Edge city: Driving the periphery of São Paulo = Город на грани. Поездка по окраинам Сан-Паулу
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Edge city: Driving the periphery of São Paulo = Город на грани. Поездка по окраинам Сан-Паулу
Вид издания: Научно-популярная литература
Exploring the edge condition of São Paulo, Justin McGuirk analyses the different forms of dwelling available to its would-be citizens, and meets some of the people carving a life for themselves on the verge of this unforgiving metropolis. Driving anti-clockwise, we take a journey backwards in time, moving from cardboard favelas and hastily built tower blocks back to modernist social housing and the factory town built early in the last century. Is this a tale, as the Brazilian flag attests, of «order and progress»? Are the citizens of the periphery better off looking after themselves than in the hands of developers and the paternalistic state? Part road trip and part urban critique, this drive-by portrait makes the case that the city is best understood not by its centre but by its edge.
Макгирк, Д. Edge city: Driving the periphery of São Paulo = Город на грани. Поездка по окраинам Сан-Паулу / Макгирк Д., - 3-е изд., (эл.) - Москва :Стрелка Пресс, 2017. - 59 с.: ISBN 978-5-9903364-2-1. - Текст : электронный. - URL: https://znanium.com/catalog/product/972640 (дата обращения: 25.06.2021). – Режим доступа: по подписке.
Текстовые фрагменты публикации
МАКГИРК ДЖАСТИН ГОРОД НА ГРАНИ. ПОЕЗДКА ПО ОКРАИНАМ САН-ПАУЛУ 3-е издание (электронное) Москва «Стрелка Пресс» 2017
MCGUIRK JUSTIN EDGE CITY: DRIVING THE PERIPHERY OF SAO PAULO 3-rd edition (electronic) Moscow Strelka Press 2017
УДК 72 ББК 85 M12 McGuirk, Justin. M12 Edge city: Driving the periphery of Sao Paulo = Город на грани. Поездка по окраинам Сан-Паулу [Электронный ресурс] / J. McGuirk. — 3-rd ed. (el.). — Electronic text data (1 file pdf : 59 p.). — М. : Strelka Press, 2017. — System requirements: Adobe Reader XI or Adobe Digital Editions 4.5 ; screen 10". ISBN 978-5-9903364-2-1 Exploring the edge condition of Sao Paulo, Justin McGuirk analyses the different forms of dwelling available to its would-be citizens, and meets some of the people carving a life for themselves on the verge of this unforgiving metropolis. Driving anti-clockwise, we take a journey backwards in time, moving from cardboard favelas and hastily built tower blocks back to modernist social housing and the factory town built early in the last century. Is this a tale, as the Brazilian flag attests, of «order and progress»? Are the citizens of the periphery better off looking after themselves than in the hands of developers and the paternalistic state? Part road trip and part urban critique, this drive-by portrait makes the case that the city is best understood not by its centre but by its edge. УДК 72 ББК 85 The source print publication: Edge city: Driving the periphery of Sao Paulo / J. McGuirk. — Moscow : Strelka Press, 2014. — 57 p. — ISBN 978-0-9929-1467-7. ISBN 978-5-9903364-2-1 © Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, 2014
Municipal housing on the outskirts of Sao Paulo — 5 —
Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America, is an arsenal of statistics for the shock-and-awe urbanist. You might read that Sao Paulo is a megacity of 19 million people, and that it has grown 8,000 per cent since 1900. Does that help us understand the city? Does it reveal some essential characteristic? In a limited sense, yes, but it also reinforces what we already know. Speed has always been this city’s raison d’etre. In Tristes Tropiques, Claude Levi-Strauss wrote of his time there in 1935: “The town is developing so fast that it is impossible to obtain a map of it.” In the middle of the 20th century, when the city was the engine of the “Brazilian Miracle”, a popular slogan proclaimed “Sao Paulo must not stop” — it was “the unstoppable city”. Today, despite the staggering statistics, Sao Paulo is slowing down. The population is not growing anywhere near as fast as it used to, but all of that growth is happening in one zone: the periphery. Sao Paulo’s sprawling fringes reveal a city that is still very much in the making, still somehow raw. It is a place where the sacrifices that people make for access to the city are written into the landscape, into the fabric of their homes. Cities that grow this fast grow in an unconsolidated way, and so while the periphery is full of pathos it is also full of potential. This is the record of a drive around the periphery of Sao Paulo. In London Orbital, Iain Sinclair spent months walking the M25, the city’s ring road, in an attempt to understand and embrace the sprawl. I have no such inclinations, and not just because the distances involved are even more perverse. Sao Paulo is not a city for walking, it’s a city of cars — six million of them. In that spirit, this is emphatically a drive, and as such it is an unapologetically blurred snapshot of a city — 6 —
taken from a moving vehicle, with occasional stops here and there to stretch our legs. But while I doff my cap to Sinclair, in one respect he had it easier: Sao Paulo has no M25. There are plans for a ring road, the Rodoanel Mario Covas, a 170km-long four-lane motorway. Indeed, one section of it opened in 2002, but the project stalled. Instead we’ll be patching together our own orbital, a spaghetti of roads named Ayrton Senna and Presidente Dutra, Nordestino and Imigrantes — some of these names contain clues as to how this city grew so corpulent. Our route will take us anti-clockwise around the city, which offers the irresistible conceit that this is a journey backwards in time. In telling the story of social and informal housing in Sao Paulo, we will start with the conditions that face its most recent arrivals, and work back through other forms of housing that previous decades have offered. As we work backwards through those iterations, a fairly clear picture will emerge of the different strategies the government has taken to house Sao Paulo’s ever-growing population — and I include favelas in that “strategy”. Our trajectory will cut roughly from the present day back to a paragon of modernist social housing, and, even further, to a first world war-era workers village, all the way back to one of the missionary settlements that first purported to bring civilisation — or at least the word of God — to this part of Brazil in the 16th century. But this is not just a survey of housing, it is a portrait of a city that is best understood by its edge condition. The official centre of the city is Praya da Se, the old cathedral square. Like Trafalgar Square in London, it is the point from which all distances to the city are measured, point zero. Yet Se has none of the potency of a symbolic central square, nor any of the usual bustle. Like nearby Praya da Republica, another once grand plaza, it is symptomatic of the decline of Sao Paulo’s historic centre. — 7 —
Meanwhile, a few blocks north, the Centro district is now the preserve of pimps and prostitutes, and neighbouring Santa Ifigenia has been renamed Cracolandia: Crack Land — an open market for crack dealers and addicts, and a no-go zone after dark. This triangle has been notoriously resistant to gentrification, but that resistance is buckling. With the municipality’s blessing, developers are demolishing entire blocks to realise their vision of Nova Luz, an upper middleclass quarter with a cultural centre designed by Herzog & de Meuron. As ever, speculation and land values take precedence over the current residents. The unlikely occupation of this central zone by the poor is coming to an end, and they will inevitably be decanted to the periphery. Elsewhere in the centre, tourist guides will draw your attention to Oscar Niemeyer’s meandering Edificio Copan, one of the largest residential buildings in the world. And a fine building it is too. But more telling than this landmark is a newer typology, the vertical slums that have blighted the centre in recent years. The Sao Vito tower was from the same era as the Copan but, far from representing the glamour of Brazilian modernism, it was recoded as a beacon of inner-city destitution. Its 27 storeys were occupied by squatters and its facade was a parchment of graffiti and broken windows until it was demolished in the summer of 2010. There are an estimated 40,000 abandoned buildings in Sao Paulo, and yet 2 million people live in favelas in the periphery. The municipal housing company Cohab is starting to buy some of these properties to turn them into housing, but so far none of the half-hearted attempts to revitalise the city centre has worked. The city has no real tradition of looking after its heritage. Sao Paulo has happily let once-vital areas go to seed as long as there is a new financial district being thrust upwards somewhere else. The “centre” has been shifting across the Monopoly board in a — 8 —
steady south-westerly direction — first to Avenida Paulista, then to Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima and, more recently, to Berrini. But the historic centre is in limbo, awaiting its gentrifying shock therapy. And the periphery? In the case of Sao Paulo the word periphery is almost a misnomer, as there is more periphery than anything else. There are no clear boundaries or perimeters. The periphery is a condition — it is the condition in which the majority of paulistanos live. This has always been the product of tacit politics and economic exploitation. The first wave of the poor to settle in the periphery was actually not made up of rural migrants but was displaced from the city itself by the Sao Paulo equivalent of Haussmannisation. In the 1910s, the centre was redesigned with broad boulevards and gardens, which of course meant demolishing the crowded tenement quarters of the inner-city poor, who were forced to the outer edge. Then in the 1940s, the city boundary shifted more dramatically. Rural landowners around Sao Paulo started subdividing their estates and selling plots cheaply — and illegally — to the poor. They gambled that once communities started to accumulate, the government would be compelled to provide basic services and transport routes. Faced with a housing crisis that it was failing to address, the government — the first of the military dictatorships — turned a blind eye to this unregulated expansion. And of course the gamble paid off, because when those services arrived, the value of what remained of the landowners’ estates increased dramatically. There is a history, then, of the peripheral poor being used as pawns in a game of property speculation. In subsequent decades there was less of the economic exploitation but the same degree of political blinkering. The expansion of the periphery took on a different scale in the 1970s — 9 —
with a wave of migration from the north-east leading to an explosion of favelas. Again it was a case of laissez-faire politics, with another military dictatorship deciding that the periphery was not in the municipality’s jurisdiction, but that the outlaw favelas would be tolerated so long as they looked after their own interests (which meant that the government didn’t have to). The Sao Paulo of popular imagination is conjured by photographs of a dense field of skyscrapers and tales of its helicopter-borne elite on the one hand, and by a creeping fringe of favelas on the other. But it would be overly simplistic to see the city’s composition in terms of a wealthy core surrounded by a ring of poverty. While new migrants tend to concentrate around the periphery, they are not alone. It is a place of extreme social contrasts. Sao Paulo followed a familiar course in the 1980s and 90s, with wealthy citizens fleeing the inner city for the suburban isolation of new gated communities. Alphaville — the sprawling enclave of manor houses and swimming pools on the city’s north-west edge — is the most notorious of these. We shall drive past it later, but such places are not the focus of this journey. Not only is there little to distinguish Alphaville from the suburbs of Phoenix, there is scant inspiration to be found in the capacity of the rich to look after themselves. By contrast, the tenacity of the poor in carving out a life in this brutal city is a constant source of amazement. — 10 —
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