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Culture, socioenvironmental action and river regeneration: the experience of the Hudson in New York and the Funan in Chengdu

Grant number: 21/12328-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): March 29, 2022
Effective date (End): January 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Pedro Roberto Jacobi
Grantee:Victor Uehara Kanashiro
Supervisor: Barbara Browning
Host Institution: Instituto de Estudos Avançados (IEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: New York University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:19/02074-8 - The revitalization of rivers in global cities: challenges for São Paulo and international experiences., BP.PD


The cultural dimension of sustainability is one of the main challenges for facing environmental problems and climate change impact at global and local scales. Processes of river regeneration have been fundamental for the recuperation of ecosystemic services of the waters in global macrometropolis. This project tests the hypothesis of the centrality of culture in river regeneration and urban sustainability initiatives in at least two senses. The first is related to how different cultures of environmental governance impact the urban landscape, public policies and water quality, conditioning the relations people establish with rivers in global cities. The second asks how artistic performances and the cultural dimension of ecosystemic services can influence environmental governance and river cultures in the regeneration process. Specifically, this research will develop innovative transdisciplinary methodological tools for the study of cultural ecosystemic services and will investigate the cases of the Hudson river in New York and the Funan river in Chengdu (China). The proposal is to identify and analyze relevant actions and policies in terms of environmental governance, cultural movements and socio-artistic action in these global cities. In theoretical terms, this research will combine cultural and performance studies with environmental and social sciences, promoting interdisciplinary insights and reflections on culture and sustainability. Methodologically, this transdisciplinary study includes bibliographic review, data collection, document analysis and ethnographic observation, from an arts-based action-research approach. The research is part of the post-doctorate project "River revitalization in global cities: challenges of São Paulo and international experiences" (FAPESP: 2019/02074-8) in development, under the supervision of Senior Professor Pedro Jacobi at the Center of Synthesis USP Global Cities at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo. And the research internship abroad will be accomplished as a visiting scholar at the Department of Performance Studies of New York University Tisch School of the Arts, under the supervision of Professor Barbara BrowningThe main project has been indicating well succeeded experiences of river regeneration in metropolises of the world. However, in São Paulo, despite the advances in the last decades, the problem of pollution and sociocultural abandon of urban rivers and streams is still far from being solved. The project proposes an interdisciplinary investigation about socioenvironmental policies and practices of governance for urban rivers in São Paulo and other global cities, being divided in three parts. In the first part, research and analysis of the main advances and challenges of the "Project of Depollution of Tietê River", besides municipal policies and civil society's initiatives. In the second phase, departing from identification and mapping of innovative socioenvironmental policies and actions, two international experiences (New York and Chengdu) will be investigated empirically. In the third phase, the Forum/Festival "How to revitalize the Tietê River?" will be organized by gathering researchers, public and private managers and leaders of civil society, aiming to promote dialogue and strengthen bonds of this network, and to generate publications with recommendations for the regeneration of the rivers of São Paulo. The research integrates the FAPESP Thematic Project "Environmental Governance in São Paulo Macrometropolis facing Climate Variabilities" (FAPESP, 2015/03804-9), whose aim is to comprehend the impacts of the socioenvironmental degradation and vulnerability and to propose a innovative agenda for acting and integration of different interfaces of environmnental governance in a context of climate changes. (AU)

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