On the last week before I go, I’m anxiously preparing for my take-off to Brazil. I’ll be seeing my family in Porto Alegre first, but will be in Rio de Janeiro by July 12th to meet up with my study partner, Victoria Bruskin. My family and two friends in Rio will give me tips to take with me during my stay. I’m a native speaker and understand the culture well, but I am expecting culture shock after not having lived in Brazil for so long. Although, my separate culture will probably give me an edge by helping me pick up on more differences, something I’m sure Tori will be very keen on.
We have high hopes for our Rio study, looking into outdoor design in a country where the urban environment is abundant and highly appreciated. Our method of measurement will be simply to observe where the people are, as Brazilians love to be outdoors and with people. If there is a well valued area in the city, people will be there. We are most curious to compare the success of spaces designed top-down to those designed by grassroots methods, being that there’s been so much rebellious design in Brazil.
In the past, there was a share of urban renewal done by the government to serve the poor population with affordable housing, but all those buildings were located away from the city, where people had to go to work. So the poor rebelled by building illegally for themselves, creating favelas, or slums, right next to the heart of the city. Today favelas still have sway in the environment. But how do they affect the population? How do the new Olympic plazas affect the population, in contrast?
We will focus on a couple locations. There is no way to see it all or do everything we want to do. There are many famous markets, plazas, and streets that we have to choose from. With time, we will be able to tell what we can accomplish. If we do not have internet access throughout, we can post upon our return in August. Can’t wait to tell you more.