Agile Urbanism

SAO_bannerSao Paulo Heidi Jandris | Sebastian Misiurek

Over the course of the next 25 years, the rate of world urbanization will be greater than any time in history. Cities are no longer being formed around manufacturing or industry but around the convergence of global flows of capital and labor. As the centralized power structure of industry is migrating away from metropolitan areas, a decentralized power structure is becoming more apparent, indicated by informal settlements. Due to the extreme segregation of classes, and the juxtaposition of formal and informal settlements, Sao Paulo is a city in conflict, a territory where two worlds collide, causing ranges of confrontation and integration, involving all sectors of the population.

The investigation of Sao Paulo and the intrinsically complex slum networks (favelas) that exist there have revealed an invaluable amount of knowledge about emergent organization patterns, self-regulating systems, and the power struggles of societies that are in constant fluctuation. Negotiation of boundaries is a main focus in our research. The interfaces between boundaries are spaces of friction at the edges of segregated logics and methods.

The logics that govern and shape the favelas can be utilized as a basis to create architecture that can change and respond to the needs of the occupants, ranging from single users to entire communities. An architecture that will not just seek a programmatic solution to a single infrastructural problem, but one that will use these ideas of flux to transcend multiple issues at the same time. Through simultaneous cognition, highly adaptive and responsive systems and spaces will emerge that will be more efficient and sustainable, socially and programmatically.

In the context of “SAOPOCALYPSE” we are proposing an infrastructure/architecture that will negotiate the boundaries between the conventional infrastructure in place and the informal communities that juxtapose it. By creating competition between the two opposing areas, we will attempt to address their issues while allowing them to not only coexist but to intertwine and incorporate mutual qualities and resources at certain moments so both sides can co-evolve, while keeping their individuality and preferences. The informal will always exist in a planned city, but by looking at territories of interaction and separation, it is possible to manipulate negotiations between conflicting areas.

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