Urban environments are in a constant process of social evolution, political and economic transformation. Attached to the idea of urban renewal is gentrification, a complex phenomenon circumscribing a variety of issues, from the improvement of the built environment and strengthening the local economy to displacement and demographic change. On the one hand, redevelopment means revitalizing neighbourhoods, improving the built environment and infrastructure and boosting the local economy, and on the other hand, gentrification drives up property prices and cost of living, forcing out low-income communities. Is the displacement of local communities a "collateral damage" of urban development? Does redevelopment intrinsically drive gentrification, and can urban environments be revitalized more ethically?
Approaching the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities. A new spatial contract. Learning how will we live together. These thoughts brought by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Biennale 2021, may raise important questions about how architecture crosses and materializes social and political conflicts. To understand a more decentralized point of view, which indicates possibilities other than those dictated by normative mindsets, we interviewed Tainá de Paula, a Brazilian architect and community mobilizer in poor suburban areas.
“I’ve known since I was a child that change would never happen on its own. My dream was to make a positive change as a woman architect and urban planner.” Architect, Activist, and Founder of Warch(ée) NGO, Anastasia Elrouss has been involved in architecture and advocating for women in the field, for nearly 15 years. Through her own practice, she is always seeking to create interventions that are constantly adapting to the users and the environment, “putting the human layer at the center of the architectural experience”. Through her platform, she is encouraging an ongoing conversation about gender equality and the role of women in the workplace and the world.
Across the world, urban clusters have —to a greater or lesser extent— social and economic differences. Reflected in space, these imbalances of income and access to education, health, sanitation, and infrastructure generate ruptures more or less visible —although drastically felt.
The issue of the housing deficit plagues virtually all countries today. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, 330 million urban families worldwide lack decent housing, or housing costs are so heavy that they need to forgo other basic needs such as food, heath care, and education for children. According to the WRI (World Resources Institute), it is estimated that 1.6 billion people will lack adequate housing by the year 2025.
This article was originally published in ArchDaily en Español last October 30, twelve days after the social crisis in Chile escalated. Some ideas of the analysis may feel outdated since some structural reforms were recently announced, but the author decided to keep the original spirit of the piece.
A 4 cent fair increase for the Metro in Santiago sparked mass fare-dodging protests in Chile starting on October 6. Alongside spontaneous street demonstrations, the protests spilled into widespread violence across Santiago during the following days until October 18. That day, the Metro network collapsed, the riots multiplied across the city, and looting and fires were out of control. That night, President Sebastian Piñera declared a state of emergency.