Brazil is a country of city dwellers undergoing radical transformation: over 85 per cent of the country’s citizens live in cities and over 40 per cent of the population live in metropolises of more than a million people. Whereas previously urban growth had been ad hoc, preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 12 cities across the country in 2014, and for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, changed all that. Several Brazilian cities have proactively invested in infrastructure and the public realm. And a number of projects by international ‘starchitects’ have heightened interest in Brazil from architects and urban practitioners abroad. The failure of public authorities to meet their ambitious aspirations for the sporting mega-events sparked a series of street protests across the country under the banner of ‘the right to the city’, beginning in 2013. For Brazil, this was an entirely new phenomenon, one which has unveiled the potential for bottom-up influences to effect urban change. The focus of this issue, though, is on design projects that contribute a strong sense of place to their respective cities, highlighting also the integration of landscape design in urban planning and community interventions that seek to address the enormous disparity between the lives of the country’s rich and poor.
Contributors: Ricky Burdett, Thomas Deckker, Gabriel Duarte, Sergio Ekerman, Nanda Eskes and André Vieira, Alexandre Hepner and Silvio Soares Macedo, Circe Monteiro and Luiz Carvalho, Joana Carla Soares Gonçalves, Jaime Lerner, Ana Luiza Nobre, Justin McGuirk, Francesco Perrotta-Bosch, Maria do Rocio Rosário, Fernando Serapião, Guilherme Wisnik
Featured architects: AECOM, Biselli Katchborian, Brasil Arquitetura, Santiago Calatrava, Studio Arthur Casas, Diller Scofdio + Renfro, Herzog & de Meuron, Vigliecca & Associados