[Sao Paulo, seen from the top of the Ministry of Urbanism (SP Urbanismo)]
On September 8 I had the opportunity to deliver one of the keynote addresses to the 4th Congresso Internacional de Arquitectura Paisajistica, put on by the Associacao Brasileira de Arquitetos Paisajistas in Sao Paulo. The energy and enthusiasm of the participants and attendees, many of whom were graduate students from all over the country, was invigorating.
It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the state of the art in Brazil, and to have a discussion about my own work there. I presented some research from my Ciudad/Rio project, focused especially on the potential of the piscinoes of Sao Paulo to one day be reconstructed as civic infrastructures that contribute to the social and ecosystem health of the megacity. To do this, I tried to position these unloved and monumental objects as cultural river landscapes, part of an important lineage in Sao Paulo that dates back at least to the Tupinikim people. I came away convinced that while I have very few answers regarding these places right now, the approach and insights I am my students and graduate assistants have been producing are onto something.
I also took the opportunity to speak at SP Urbanismo, the municipal agency of urban design. The topic was the same and many of the insights and questions were compelling. These folks, under the direction of Gustavo Partezani are actively working on a set of fascinating, forward-thinking projects related to the city, its rivers, and its public spaces.