games or simply some resting area for the shoppers.



In this diagram, the layer of Privately Owned Public Spaces, created in the Centrality of Copacabana, is added to the network, making it even more complex, with new routes and different kind of places.



Some special programs and events should be created in the favelas, to attract different kind of people, give new job opportunities and provoke interaction between them. Pedestrian tracks with belvederes could be designed to reach the highest areas and take advantage of the topography in the neighborhood, that provides a great view over Copacabana and to the sea. Restaurants, clubs and hotels could also take place there, since it already exists a huge “Favela” tourism demand in Rio de Janeiro. Especially foreigners are very interested to see how these communities work and really value their culture. Nowadays, the type of music and dance from the Favelas are famous not only in Brazil, but also abroad. This kind of interventions are according to the current policies of development and upgrade of the slums, the old notion that they should be extinguished and people should be moved to other areas in the “legal city” doesn’t exist anymore. It already proved itself a failure in previous attempts. Although there is a new intervention in process causing a lot of controversy among people in Rio de Janeiro. 14 km of 3m height walls began to be built to mark the limits of the slums and prevent their growth in direction of the preserved woods. In this proposal, the attempt is to bring the woods and the mountains closer to people’s experience and not isolate them behind walls which will surely proof not to be an effective tool against the deforestation. In this strategy, the favela is expected not to be a marginal end point anymore, but a connecting area, opening to the city to the mountains and the woods.



The “Special Programs�, added to the network in this diagram are not considered to be public spaces per se, but they have collective uses and attract a considerable amount of people. Therefore, their role in the network is so important that it should be considered in the design.



(Ricardo Carreon)


In order to develop a design project that could show how this proposal might be applied in the Copacabana case, a stripe of land comprising all the different analyzed layers was selected and a couple of key projects were elaborated, according to the main strategy.





7 5 1 6

3 2

1- Mobility Integration 2- Pedestrian Bridge 3- Main Square 4- Community Center 5- Interior Garden 6- Banco do Brasil POPS 7- Favela Hostel




community center hostel garden

CONCEPTS & IDEAS pops main square bridge

As it was already demonstrated, the mobility restructure is the first issue to be dealt with in this proposal to create a network of good quality public spaces in Copacabana. This specific part of the Mobility plan shows the integration between the different types of transportation, around the metro station Siqueira Campos. People who arrive by metro will have the opportunity of walking in direction of the main shopping street or the beach trough pedestrian-friendly streets. Renting a bike is another possibility offered in the area to continue commuting, besides the buses and taxis.




Exit of the Metro station Siqueira Campos. Possibility of getting a bus, renting a bike or continue in direction to the beach in a pedestrian friendly street.



Pedestrian Street

98 102

The pedestrian bridge is the last element in the pedestrian route from the Metro Station in direction to the beach. It makes a connection between the end of the pedestrian street, the bus stops in the middle of Avenue Atlântica, the famous Copacabana sidewalk and the sand of the beach. But the bridge is not going to be only a linking element, but it is supposed to have activities happening in it as well. It will be designed with enough space for street artists to perform and entertain the people passing. Another great feature of the bridge will be the view to the sea. Since the sand layer is so big in the Copacabana beach, people are not able to enjoy a nice view of the sea from eye level and, from the top of the bridge, they will be able to experience a great view of all the coast, including the nice pavements of Burle Marx in the sidewalks. In the end of the bridge, to reach the sand, there are stairs with different height steps, some are for people to get down and some are higher, so people can seat and enjoy the view. Concerning the materialization of the bridge, the idea is to keep it as transparent and integrated to the beach as the existing kiosks. For the pavement and base, the white stones (as in the famous Copacabana sidewalk) could be applied, so people would have an idea of continuity of route.

Bus Avenue Atlântica



View of the access to the bridge trough the pedestrian street HilĂĄrio de Gouveia and view from the stairs at the beach side of the bridge and the ramp that connects it to the sidewalk


View of the pedestrian bridge from Avenue Atlântica, connecting the city to the sea




This space is going to be the main square of Copacabana. It has to be a flexible and dynamic space to meet the necessities of a variety of users. Currently the space is fenced, because it has no use during the night and therefore becomes a vulnerable place. But, according to the previous analysis, the fenced squares in the neighborhood are the ones with the worst quality. They are empty and meaningless. In this design, we try to solve the problem of security by adding different kinds of programs during day and night, trying to attract more people all day long. The flexible market seems to be a good function to meet these expectations. During the day, it could work as different kinds of markets: food, art, books... And during the night, bars and cafes have the possibility to spread tables and chairs all over the area. Another important activity, which is the only one that still survives in the current design of the square, is the chess (and cards) games. Therefore we will try to provide more space and comfort for the players. The presence of the main church of Copacabana in front of the square will no longer be ignored (it is currently covered by a huge amount of trees), but it will be valued. Some trees will be taken out of the square and the small street that separates the church from the square will become pedestrian and it will be incorporated to the area of the square.


ch ur h c it ex 0 28 king s r pa ace sp

g pin xit p o e sh

h ac e b it ex

rs ba xit e Diagrams illustrating the flows and functions of the main square in the ground and underground floors

A grid of 3x3 will structure the square, harmoniously integrating all of the different activities. They will define the location of all the elements such as the market stands, the cafes, the chess boards, the trees and the fountains. Part of the area will be covered with a translucid material, offering protection from the weather, but keeping the area illuminated. Water fountains coming from the ground will be added to the square to improve the micro-climate and are designed also to provide a playing opportunity for the local kids. Another important function of the square is the creation of an underground parking garage.



View of the main church from the square. The area in front of the church is kept unbuilt and provides a flexible space for special events


View of the main square from Avenue N. S. de Copacabana, the main shopping street


View of the main square from the Siqueira Campos street. It is possible to observe the translucid roof that covers the area of the market and cafes




This community center is going to be designed combined with an open public space in the favela called Ladeira dos Tabajaras. The main objective is to offer the people of the surrounding area a comfortable and productive place. A plural and flexible space. The open area should be a place for people to play, seat and talk. A paved surface but with a green character that integrates it to the existing woods in the mountains. The community center would have rooms for activities such as computer classes during the day and parties during the night, promoting the culture and music of the slums, disconnecting it from the drug dealer’s command. The building could be build by the municipality of Rio de Janeiro and managed by a resident’s association.


PLURAL PLACE View of the open areas and the ramps of access to the Community Center, designed for one of the favela areas in Copacabana.



The creation of a collective space in the interior of the building block is interesting because it allows residents of the building block to use an open space which currently has no special function. The main idea is to integrate all of the small left-over spaces of each building . They can organize themselves and decide on which kind of space they want, which kind of uses, define the opening times to the public and so on. For this experiment, we want to create a space with the characteristics of a “secret garden�. A green environment hidden in the middle of high rise buildings. It can be a nice place for the people to interact with their neighbors, to make barbecues and for the children to play in a nice and safe environment. The creation of this space also improves the permeability in the building blocks of Copacabana.



QUIET MEETING PLACE View of the interior of a building block, designed to be a quiet meeting place for the inhabitants of the surrounding buildings



The area chosen to exemplify how a Privately Owned Public Space could be created in Copacabana is located in the Avenue N. S. de Copacabana and belongs to the bank� Banco do Brasil�.This is a very important and central location in the neighborhood. The concept is to create a green area within the grey and densely built environment. The bank currently has a big closed area in the entrance with several atm machines. We propose to open all this atm machines’ area, leaving only the existing fence in the begginging of the plot to close it during the night. Climbing plants could be planted in both sides and the atm machines could be put in these walls. The area in the middle could have some tables and chairs for people that work in the surrounding are to have lunch, or just rest a bit from their shopping. Besides the marketing advantage for the bank, they could receive taxes benefits for creating an open area for public use. In the case of Copacabana, increasing the heights of the buildings as a benefit for the companies (as the New York case), is not such a good idea, since the density of the area is already very high. Taxes benefits are considered to be a better option.



QUICK RESTING PLACE View of the Privately Owned Public Space designed for a Brazilian bank, in the main shopping street of Copacabana




The main concept for this hostel is to adopt a constructive system similar to the one adopted by the people that construct their own houses in the favela: several small boxes adapted to the levels of the site. The hostel also seeks to take advantage of the nice topography and the great view of the neighborhood and the beach. Many tourists that go to Rio de Janeiro are very interested in experiencing these communities and their culture which already became famous all over the world. The connection with the woods in the mountain should also be explored, providing the tourists with the opportunity of staying in an area which offers both sea and mountain at the same time.


ACTIVATING PLACE View of the hostel designed for a site in a favela of Copacabana. The building is adapted to the morphology of the land and takes advantage of the great views to the sea and to the mountains



Maria 18 student

Seu Zé 67 retired

Daniel 09 student

Jan 35 tourist

Renata 29 architect







EVALUATION Maria lives in the favela Ladeira dos Tabajaras. She goes to school, by bike, in the mornings, in Avenue Copacabana. After that, she works as a living statue on the pedestrian bridge, has dinner in the market of the main square and goes back to the party of the community center in the favela.

Seu Zé is a retired teacher. He goes walking on the beach every morning. He has lunch at home and then goes to the garden inside his building block to play cards with his neighbors. In the afternoon he goes to the church in the main square, has dinner in the market and then goes back home.

Each line represents one person walking trough the layers. We can notice that they are constantly changing layers and that they meet each other in several spots.

Daniel live in Avenue Copacabana. He plays beach soccer in the mornings, meets his mom to have lunch in a POPS and then gets a bus to go to school in another neighborhood. When he gets back home, he has dinner and then goes playing with friends that live in a building block with a garden inside.

Jan is a tourist very interested in the favela life. He is staying in a hostel in Ladeira dos Tabajaras which has a great view of Copacabana. He spends his day in the beach, has dinner in the main square’s market, visits a garden in the interior of a building block and goes back to drink something at the hostel, by the pool. Renata is an architect that lives in Leblon but works in an office building in Avenue Copacabana. She usually has lunch in a POPS and, in the evening she meets her colleagues in the main square’s market and then they go to a party in the community center of the favela. Then she takes her car back from the parking garage and goes home.

Since the main objective of this plan was to create social cohesion by turning the public spaces into public domain, the evaluation of the process should be done by relating the final product to its users. Five characters, with different backgrounds, were created based on the possible users of the places, so we can test how they could interact within this new situation. In the diagram on the previous page, we can observe a day in the life of each of these characters in the neighborhood of Copacabana and check when and where they are meeting each other. Meeting creates possibilities for interaction and interaction between different kinds of people creates social cohesion. By testing the design in this way, it’s possible to see if the network of public spaces could really work leaving the previous layered and divided structure in the past.




Belém Fortaleza Recife Salvador


Rio de Janeiro Santos

The process that lead to the elaboration of this strategy for regeneration of public spaces in Copacabana has several steps that could be easily transferred and applied in other areas with similar problems. First of all, an analysis of the location and the existing public spaces should be done, in order to identify which are the problems, the potentials of the area and the necessities of the users. After that, it is possible to select some study cases of successful interventions and make a research by design, creating scenarios that will be useful for the next step, the elaboration of the strategic projects. These projects will act as a framework for all of the local interventions. The definition of some strategic projects such as the restructuring of the mobility system, the renovation of existing public spaces and the creation of new ones could be explored in many cities, but the final design of these interventions has to be site and users’ related, otherwise instead of solving old problems, new ones might be created. In Brazil, many of the capitals by the coast face the same problems as Rio de Janeiro regarding public spaces and they could benefit from this same strategy, as well as many other cities in South America which had similar urban developments.


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