Sustainable cities require sustainable communities as well as care for the environment. Brazilian architect, Jorge Mario Jauregui has been working in Rio de Janiero for the last fifteen years to use his skills as an architect to bring infrastructure and community facilities to the informal communities throughout the city known as favelas. Favelas, which house about 20% of the city’s population, have been growing in pockets of unclaimed land throughout the city for the past 100 years. However, since unplanned and originally unsanctioned by the government, these communities lack infrastructure and public social spaces.
Jorge has coined the phrase “favela-barrio” to describe his approach to urban design in the favelas. Literally translated as ‘slum-neighborhood’, it expresses the idea that these informal developments, or shanty towns, are here to stay and are thriving communities; and with some infrastructure and public space can be transformed into neighborhoods. Jorge envisions the potential of the existing network of paths and roads. His architectural interventions involve providing basic services such as water, electricity, and footpaths, and often incorporate the creation of facilities that promote interaction in the form of recreational and community centers. The structures proposed and built by Jorge’s firm are bold and iconic, creating a strong sense of place.
In a project currently underway, Jorge is creating public space in the Manguinhos favela on existing train tracks that bound the community on one side. These train tracks will be elevated and the space below will become a linear park, defined by the conjugation of spaces, activites, buildings and vegetation. Facilities in the park will include sport, cultural, and income generating facilities, with a focus on providing children and teenagers with alternative attractions that will integrate them into the community. The space will also incorporate a new public transportation hub.
This new metropolitan park will be an articulator, attracting favela residents as well as a larger public from the surrounding communities. As an integrated public space it eliminates the existing barrier and transforms the space from divider to connector. By directly intervening at the physical boundary of the favela, Jorge is directly confronting the deeper socio-economic divide that has plagued the city for decades.
Read more on Jorge’s website at: http://www.jauregui.arq.br/
Bridgett Shank works at Feldman Architecture. She had the opportunity to work with Jorge Jauregui in Rio De Janiero.