Urban farming in Sao Paulo

Issues of informal housing settlements in Brazil is well documented across an increasingly networked and informed world. Slums exist across the world, in many first, second, and third world countries, often completely disconnected from basic infrastructural services. This proposal suggests a method of agricultural production in the neighborhood of Grotao, in Paraisopolis, Sao Paulo. Uniquely wedged near the central district of the city, bordering SP’s wealthiest neighborhood, the largest slum in Sao Paulo has its own well established identity which must be well connected to the city and all basic infrastructure in the most local, self-sustaining way possible.

The proposal to support the slum, or the brasilian favela, is a linear urban farm model intended to largely self-sustain local food necessity by creating agricultural space on available unused surfaces and air. The project’s intention is to design a system, which is reactive to and has little physical impact on the existing ultra-high density favela, while providing an organic presence in the community. The system would be built following the existing structural syntax of the immediate area, and run by the faveladores with local NGO’s.

Underneath the top surface farm would be space for infrastructure services to be run. In the favelas, electricity, water, and sewage are all informally connected in an unstable, ad-hoc network of pipes and wires running through whatever open space will allow. This is very dangerous and methodically unorganized, although it does have a degree of self-organization on the large scale. (What may be a complete mess up close is often a small part of a much larger network, which emerges from housing development). What my project attempts to do is systematize the small-scale connection of infrastructure services while maintaining the emergent self-organization of the overall network, which already exists. In other words, trying to have an informal approach to a formal system [combining the left and right sides of the first image above]. The networked system seeks to spread infrastructure resources across the favela, generating a mesh with connective integrity by virtue of the system’s redundant nature (in theory, its like army ants). Growing from the inside out, strategic connections are made to network resources in efficiency of the specified parameters. As of now, prototypes are being developed for the system, and hopefully will have a working installation by the end of 2010.

+INFO: global-issues-network.org

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