Student Work

  • Design and Urban Ecologies (MS)

    Mariana Bomtempo

    Publication and an After-School Program

    Toward the end of the 1950s, Brasília was constructed to be the capital of Brazil. It was built “from scratch” by laborers who not only couldn’t afford to live there, but weren’t allowed to. Now, as the fourth-largest city in population in the country, Brasília faces dramatic socio-spatial segregation, due to the urban policies that kept it sectored. To challenge this reality, it is necessary not only to develop new policies but also to plan for public mechanisms that foster civic participation and value citizens’ priorities. The concept of “participation,” however, has been dangerously misused. When the population is called upon to give their input on issues that are not clear, the outcomes tend not to represent the need of the communities in question. This creates an obstacle: Without knowledge of urban processes and an effective path to achieve their vision, urban citizens feel powerless. They are unable to exercise their “right to the city.” In this project, I contextualize this “urban illiteracy” in Brasília. A sense of belonging is emerging among the new generation of this young city. They are carving a space to create their urban identity. This moment is ripe for the youth to take Brasília. This project is meant to inspire them, to assist them in their discovery of their role as citizens, and to provide the tools that can support them in achieving their vision of the city’s future. In collaboration with one local partner, I am proposing and prototyping an after-school pilot project for high school students in Taguatinga, Brasília. Students will be encouraged to investigate, explore, understand, and discuss their neighborhood in the context of the city and to use creativity as a way to express the outcomes of their findings.