City to City Barcelona FAD Award 2012

WINNER//Rio de Janeiro

In the opinion of the jury, this comprehensive urbanistic intervention has deservedly won the City to City Barcelona FAD Award 2012 for having become a worldwide urban policy standard that has enjoyed the involvement of the citizens and has served – and is still serving– to democratise the right to the city and its enjoyment, to combat the city deficit and its divisions, to reinforce social ties and at the same time respect its history.

Rehabilitation programme in the favela district

(Río de Janeiro// 3.620.000 inhab., Brazil)

During the 20th century the city of Río de Janeiro has turned its back on what was one of the worst urban scenarios worldwide: the favelas. Their clear presence in the life and character of Rio has contrasted with the urban development treatment it was receiving: from negation to the determination to eradicate. A century after they first appeared, major efforts have been made to develop and fully integrate them into the city of Rio de Janeiro.

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The Judging Panel of the City to City Barcelona FAD Award has decided to award a mention to the following cities in order to showcase the diversity of candidatures submitted: the project Collective Light for Rural de Mali and the project Container Temporary Housing d’Onagawa (Japan).

MENTIONS// Rural comunity of Cinzana

Collective Light for Rural Mali

(La Commune Rurale de Cinzana// 60.000 inhab., Mali)

The Mali project has been recognised as a process “that has adapted to the organisational, social and cultural peculiarities of the population, involving it in the process of defining and developing a collective lighting system”.

Foroba Yelen, or Collective Light, is the name given by the women of Cinzana, a Malian village, to the lighting prototype designed by the Italian architect Matteo Ferroni following an anthropological study done with the eLand Foundation. This technology, spread in the Commune Rurale de Cinzana by the youth organization ADM Faso Gnietàa, has turned the night into a time devoted to socialize, work and celebrate.

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The making of … Foroba Yelen: Collective light for rural Mali

Audio of the Matteo Ferroni’s talk explaining the project development process of Foroba Yelen during the FADfest 2012.


MENTION// Onagawa

Container Temporary Housing

(Onagawa// 11.186 inhab., Japan)

The jury has placed value on this project “for having rovided a response to an emergency situation through a solution that goes beyond a makeshift fix thanks to the degree of convenience, adaptation to family needs and its ability to generate the spaces inherent to a conventional city”.

Container Temporary Housing is a project that sought to overcome the insufficiency of flat land in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake by creating a housing system based on stacking shipping containers. This initiative has totally revolutionised the temporary dwelling concept.

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Rio’s more than 600 favelas, which together house a million and a half people, were entered as undeveloped land in the municipal registers and land registry. The city ended where the formal city ended. However, in the year 1994 the Favela-Bairro programme was launched with an approach that greatly differed from previous actions: the empowerment of the favela inhabitants, granting them ownership of the constructions and treating them as inhabitants of the formal city, that is to say, with a right to the social services within their reach.

The principal actions of the programme are: to complement the principal urban structure, to provide the necessary environmental aspect to transform the favela into a district by means of urban elements, to consolidate the favelas within the urban development plans, to introduce social services, to drive forward urbanistic regularisation and to put order in the land registry by granting titles of ownership. This work has been undertaken with the full collaboration of neighbours’ associations, in some cases very mature ones, as some of them had been calling for urban improvement for years.

To urbanise the favelas means to democratise the right to the city and its enjoyment, to combat the city’s deficit and a divided city, to connect the urban structure, to reinforce existing social ties and to respect the history of each place, its construction and the investment and building effort each citizen makes. The strategy to achieve these objectives has been to find the linchpin that would allow the formal city to be combined with the informal city through respect for and understanding of forms. Formal integration goes hand in hand with the introduction of urban, social and cultural services and the educational and economic promotion of the inhabitants. Work according to these criteria has been carried out in more than 60 favelas and 8 medium-size and large irregular neighbourhoods (between 500 and 2500 dwellings), but with responses that are in keeping with each place. First, correcting the risk of landslides or flooding and moving the dwellings where no correction was possible. Second, extending the minimum urban utilities provision (power, water, sewerage, waste collection), construction of structures (streets, squares, cable railway, etc) and last, social, cultural and sports services such as civic centres, nurseries, schools, sports halls, venues, etc. The programme has been financed with 300 million US dollars, 60% of which comes from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and 40% from the City Hall.

The programme has brought the cariocas out of the favelas and legal limbo in regard to their dwellings and has given them a right to the city that they did not have before. Equally, the plan’s success resides in the balance between small- and medium-scale urban development actions (very different to the relocation practices of previous decades) and social policies. To begin by treating the favelas as districts and treating their inhabitants as citizens is a huge exercise in urban inclusion without encroaching on the informal and spontaneous character that has made of the favelas a unique and special landscape in the world.

//Proposal by Secretary’s Office for the Prize

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Mali’s Commune Rurale are a conglomerate of communities spreading in satellite shape throughout the rural territory. Its population, which taken together comes to between 15 and 60 thousand inhabitants, uses a cross-sectional collective organisation as the operating administrative unit. These units represent a form of use of shared assets that generates a strong feeling of collectiveness and community not seen in other forms of organisation.

The Foroba Yelen project has the principal objective of fitting in with these organisational peculiarities of the population, avoiding any invasive form of lighting of the collective spaces in the Commune Rurale. Between 50 and 95% of the hamlets live without power supply. Matteo Ferroni, the driving force behind the project, found a way of creating lampposts built by the inhabitants themselves from bicycle frames and LED-type lights to address the lack of light in these hamlets. For the implementation, a collective fit-out system was devised (Atelier Lumière) that is in charge of manufacturing, maintaining and distributing the lampposts, not under the concept of “commercialisation” but as collective assets.

The project was launched in October 2010. Once the lampposts passed the standards of the World Bank, the first implementation began in October 2011 in the Commune Rurale de Cinzana. Of the 68 hamlets that started out on the processes, 11 (a total of 8,080 inhabitants) succeeded in grouping together into two associations. In each one of them the Women’s Collective, with the help of the ADM Faso Gnieta association, convinced the government agencies to distribute 60 lampposts in 10 communities in return for they themselves paying for 50% of the cost. With the capital obtained, a communal fund was established for the maintenance of the lampposts and the financing of activities such as children’s vaccinations and literacy classes among others.

The project is currently consolidating an alliance with volunteers from the Peace Corps Mali to incorporate the community of Sansanding. The potential for development is considerable. The cultural impact can be seen in the fact that the community of Cinzana christened the lampposts “Foroba Yelen” (collective light). The activities generated under this light have an important symbolic value for the cohesion of the community and the inhabitants and is beginning to identify this light as something inherent to these activities. As for the economic benefit, the rental of the lampposts is equivalent to a savings of 8,000 FCA– the current cost of renting a unit – to 2,000 FCA. The savings in production is also great, 1,700 € (the real cost in the cities of Mali) to 380 € by using the production systems of the Atelier. Lastly, it is estimated that 4 lampposts are sufficient for 5-6 hamlets. The light can be maintained for up to 7 hours with a small 12-Ampere battery and a 14-W solar panel suffices for charging 4 lights on a sunny day.

//Proposal by Matteo Ferroni

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Shigeru Ban is a renowned Japanese architect who uses unusual materials such as paper, wood or plastic to create lightweight and self-sustainable constructions. Since the earthquake of March 2011, he and his group of architects are bent on a task of visiting more than 50 refuges in order to install 1200 Paper Partitioning Systems that allow the shelters to be divided up and provide privacy between the families. When learning that the village of Onagawa did not have sufficient flat land for building temporary dwellings, they gave themselves over to the task of devising temporary homes over three levels made from shipping containers.

The construction system is based on stacking 20-foot-high shipping containers in a chequerboard pattern that permits luminous spaces to be created between them. Their construction overcomes the principal factor leading to the insufficiency of temporary homes: the lack of flat land in areas affected by natural disasters. In addition to this major contribution, the construction devised by Shigeru Ban boasts other no less estimable advantages: it shortens the construction period; generates intervals of space that facilitate the creation of parking areas and communal-use structures; it can be used on a permanent basis and possesses excellent safety levels under seismic activity.

Within the project, three dwelling types were devised to adapt to demographic requirements: 19.8m2 for one or two residents, 29.7m2 for three or four residents and 39.6m2 for more than four residents. In order to provide storage space, the Voluntary Architects Network (VAN) group took charge of assembling and installing shelving in each one of the residences. More than 200 people from the rest of the country came to Onagawa to help in the construction. The activity also found an echo in personalities such as the musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Luis Vuitton Japan corporation and the “More Trees” organisation, which designed and donated the table structure that, based on paper tubes for the legs, allows the height to be adjusted to the tastes of each one of the residents. A market was built in the communal spaces to cater for basic needs and create new forms of commercialisation. Lastly, and using the very concept of turning the constructions into a true permanent home, a learning centre (Atelier) was designed and built with the help of the Kyoto University of Art and Design and the Tohoku University of Art and Design, a centre that operates as an artistic workshop, gallery and space for cultural interaction.

The project started its processes in April 2011 and only 5 months later had succeeded in erecting 9 buildings (180 homes), a community centre, a market and the Atelier. This initiative has given a home to more than 400 people and its design seeks to vastly innovate the concept of the provisional home.

//Proposal by Suzanne Strum

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