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Sensitive mediations of inhabiting the city: participatory architecture and the echoes of the SAAL- Local Ambulatory Support Service (Portugal, 1975 - 1976)

Grant number: 18/11546-8
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 09, 2018
Effective date (End): November 08, 2018
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning - Architecture and Urbanism Project
Principal researcher:Paulo Eduardo Fonseca de Campos
Grantee:Paulo Eduardo Fonseca de Campos
Host: Jose Antonio Oliveira Bandeirinha
Home Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidade de Coimbra (UC), Portugal  

Abstract

Housing production in Brazil has recently reached odd quantitative levels, particularly in terms of large-scale official programs such as the federal government's My House, My Life Program, which leads to reflect on the quality of this massive production of new housing and the deficiencies observed in architecture and urbanism.This research focuses on the study of the user's role as a protagonist and design agent in participatory processes, seeking to understand the use of this recognized design methodology and its economic, social and environmental implications.In turn, this research project is a continuation of another previously developed with FAPESP's Post-Doctoral fellowship from 2014 to 2015 under the designation "The user as protagonist and design agent: from Uruguayan housing cooperatives to the 'Byker Wall' of Newcastle", in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). At that time, immediate connections could be established between the paradigmatic housing complex "Byker Wall" (built from 1969 to 1982) -with about 1800 dwellings and designed with user's participation by the Swedish-British architect Ralph Erskine and his team- and the Brazilian and Latin American realities, considering the well-known model of Uruguayan mutual aid cooperatives which has been widely disseminated, particularly in the city of São Paulo during the 1980s. In addition to these experiences, we can add the case of Local Ambulatory Support Service (SAAL), carried out in Portugal and resulting from an urban social movement that took place in the years 1975 and 1976, after the Revolution of April 25th, 1974.According to the tactics suggested by Robinson (ROBINSON, 2017), the approach proposed here corroborates, in principle, to the vision of comparative urbanism, based on new geographies and cultures for the theorizing of the urban in a globalized world, in which different cities and places -regardless of their location, whether in northern or southern hemisphere- may offer opportunities for establishing connections, through which is possible to contribute to the globalization of an urban theory.Therefore, following the research project already mentioned, the work proposed here seeks to establish possible connections between participatory housing projects carried out in Brazil, under the influence of the Uruguayan Cooperatives, 'Byker Wall' of Newcastle and the SAAL process developed in Portugal in 1975 and 1976.Projects such as this one implemented by Álvaro Siza Vieira for Bairro da Malagueira (Malagueira Neighborhood), in Évora (Portugal), whether for its size (1200 houses) or for its duration (1977-2000), draw attention to their experimental character as a social enterprise and by their degree of innovation, in terms of housing typologies and urban morphology, as highlighted by scholars who have focused on this exemplary achievement.It is, however, also necessary to consider the existing relationship between architectural invention and the ideological and political contours implicit in the various achievements that took place within SAAL's framework (1975-1976), which together constitute the subject of this proposed research. Therefore, it is considered extremely opportune to identify, at present, the signs or echoes of the original process of participatory project that took place in SAAL. For such an approach, this research proposes an ethnographic approach, which can be favored, decisively, by immersion in the life of a community living in a housing complex, for which it is indicated as a case study the neighborhood of Relvinha, located in the city of Coimbra. With this, it is believed that it is possible to glimpse at possibilities offered by participatory processes in housing production, which overcome a purely productivist vision, looking for a higher architectural and urban quality of the social habitat.