Investigating informal settlements into overall urban fabric - Publicness of space in informal popular settlement favela Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro
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This research is about the publicness of space in informal settlement. Rather than focusing on the physical properties of public spaces, this study scrutinizes their uses and the functions they hold in the lives of the citizens. Along this line was questioned, how publicness of space in informal settlement might relate to the overall cultural life of urban city fabric. Perception of Public space has changed throughout history. Brazilian formal cities hardly had a tradition for social gathering and places of social exchange. The modernisation of Rio de Janeiro city brought new representations - in form and function - leaving behind a personal association with space as a place. At the same time lack of land and migration created urban poor societal strata, which settled in the fringes of the metropolitan city. In these settlements - favelas - the “civic pride” of today’s city emerged. From the last two decades this cultural aspect of favelas was hidden under fear and crime. The new upgrading initiative seemed to have ignored it, by trying to invest and interlink the favelas to the formal city only through physical aspects. In preparation for the global sport events in 2014 and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Santa Marta has been chosen by authorities as a model for slum upgrading that would be repeated through the city. For this reason, Santa Marta was chosen as an appropriate area to investigate publicness of space for this study. The research was narrowed down and focused on five places that were deemed typical of public life in the favela. Two months of fieldwork and applied action research produced data that was organized, designed and guided by appropriate theories, principally those of architect N.J. Habraken and sociologist Per Gustafson. The study focuses on examining what is public in the public places of informal settlement, how they are produced, used, function and what cultural meaning they hold for its inhabitants and the rest of the city life. • The study will show how and why a public space plays an important role in the life of the favela citizens as well as describe their physical attributes. • My case analysis tries to explain relationship and dynamics of pubic space actors in public space. Furthermore it examines the urbanisation processes and shows how those have affected the dynamics of space. • The cultural aspect of public space is highlighted due to the important role it plays, and the meaning it carries for the inhabitants of favela and the city wide cultural life. This research concludes with the presentation of recommendations.