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Thread: Latin American fortified suburbs

  1. #1
    Member
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    Sep 2004
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    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
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    Latin American fortified suburbs

    hello all,
    i'm an economist, and research assistant in urban and regional planning at the federal university of minas gerais in brazil. i''ve been studying urban sprawl in the metropolitan area of belo horizonte, a greater city with 4 million inhabitants in the brazilian southeast (the country's 3rd largest city, after são paulo and rio de janeiro).
    a recent phenomenon has been calling planners' attentions down here, whcih is the emergence of hundreds of closed (with gates and walls) suburban residential communities in some of brazil's largest cities (and in latin america as well, mainly in chile and argentina, that i know of). their closeness to public access is inconstitutional and illegal, since they are served by public services. but, probably, due to level of urban violence that the urban cores of these cities have reached, authorities have remained outside this legal matter. my question, though, and proposal for debate, is related to the "new urbanism" movement in north america. interestingly, the biggest and most closed and fortified of these suburbs (called alphaville) claim themselves as "the major representative of new urbanism in brazil" in their brochures and websites (www.alphaville.com.br). it's a fact that in some parts, they do mixed-use development and higher density housing, but it's not only privatized and behind closed gates (only the residential parts though), but about 20 miles from the city center, with huge empty areas along the way! to me (only a beginner to the subject, not an architect, just a student of urban economics), it's a complete distortion of what new urbanism is supposed to mean and envision.
    what do you all make of that?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Dec 2004
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    Portland, OR
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    I would agree...not only does the act of closing off a neighborhood to other people seem against New Urbanism, I think an important tenet of New Urbanism is mixed income housing. So the concept of a gated community, where ostensibly everyone is of a certain high income, is in essence against the idea of new urbanism.

    I'm very much interested in urban planning in latin america...do you know of any opportunities for american students (who have studied spanish) to get experience in urban planning in brazil, or elsewhere in latin america?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    While new urbanism, the concept, is decent... I've found that the practice isn't really much different from traditional suburbs. A good way to view it is the suburb in a different package. I would imagine that the mixed uses will have problems staying in business.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

  4. #4
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    planning in latin america

    Quote Originally posted by urbanleopold
    I'm very much interested in urban planning in latin america...do you know of any opportunities for american students (who have studied spanish) to get experience in urban planning in brazil, or elsewhere in latin america?
    well, in the practice of planning, latin america is in a very bad position due to the major macroeconomic budget constraints that most governments down here have been working under, which affects any planning activity greatly.
    but in academics, i know of a couple of very good centres here in brazil. the first is IPPUR (instituto de pesquisa e planejamento urbano e regional) at the federal university of rio de janeiro. the other one is the geography department of USP (university of são paulo). regarding other latin american countries, i'm afraid i can't help you. just an observation: in brazil, we speak portuguese. but if your spanish is good enough, you can eventually get around... one important advantage is that most universities here are very open to foreign students and researchers in general.

  5. #5

    Registered
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    Solano County, California
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    Latin America? Heck, this is the future of the United States, too. Once the Chinese and Euros stop buying our bonds and debt and the "middle class" disappears

    (My off-topic gloom of the day is now over)

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