Sunday, 27 Sep 2020

Amazon. From Failure to Burgeoning

How to grow Dick
Amazon
- A man with a seven-inch (18 cm) penis may proudly compare his organ to the average man’s five to six inches (12-15 cm) but be intimidated when learning another wields an eight-inch (20 cm) rod.

The Amazon. Five Great Lakes in the Amazon Basin

The Amazon is covering more than 8.1 million square kilometres (3.127 million square miles), it is a vast territory that has captured people’s imaginations and ambitions. These range from Henry Ford’s attempt in 1928 to build a rubber company town near Santarém, Brazil, to more contemporary projects that have aimed to boost and connect the continent’s economy. Gary Leggett explores the failure of such totaling projects across time and asks why they might have proved inherently flawed.

Dr Strangelove’s closing remark in his namesake film of 1964 comes right before the world presumably ends. He stands up from his wheelchair, addressing the president (Mein Führer! I can walk!), and the film cuts abruptly to a sequence of atomic blasts. A bomb is jockeyed overseas by a wild-eyed pilot. Dr Strangelove bursts out, right before the nuke hits the ground: Sir! I have a plan!

Stanley Kubrick based part of Dr Strangelove’s character on the well-known neocon strategist and thermonuclear tsar Herman Khan, a theorist at the RAND Corporation, founder of the Hudson Institute and coiner of Kubrick’s Doomsday Machine. In 1965, Khan proposed the creation of five ‘great lakes’ – South America’s own Third Coast – in the Amazon Basin.

Amazon. From Failure to Burgeoning - photo 1

The Amazon

Expedition of Theodore Roosevelt

The initiative was meant to curb the expansion of communism in Latin America and shore up local economies with a steady flow of hydro power; a single dam, 30 to 50 kilometres (18.6 to 31 miles) long, would have produced around a quarter of the US-installed electrical capacity. The idea never came to a head, of course; it was intended more as a casual napkin sketch than a full-blown development plan based on a napkin sketch (as was Brasilia). In any case, this kind of totalising gesture was not uncommon. The list of failed projects and proposals for the Amazon is eye-dryingly long. Theodore Roosevelt organised an expedition there in 1914 with his son Kermit – a kind of rite of passage, we assume, into Teddy’s Rough Rider manhood – and among other things (15 pages of poisonous snake talk, for one), Roosevelt wrote that the Amazon, if properly reined in, would make for a generous food basket or global manufacturing center.

 

Mississippi

He almost died of a flesh-eating bacterial infection during the trip. Years before, Matthew Fontaine Maury, the US Navy lieutenant-cum-cartographer, astronomer, historian, meteorologist, geologist, oceanographer and all-round Confederate powerhouse, writing under the pen name ‘Inca’, claimed that the Amazon Basin was ‘but a continuation of the Mississippi valley’, an appendage, a natural extension of the Union’s interrupted destiny: ‘What one lacks, the other supplies. Together, they furnish all those products and staples which complete the list of articles in the circle of commerce.’

One of Maury’s more unhinged proposals was to relocate Confederate slave-owners to the Amazon Basin, arguing that in the same way that the Mississippi valley had been ‘the escape valve for the slaves of the Northern Sta tes, so will the Amazon valley be to that of the Miss’.

 

Amazon. South America’s own Third Coast.Missionaries, Entrepreneurs

Stanley Kubrick based part of Dr Strangelove’s character on the well-known neocon strategist and thermonuclear tsar Herman Khan, a theorist at the RAND Corporation, founder of the Hudson Institute and coiner of Kubrick’s Doomsday Machine. In 1965, Khan proposed the creation of fi ve ‘great lakes’ – South America’s own Third Coast – in the Amazon Basin. Fordlandia houses on Riverside Avenue, Fordlandia, Brazil. What we begin to see then are variations on a theme, a kind of do-it-yourself Manifest Destiny that will use the Amazon, time and again, as a projection screen or fairy-tale mirror writ large. The sheer size of it – 8.1 million square kilometres (3.127 million square miles), occupying 60 per cent of the total area of the eight Amazonian countries, 6 per cent of the planet’s land surface, and holding 25 per cent of the world’s water supply – produces the illusion of an infi nite field of speculation.

  • And so the list of failed projects goes on and on: missionaries, entrepreneurs, explorers, presidents, Nazis, environmentalists, all chipping in on one of the globe’s longest-standing debacles. The Amazon.

Amazon. From Failure to Burgeoning - photo 2

The Amazon

The Crudest Machine in the World. The Amazon

The Amazon. But perhaps the best example of ideological failure (or inadvertent self-critique) that transpired in the Amazon is Henry Ford’s attempt in 1928 to build a rubber company town near Santarém, Brazil, a couple of hours downriver from Manaus. Ford sent the Michigan-based botanist Carl LaRue to ‘find a good area somewhere to plant rubber’ in an effort to free his company from British-owned Asian rubber (vertical integration, Ford dixit).

  • The town was developed to the image of an American suburb – it looks a bit like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City (1932) from the air – and no sooner had the fi rst foundations been built and the fi rst batch of trees than planted things began to go awry. Within the fi rst year, a diehard fungus ravaged nearly 607 hectares (1,500 acres) of Hevea trees, thriving in the crop’s monoculture.
  • It was quickly concluded that LaRue, despite his expertise in Midwestern plant life, had ‘picked the wrong place’. The Amazon.
  • The town was relocated a couple of miles downriver to Belterra in the hope that a better location would yield better crops, but it didn’t. The Taylorist perfection of Fordlandia was ill-equipped to deal with the social and environmental demands of the Amazon.
  • ‘Paved roads, cement walks, comfortable homes, electric lights, telephones – this might be any Midwestern town. But it is Belterra, buried deep in the jungle of Brazil … Yes, there is even a golf course – a sporty 18 holes … Beautiful clubhouse, tropical foliage – and 700 miles from civilization.’ The Amazon.
  • Sure enough, shanties began to spread along the river, clustered around the town, just past the 18th hole, like blight on Hevea leaves, and the inviolability of Ford’s private Eden was swiftly shattered. ‘If anybody had any property right where we were going to clear,’ claimed one of Ford’s emissaries, ‘their land would just be purchased and they would be moved elsewhere.’

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The Amazon

  • The Amazon. Intra muros, the town was hardly the agro-industrial utopia it was made to be. ‘In a program refl ecting Ford’s back-to-theearth philosophy, workers were encouraged to grow their own vegetables for a healthy and well-rounded diet,’ which included banning the consumption of alcohol and replacing milk with soya milk (because Ford hated cows, ‘the crudest machine in the world’).
  • But there was only so much soya milk his employees were willing to gulp down before they snapped. A ri ot broke out when the company tried to install a cafeteria system in order to shorten lunchtime breaks: ‘As the workers filed down the serving line with trays for the first time, one of them suddenly stopped and shouted, “I’m a worker, not a waiter!”’ The Amazon.
  • The final stroke came with the widespread commercialisation of synthetic rubber in 1944, though by this time it was already clear that the project was a total failure even if it was touted, like Mao’s Dazhai Village in the 1960s, as a model ‘to learn from’ and to follow. What Fordlandia revealed, or rather reiterated, was not only the inhospitable nature of the Amazon rainforest but also, by attempting to reproduce an order that was by any measure foreign to the Amazon and its inhabitants, it exposed several flaws (overlooked assumptions, really) in the Fordist model. For one, a labourer is not always, under any circumstance a consumer of his own labour. Ford’s Five Dollar Day initiative, even if brought down to local standards (37 cents a day), was a huge fl op in Amazonia. Most plantation workers would live in Fordlandia for a couple of months, enough time to rake in a year’s worth of income, and then head back to their homes, miles away, sometimes not even in the Amazon, to live off their earnings. The Fordist model, extricated from the American context, lost its Samsonian brawn. It failed to provide a vertical order to an otherwise horizontal, diffused reality. The land was sold back to the Brazilian government at 3 per cent of its estimated value. Ford never visited Fordlandia. A thousand cattle now graze on its golf course.

Continental Drifts. The Amazon

  • Today we have a string (though calling it a string may be too generous; it is more like a puzzle of jagged edges assembled in the dark by a group of drunk nine-year-olds with ADHD and hammers) of infrastructural projects, social movements, extractive operations, global investments, conservation efforts and illegal activities that have transformed the Amazon into one big steamy soup of speculation. The Amazon. One of the 500-plus projects that the so-called Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) comprises – projects that are meant to bolster and connect the continent’s economy, Fitzcarraldo-style – is a highway dubbed the Road to China (officially, the Transoceanic Highway), which bisects the Amazon, connecting Brazil to the Pacific seaboard. The highway has not been yet completed and the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mining is already spearheading (reviving, really) an initiative to build a dam, the fourth largest in the continent, over 110 kilometres (68.3 miles) of unfinished road.
  • The Amazon. Brazil needs hydropower. It also needs to get its soya to China. The solution: flood your own roads. Build a railway instead. Maybe an elevated highway. Or a soya milk-powered hydroelectric plant with a fl oating cattle ranch and a jungle theme park. Because that is what integration means these days: do whatever you have to do to keep the continent spit-stuck together, like a political Pangaea, and make sure it doesn’t drift too far into the left. God forbid.

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The Amazon

The Amazon. Part of the problem lies in how scales are defined. The local is only the local if there is a set of rules and conventions that makes the category useful and practicable, and differentiable from any other particular definition of scale. But there is, of course, an inherent fuzziness in this procedure; we cannot cleanly cut off any political action according to its imagined structure (say, a national park), nor can we say that something only occurs at a given scale. So in this sense, when we are dealing with a territory like the Amazon that defies easy categorization or is really a patchwork of jurisdictions and constituencies conflicting with each other, it is hard to use words like ‘local’, ‘regional’ and ‘global’ in a meaningful or accurate way. When projects are ‘locally’ deployed, they rarely go beyond a half-baked environmental impact statement or a ready-made commission to pocket outside funds. And when the initiative does comes from the central government, as it sometimes does, it comes as a far cry, a technocratic echo, quickly dampened by the exaction of everyday life.

 

Amazonian Communities

A major flaw with Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto’s position regarding the Amazon is precisely that in an attempt to debunk certain myths that for him stand in the way of progress, he reinforces such a disconnect, revealing, by way of disguise, his own myths in the process. His arguments in favor of land titles – that is, that property titles provide poor individuals access to credit and free enterprise – reinforce an idea that now seems dated: namely, that the market is already there, that it is a latent attribute of collective life, inescapable and omnipresent, natural, like ether, and that we can, or rather should, allow it to express itself. This is pure ideology – as ideological as claiming that indigenous communities are better off in voluntary isolation. Amazonian communities are not poor because they do not have land titles. Some of the poorest ones, in fact, do. They are poor – trapped in poverty, that is – because they lack the conditions, the framework, the territorial requirements that would even make a land title useful. This does not imply, by extension, that we should try to change such conditions to fi t the purported usefulness of a land title, but rather, that we should see in what ways the current fabric of these communities raise different, more positive, approaches to development. The Amazon.

This has little to do with an indigenous people’s so called worldview. The whole armature of their subsistence does not allow for an easy ‘transition’ (a politically correct way of saying they are pretty much hurled into the global economy); that we can all agree upon. However, to think that what facilitates the movement of capital in one setting, namely property titles and legal institutions, can be readily transposed to another, producing similar results (which are not exactly golden) is a bit facile. Who is it, afterall, that seeks to have the upper hand here: the locals, who are mostly migrants anyway (some cities, like Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian Amazon, see a 15-person-per-day migration rate from the Andes), or the central state, whose policies have time and again failed to include (involve, engage) the Amazon in its nation-building/resource-extracting efforts. And if it is the latter, why do we pretend otherwise?

The Amazon. Besides, there is no such thing as an Amazonian community. No sample is representative enough. De Soto conjures up the Second Law of Thermodynamics along with Charles Darwin’s ‘warm little pond’ and Aristotle’s concept of ‘abiogenesis’ or spontaneous generation (mice come from dirty hay, moths from the air pockets between sheets, and so on) to make the point that indigenous communities have to behave more like permeable membranes, in accordance with natural laws, that is, if they are to survive the globalist siege (he calls it the globalist ‘tide’). This simply distracts us from the main point: that the siege itself has to be addressed as a totalising failure and one that is good (read: successful) at sustaining itself. And while De Soto may say, with good reason, that illegal activities such as small-scale mining and informal logging account for some of the more insidious threats the Amazon faces today, there is no reason to believe that well-regulated large-scale operations will actually produce, in toto, a rosier outcome.

Amazon. From Failure to Burgeoning - photo 5

The Amazon

The Amazon. Gary Leggett, P.A.I.D (Project in Assistance of International Disasters), Jan Van Eyck Academie and Yale University, 2010 opposite: The sequence of image describes a proposal to transform the Amazon into a giant virtual billboard. By overlaying a grid on an area with overlapping jurisdictions and interests (oil blocks, native communities, deforestation, national parks, and so on), a zero-level value map is generated based on the number of conflicting claims in each cell. The resulting matrix serves as the basis for an online initiative that allows users to buy and bid for real-estate using aerial images of the Amazon as an interface. The funds accrued by the initiative would subsidies conservation and energy projects within the pixel area or elsewhere (even outside the Amazon). Constant updates of aerial images would allow for a near real-time follow-up on such investments.

What seems far more interesting is to ask what forms of failure we are actually talking about. Who or what fails exactly? Nature, technology, language? Is there anything not failing that we should be paying more attention to? Are there better ways of being destructive? Do all deforestation patterns necessarily produce negative feedback effects? Apparently not. A recent paper by a meteorologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tries ‘to reconcile the discrepancy between the decrease in precipitation predicted by general circulation models and the observed increase in precipitation due to specific deforestation patterns, like fish bone deforestation, which [paradoxically] produce more clouds and rain over the deforested patches.’18 But is there really a middle ground between development and conservation or is this only a useful myth that validates the debate’s polarity and hence its bias towards development? ‘T he danger here,’ David Harvey writes, ‘is of accepting, often without knowing it, concepts that preclude radical critique. One of the most pervasive and difficult to surmount barriers … is that which insists on separating out “nature” and “society” as coherent entities.’19 In the case of De Soto, the danger – his weakness – lies in using one as the metaphor for the advancement of the other. The Amazon.

Nature Morte. The Amazon

Consider the architectural rendering. Trees are cut, feathered and pasted with such ease and confidence that it makes nature seem like an exercise in ornament. We spray-paint trees on our facades, we vegetate our roofs and walls, we render a view, a moment, a snapshot of a process of change that is, for lack of a better word, natural, and we say to ourselves, apodictically: Nature. Nature is what is natural. The Amazon.

But it is also dead. In his critique of Malthus, Harvey addresses the question of natural limits: ‘To say that scarcity resides in nature and that natural limits exist is to ignore how scarcity is socially produced [I would add, in the line of Robert Nozick, that it is only socially produced insofar as it is ostensibly tied to a market price] and how limits are a social relation within nature (including human society) rather than some externally imposed necessity.’20 Any view that defines nature as a superstructure, framing and controlling human activity, sustains the illusion that there is in fact something inherently natural about it, some thing-in-itself or Holy Ghost that draws necessary limits to our growth and feeds, at once, our sense of progress. Santiago del Hierro and Gary Leggett, Planes of Violence, 2010 Sectional perspective depicting the layering of conflicting jurisdictions – oil blocks, native reserves, national parks – on a single patch of land.

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The Amazon

The Amazon. The question of scale is inextricably linked to this problem. Nature, as substance or essence or what-have-you, is predicated on the assumption that there is in fact such a thing as continuity between measurable phenomena. Things happen there only if they also happen here. Everything (as every thing) is only qualitatively different if it is quantitatively variable. But this also glosses over an important ontological distinction: the possibility that certain phenomena become entirely different animals when observed at different scales or, more precisely, when described as occurring in distinct spaces (registers, conventions) of representation.

 

Economic Community

Instead of assuming, then, that an economic community is empowered and able to transcend itself, to navigate between scales, simply by virtue of holding legal tenancy over its land (the degree zero of capital accumulation, let’s say), it seems far more interesting to ask how such titles could be spatially arranged or distributed to ensure more radical results. We could imagine, for example, that certain state incentives, like standpipes and power lines, the infrastructural blueprint of a community, could be laid out in predetermined areas (squat here!), producing – pardon the expression – more efficient results than a single damp 80-gram A4 document stamped a posteriori by a man who could not care less what you do with your newfound right. The point is that titles, in and of themselves, do not guarantee anything if they do not, at once, dictate and reconfigure the behavior of the group that gives them sense in the first place. The Amazon.

If there is an underlying theme to the problems discussed so far, it would therefore have to be this: whether we think of nature, capital, culture, politics or any other broad-brush category we use to describe processes that are essentially formless, the problem lies in our assuming that there is something intrinsically whole in the world simply because it can be described. The Amazon is one example among many – albeit of an exceptional size – where our assumptions about human development, assumptions that depend on such categorical wholeness, can hardly hold their own. And if there is anything positive about the failures we have encountered here it is precisely that, in an effort to foist order on to the world, they have added a layer of disjunction, distance and self-reference to the very chaos they sought to tame.

The Amazon. In the last few years, the emergence of a burgeoning middle class in Brazil has transformed the country into one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world. For MMBB Arquitetos, based in São Paulo, social mobility and the upgrading of urban infrastructure represent a unique opportunity to develop the city. Fernando de Mello Franco of MMBB describes the practice’s strategy for ‘urbanising’ much needed new infrastructure. A canal with a public park can be inserted, for instance, alongside a new drainage system, providing
necessary social adhesion in a fragile urban culture.

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The Amazon

 

The Amazon. Restructuring

São Paulo is undergoing major transformations common to a number of industrial cities around the world. The process of productive restructuring has released former industrial sites (mainly fluvial plains of the metropolis’ three main rivers: the Tietê, Pinheiros and Tamanduatei) for redevelopment and reuse. At the same time, the threat of climate change demands renovation of the general modes of transport. Moreover, the rise in urban land values is boosting growth on the periphery, in the mode of favelas, while the central core of the city is emptying.

The context of an emerging economy also raises specific issues. The upward social mobility of a large segment of the population allows speculation that new demands and values regarding the city will emerge. The challenge then becomes the redefining of objectives, strategies and project tools that are able to act within this process.

Macroeconomic restructuring and social assistance programmed, such as Bolsa Família,2 implemented consistently by recent government administrations, have lifted approximately 30 million people above Brazil’s poverty line. As a consequence, the internal consumer market has expanded significantly. The impact of this new middle class on the city is the generation of values that manifest themselves in the use of urban space.3 Currently, about 30 per cent of the population of São Paulo lives in informal settlements. Assuming that the current growth rate continues, the informal and formal cities will be mutually reshaped, suggesting a breakdown of the dichotomies between them. The Amazon.

This transformation of the favelas in São Paulo has been carried out by several public programmes – such as the Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC) and Plano Municipal de Habitação (PMH) – for the regeneration of informal sectors, in terms of both housing and environmental policy. Indeed, informal sectors often occupy the protected areas of springs, rivers and streams of a catchment basin, and their drainage system will be affected the most by climate change. São Paulo’s location on a high plateau will protect it from rises in sea level. Nevertheless, evidence shows that an increase in the frequency and intensity of the rainfall cycle will aggravate the risk of chronic flooding. The need to mitigate the economic impacts of flooding is consensual among politicians and the population. This presents an opportunity to develop an integrated approach to tackle housing problems and water resources management as both issues are strongly related. The Amazon.

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The Amazon

The Amazon. The articulation of housing, sanitation, flooding and water resources policies is already under way in São Paulo, but despite such public transformation programmes much more needs to be done. It is necessary to rethink the design of the city’s infrastructure in order to incorporate urban values into what has been historically conceived only as a technical and functional artefact. Infrastructure should play a role in providing basic services and also in promoting the improvement of the local urban tissues.

The Amazon urban infrastructure consists of fixed elements that support and structure the transformation of the city. These provide the departure points for the proliferation of the multiple webs that constitute the urban fabric. For a city with a fragile urban culture, that lacks a socially constructed concept of landscape, it is essential to ‘urbanise’ its infrastructure.

In this context, MMBB Arquitetos’ hypothesis is that the emergence of a new social class provides an opportunity to investigate new demands for the city’s urbanity. The practice’s approach integrates two fi elds of this type of investigation: fi rstly, rethinking the paradigm of infrastructure; secondly, constructing forms of popular imaginary that can impact the use of space – for example, on to a web that embeds value in urban space as a place for living.

MMBB is based in São Paulo and led by architects Fernando de Mello Franco, Marta Moreira and Milton Braga. The offi ce has been working in informal areas since 2007 when it received the Best Entry Award at the 3rd International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam for its Watery Voids project. The Amazon.

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The Amazon

Watery Voids, São Paulo. The Amazon

The Amazon. Watery Voids is a conceptual project that proposes strategies to boost architects’ participation in the production of the contemporary city. The key idea is to exploit the social capital employed in the construction of large infrastructure projects in order to obtain better results with the same resources.

The systemic character of such infrastructure works impacts both at the local and at the whole-city scale. The solution to an urban problem often cannot be found in the place one wishes to benefit. Rather, it must be sought in spatially discontinuous, yet interrelated, spaces. This can require a more even distribution of government investment than one would expect, particularly when it occurs in the context of an imbalanced battle for public resources in the uneven context of Brazilian society. This is the case, for example, in the efforts to fight floods in São Paulo: a significant investment is planned for peripheral sites in order to solve a problem that affects primarily the central areas of the city where the main metropolitan transport infrastructure is located. The Amazon.

 

The Amazon. Storm-Water Retention Reservoirs

The solution proposed by the government is to build a set of storm-water retention reservoirs, the main purpose of which is to retain water and delay its onset into the city’s main rivers. There are currently about 27 of these facilities, and once completed, this network of reservoirs will be capable of retaining 15.5 million cubic metres (547 million cubic feet) of water. The reservoirs are distributed throughout all of the metropolis’ sub-basins and most are located near informal settlements. The Amazon. This means that tackling the metropolitan dimension of the flooding problem requires the dispersion of public investment in peripheral areas. The starting point of MMBB’s Watery Voids project is to reconcile the metropolitan and the local scales of these interventions.

Spatially, these reservoirs consist of large excavations that are temporarily filled during rainy periods. When not in use, they are abandoned spaces. This network of urban voids, however, might be an opportunity to develop a system to structure the peripheries, if well articulated with other sectoral policies. The Amazon.

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The Amazon

The Amazon. São Paulo has a deficient potable water supply that demands the remediation of its water resources. Once this process, already under way, is finished, new uses for the reservoirs might be envisioned that will allow the project to integrate these facilities into the urban fabric, giving the population an opportunity to interact with the water. Thus the network of voids might be reprogrammed by the population according to its own values of public realm. The idea is that the embodiment of significant images into the urban landscape will build a strong affection and bond between the city and its inhabitants.

Antonico Creek Urban Project, São Paulo. The Amazon

The Amazon. The Antonico Creek Urban Project is part of the favelas urbanisation programme undertaken by the municipal housing secretary of São Paulo. The site is located in Paraisópolis, the city’s second largest favela with an area of about 1 square kilometre (0.386 square miles) and around 60,000 inhabitants, which emerged from the failure of a previous urban project. The creek cuts through an orthogonal grid that was irresponsibly built on highly irregular topography. Currently, it is invisible below the areas of informal building. The projects to be developed by the municipal government will require the demolition of settlements built on these non-buildable areas to create the sites for the slum’s main network of public spaces.

The scope of the project is the design of the drainage system and the reconfiguration of open spaces. However, the main challenge is to create a means of appropriation that prevents future illegal occupations. The proposed strategy is to respond to the initial technical requirements through an articulation of popular imaginary forms that govern the use of urban spaces. The Amazon.

Initially, the project investigates hydraulic models that, on the one hand, foster the reconciliation of the slum and rivers and, on the other, protect the fragile urban fabric from the negative impacts of the heavy tropical rains. The proposal will separate these flows. The perennial waters will be carried by a surface canal, and this will also collect the flooding waters that are compatible with urban activities. The run-off from heavy rain flows will be directed to an underground storm-water retention reservoir. The sanitation of the neighborhood and water cleaning remediation projects promised by the government will allow the population contact with the new stream.

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The Amazon

The Amazon. Running parallel to the canal will be a corridor of open space of varying widths for cyclists and pedestrians. This corridor sits on the site’s gentlest slopes and will be the main mobility axis for the neighborhood. These intense human flows will foster the dynamics that activate and safeguard places. The opening of new building fronts along the corridor will be encouraged, boosting the local service and commerce economies that are usually found on a city’s main circulation axis.

The Amazon. The project will create a linear centrality comprising a sequence of public spaces, similar to one of the most powerful spatial structures in Brazilian cities: the calçadão. This paved corridor is often employed to make the transition between a beach and the urban fabric. Its linear configuration, the possibility of it being experienced in a processional way, and its indeterminacy, give this border a porous character. In the case of Antonico Creek, the presence of a body of water with which one can interact suggests that using the imaginary of beach culture might be successful. Beach culture provides an example of a spontaneous use of space that culturally allows for an active and desirable coexistence, though not totally devoid of conflict. The Amazon.

Both the Watery Voids and Antonico Creek projects investigate possible ways of negotiating the use of space through design strategies. They urbanize infrastructure and expand its values: they consider its role as a structuring system for the city and as a service provider. However, they also open up infrastructure to a variety of popular manifestations that have the ability to transform a technical artifact into an inhabitable place.

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A Four-Inch-Long Penis Is More Than Adequate

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