PISCINAO/PISCINHA: LIVING WITH WATER IN SAO PAULO
CONTENTS SCENARIO 1: PISCINOES NOVA REPUBLICA AND MARIA SAMPAIO
the proposal by stephanie buglione is developed for the municipalities of sao paul and embu das artes and the daee and explores how the piscinoes can function as a revenue generator that enriches local communities.
SCENARIO 2: PISCINOES ARICANDUVA II, CAGUAĂ‡U, LIMOERIO, ARICANDUVA III
this proposal by judith yang for the city of sao paulo is designed to position the piscinoes as a symbolic and civic gateway for the city of sao paulo.
SCENARIO 3: PISCINOES ELISEU DE ALMEIDA AND SHARP
these proposals by amelia jensen and hongwei zheng are developed for the municipality of sao paulo and explore the possibility of repurposing piscinoes eliseu de almedia and sharp for the purposes of improving water quality in a continuous, low-capital, labor-generating fashion
SCENARIO 4: PISCINOES FORD FABRICA, FORD TABAO, AND MERCEDES PAULICEA
this proposal by ameng chen is developed for the municipality of san bernardo and the daee and consider the piscinao as a generator of long-term, low-maintenance habitat.
SCENARIO 5: PISCINAO RINCAO
this proposal by jinhee ha is developed for the municipality of sao paulo and proposes and experimental landscape that can adapt over time and offers opportunities for education and research while minimizing health risks.
SCENARIO 6: PISCINAO SAO CAETANO this proposal by rachel jawin is developed for sao caetano and the daee and considers how the piscinoes can support community gatherings seasonally. PAGE 1
cornell university department of landscape architecture fall 2015 course: la 7010 borderlands research group professor: brian davis e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.landscapearchipelago.com
Water in the city of S達o Paulo is a paradox of excess and scarcity. Situated in the Brazilian highlands near the headwaters of its many rivers, the largest city in South America is simultaneously confronted with critically low supplies of clean water and destructive localized flooding. It is an extreme case of a common condition. In this context how can landscape architecture grapple with contemporary urban hydrological challenges in order to improve human and ecosystem health in the city? What stands to be gained through the development of new approaches to protection, revitalization, and restoration of water resources, seeing it not as a technical problem to be solved, but instead as a cultural urban landscape project? What are the appropriate temporal and spatial scales for confronting these problems? Can the development of landscape as a civic infrastructure open new horizons and new possibilities for how to live with water in the modern American city? What role can design- proposing, working out, and evaluating projective situations- play in forming these urban civic infrastructures as culturally meaningful landscapes?
THE SITUATION OF SAO PAULO AND ITS RIVERS
The constant push and pull over the risks and resources of river landscapes engenders a difficult and productive tension: here there is conflict, exchange, and invention, but also an expanded range of aesthetic experiences. The sound of water flowing, barges and workers laboring, the stench of sewage or the sight of spontaneous vegetation springing from the bank are juxtaposed and combined through historical processes of occupation and degradation. In these undefined terrains, possibilities and juxtapositions that would be impossible elsewhere take shape.
In São Paulo, the current form of this complex river landscape is the piscinão. Piscinões can be seen as designed extensions of the waterway; they are the engineered, containerized confined overflow capacity for a river system whose waterways have been straightened and floodplain paved. It seems it would be unusual to find holes voids this large and strange in a city of twenty million. Yet they are everywhere in São Paulo, and are proliferating rapidly as a contemporary response to the problem of urban flooding. Currently fifty-three exist, and more are built every year. As infrastructures they are one of the primary tactics employed over the past twenty years by municipal and state-level agencies to control rampant flooding in the metropolis. They are put in place by a politically and hydrologically opportunistic logic, tending to appear wherever localized flooding intersects with vacated territory or undefended communities. Rather than being designed for optimal hydrological performance – a proposition that is often untenable in the large, politically charged terrain of the city – they assume the existing footprints of unprotected parcels, taking on the morphological characteristics of former industrial yards and factories, neighborhood recreational sites, or swaths of informal housing. Each of these former uses had its own formal logic, but it rarely coincides with the way urban rivers work. Piscinões are being constructed across a range of contexts. They are microcosms of the dynamic relations between São Paulo and its rivers, and the ground where this relationship is being defined and revealed. Each one is singular in its scale, materials, operational logic, and specific context, but they are all large, important parts of the infrastructural river system of the city. The result is often strange and chaotic juxtapositions and experiences along the rivers of the city – piscinões next to a school or low-rise neighborhood, or subway station. Even when the piscinões function as intended, minimizing flooding and protecting adjacent properties, they do so by erasing histories and replacing them with literal holes in the ground. They are surrounded by steel security fencing and periodically inundated with dirty water and sediment. After storm events they become political and environmental hotspots situated on the borders between municipalities and sub-prefectures, right beside colleges, neighborhoods, working industrial yards, commercial centers or subway stops.
CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE POSSIBILITIES
The political and hydrological conditions that brought about the existence of the piscinões results from the dynamism of the city’s rivers. While the piscinões are typically thought of simply as engineered objects or emergency infrastructures, they also have a powerful and fraught social function and cultural significance. Situated on or alongside rivers that often make up the literal physical and political borders between the many municipalities and subprefeituras of the metropolis, piscinões are places of outsized potential and risk. Here we find the most extreme cases of flooding, toxicity, social conflict, and innovation. Piscinões are being constructed across a range of contexts. They are microcosms of the dynamic relations between São Paulo and its rivers, and are the ground where this relationship is being defined and revealed. Each one is singular in its scale, materials, operational logic, and specific context, but they are all large, important parts of the infrastructural river system of the city. Because of this, an examination of these landscapes demands the construction of alternative narratives for understanding the past and future of São Paulo and its rivers. PAGE 3