Uncontrolled Vertical Growing Coastal Cities in Brazil: Case Study about Accelerated Residential Verticalisation of Brazilian Coastal Cities from South to North, With Focus on Social-Spatial Segregation in the Construction of Urban Space, Forcing the Migration of the Former Local Communities of These Areas – An Artistic Approach (Published)
During our travels along the coast from South to North to visit the main capital cities of the different states, we could confirm an accelerated vertical residential expansion of neighbourhoods in these urban zones, seemingly uncontrolled and supposedly unplanned, with heights of skyscrapers varying from twelve to forty floors built next to each other, surrounded by areas with the dominant presence of houses. In this article, we investigate the whereabouts of the local population that lived in houses in these areas before the verticalisation of the neighbourhoods and search for answers for the question if verticalisation of the city is contradictory to equal urban rights, quality of life and access for everybody living in the city. A special approach was taken, as the production of architecture photography of the skyscraper in theses neighbourhoods allowed us to observe the urban areas very closely. For the consecution of the aim of the research, we used data obtained from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), based on the 2000 and 2010 censuses, to identify the increase in number of apartments in the urban zones of the investigated cities in this period of time to proof social-spatial segregation, causing the migration of the former local population, also confirmed by in loco observations and interviews conducted with residents of the area during the artwork production from 1997 to 2016. We concluded that the former local population in these areas were forced to migrate to less expansive neighbourhoods in the cities or even left the urban zones to live in peripheral zones close to the city. The accelerated and widely “uncontrolled and unplanned” verticalisation processes resulted in social-spatial segregation of the city. In the urban agglomeration, a division has been taken place between privileged and unprivileged zones. In the privileged zones, the construction of huge walls around the condominiums and the lack of people in the streets are provoking increasing security issues and offer limited access only for a privileged portion of the population, whereas, in the unprivileged zones, due to the physical distant to the central working neighbourhoods of the city, people depend on cars. This creates a densification of the rich and an acceleration of the sprawling tendency of poverty. As a result of the process of verticalisation of neighbourhoods in capital cities on the coast of Brazil from North to South, we could identify several problems related to the process, based on our in loco observations and interviews carried out with residents during our field study, such as waterproofing coverings that are causing inundations of streets in the neighbourhoods, increase of temperature, wind funnelling, traffic jams, air pollution and security concerns, as well as large volumes of urban runoff, deficient water supply, wastewater and solid waste collection. One scenario in the future is that the neighbourhoods of the investigated coastal cities will suffer even more spatial segregation due to continued valorisation of its urban land, as areas receiving infrastructure elements. In consequence, the taxation increases and real estate pressure intensifies. The low-income population, known as local communities, are going to be driven out to more distant locations. Where they lived before, their houses are going to be replaced to built skyscraper. The accelerated verticalisation process, as observed in loco in coastal cities from the South to the North of Brazil, has produced increasingly segregated cities, rather than bring together and mix their citizen. As the results of our research show, the continuing and accelerated vertical expansion process in neighbourhoods of the main coastal cities in Brazil is full of contradictions and does not reflect on equal rights and access to the city for all its citizens, but rather reflects on social-spatial segregation. Future research needs to be carried out to accompany closely the urban development processes of the neighbourhoods in the main coastal cities included in this study.
Disappearing Cultures, Cultural Identities and Traditions: Case Study about the Loss of Traditional Communities of Fishermen on the North-East Coast of Brazil Leaving Their Islands an Artistic Approach (Published)
During visits to remote fishermen islands located on the coast of the state of Maranhão in the North-East of Brazil, we realized that a significant proportion of the traditional community left the islands. In this article we investigate the reason why those people left the islands where they lived for generations, to find out about their whereabouts and to answer the question why their culture, cultural identities and traditions are disappearing. And at last to answer the main question what is killing our natives. A special approach for the communities was taken through our ongoing artistic project SUI GENERIS that started in 2012 to produce portrait photography of the people living on the islands, with the aim to enhance the self-esteem of the local population through artwork. For the consecution of the aims of the research, we used series of interviews with the fishermen, which were realized in different periods during our frequent visits of the islands, in compilation with the data obtained from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and from the administrative organ of the reserve, the Institute Chico Mendes for the Conservation of the Biodiversity (ICMBIO), in completion or comparison with in loco observations undertaken by us while living with the traditional communities during periods of ten to fifteen days three or four times a year from 2012 to 2016. We concluded that the traditional communities had left the islands to move to the two main cities Cururupu and Apicum-Açu three and a half boat hours away for multiple reasons, varying from retirement of the elder, buying with the retirement money land and building houses, calling their daughters and sons to live with them, to the search for better educational opportunities for the children as on the islands teaching is only for elementary education and further attending of schools is only possible in the city. Non-reversible social and cultural modifications in the community are taking place, as children of fishermen do not anymore necessarily like to become fishermen themselves by persueing other professions. Traditional community knowledge about their former habitat, diversity of flora and fauna, areas of fish capturing and artisanal techniques are lost with their absence from the reserve area. By living in the city, former supportive and warm-hearted individuals helping each other out and gifted with their distinct hospitality and openness towards strangers become increasingly afraid of other individuals due to urban violence they are not used to and the fact that, on one hand, they are living in the urban environment, while, on the other hand, being mostly excluded from social live due to their low incomes and precarious living conditions. The former, economically stable low-income lives on the islands, based on sharing habitat and fishery and being supportive towards each other when necessary, changed by living in the city; consequently, their human characteristics and social behaviours with the involvement of money necessary for everything what is needed to buy in the city are ultimately and definitely changing, too. One scenario for the future is that the whole fishermen community will leave their islands and live in the city, coming back to the islands only periodically for the purpose of fishing, while they stay in their fishermen cottages (in Portuguese ranchos), this will result in the loss of cultural identities, ways of life, social organization and traditions which are not anymore continued in the urban environment, as well as change in behaviour to loose their singular solidarity, hospitality and openness towards strangers which were related to their former simplicity of life on the islands.
 The locations of the portrait photography production between 2012 and 2016 were the studied fifteen remote islands where fishermen communities live and 20 Quilombola communities in the Baixada Maranhenses region of Maranhão, from Alcântara to Apicum-Açu. The related artwork of portrait photography resulted in a book release with its premier edition in 2016 under the title SUI GENERIS – L’ESSENCE DE LA VIE .:: People and Landscape, accompanied by ongoing itinerate exhibition projects travelling throughout the country and abroad from 2012 to 2016.