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Urban dispersion and urban fabric changes

Grant number: 02/07742-8
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: September 01, 2003 - May 31, 2008
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning - Fundamentals of Architecture and Urbanism
Principal Investigator:Nestor Goulart Reis Filho
Grantee:Nestor Goulart Reis Filho
Home Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Our main goal is to study the changes in the urbanisation(1) process in Brazil, specially the metropolitan areas of the São Paulo state from the 70's on from the urbanistic and architectural standpoint. On a large scale basis the research focuses on the distribution patterns of the different parts of the metropolis in the territory. Therefore, one must deal with the concept of dispersal or diffuse urbanisation. In a smaller scale the research studies the organisation shifts of the urban fabric.These changes the so-called dispersal urbanisation, leading to a consequent "regionalisation" of the daily life;.in the people's way of life -people's day to day activities grow in mobility and are organised in metropolitan and intermetropolitan scales, concerning several municipalities;.in the relations between public and private spaces -collective use spaces a rise often as diversified co-ownership organisations;.in the arrangement of the real state market, where multi-use projects are developed;.in the design standards -new configuration of urbanistic compounds aim to meet the changes above indicated.Such changes tend to outmode the current standards of state control (in all its levels): the control over the production and management forms of the urban space. They also tend to outmode the traditional professional practice of the architects. We do know that similar processes are taking place in most industrialized countries presenting high urbanization rates. Our goal is to study the specific form these changes assume in São Paulo state. By doing so we hope to contribute to the search of answers for the question of how to deal with these changes, both in public politics and in strategies for the professional role of the architect.Our general hypothesis is that the dispersal urbanisation should be studied in two but interrelated scales or fields. This would allow its understanding and explanation from the architect's point of view: 1) The first scale considers the region(2) or metropolitan area. The regions have been showing an increasing dispersion of nuclei or poles, a growing presence of empty spaces and a frequent reduction of settlement density as a whole and in some of its relevant parts. This includes even some parts of the traditional settlement fabric. This formation is named nebula by some authors (MUNARIN; TOSI, 2001); 2) The second scale describes the urban fabric. The concept of urbanisation, here, means the constitution of urban areas and urban tissue. Region, here, means intra-urban space of the metropolitan area. In other words, how the physical and legal relations between the public and private spaces are defined. The term private can be understood as property and as appropriation. And this also means how the same relations between the spaces of private use and the spaces of collective use are defined, these latter being of public or private property. We analyse both scales using a concept defined by Villaça (1988): the intra-urban space. The property (appropriation) of the urban space is defined in the scale of the urban fabric. In this very scale the material production as well as the appropriation, use and transformation of the same space are defined. Presently these are the relations determined in design and in building -the material production of the space. That is why we must take them as empirical basis.For a preliminary approach the urban dispersion may be characterised by: a) the melting of the main centres urban fabric; b) the constitution of clusters or nebulae of urban nuclei of different sizes, all integrated in an metropolitan area or in an group or system of metropolitan areas; c) the transformation of the railway and motor-road network so as to back the daily intra-metropolitan passenger transportation; d) the acceptance of metropolitan ways of consumption that are already scattered throughout the metropolitan area or system of metropolitan areas, which is the case in São Paulo.The changes in the urban fabric ways of organisation may be characterised: a) by the frequent use of Modernist movement urbanistic principles in private capital projects; b) destined to the middle and high income classes; c) for such uses as housing, trade, industry, leisure and culture; d) generally presenting multiple uses; e) generating new centralities and f) presenting complex co-ownership forms (AU)