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The Neighborhood in the Morro. Heterogeneity, Difference, and Emergence in a Periphery of the Global South

Posted on by sarahhwang@berkeley.edu
Filed under: Sao Paulo

Architecture PhD candidate Giuseppina Forte published an article in the September 2019 issue of Lo Squaderno titled "The Neighborhood in the Morro. Heterogeneity, Difference, and Emergence in a Periphery of the Global South." Her article is a sensory ethnography from a collection of urban ethnographies on São Paulo. Forte completed the Graduate Certificate in Global Urban Humanities in 2019 and is a 2020 Global Urban Humanities Fellow. You can read her abstract and excerpt below as well as the full article. 

Forte, Giuseppina. "The Neighborhood in the Morro. Heterogeneity, Difference, and Emergence in a Periphery of the Global South." Lo Squaderno, no. 53 (September 2019). Read the article | See the full issue

Abstract
Read through its most visible characteristics, the neighborhood in the morro (hill) can be anywhere in the peripheries of São Paulo, Brazil, and cities of the global South. Its specificities might disappear within general frameworks used to study urban peripheries, including center-periphery dichotomies, informal urbanism, and the essentialized identity of the poor. This portrait, instead, is about the neighborhood as a landscape of multiple histories, where heterogeneity and difference have produced specific spaces, rhythms, and their sensory emanations. Such an ethnographic approach provides a deeper understanding of emergent forms of the periphery assembled around certain visibilities, practices, and subjectivities, and engaged in uneven patterns of democratic city-making.

Excerpt
Against the bright sky of a weekday summer morning in São Paulo, I have counted 24 helicopters in an hour. They fly from the business center in Itaim Bibi to the Guarulhos airport to the closed condominium of Alphaville, fifteen kilometers northwest of the city. Some of them may land at on-demand heliports disseminated across the Serra da Cantareira, the Atlantic forest that marks the end of the municipality of São Paulo to the north. By helicopter, brides descend amid their wedding guests in the Serra and residents of the residential complex Alpes da Cantareira reach their 1.5 million-dollar houses.

One thousand meters below them, a skin-like fabric of dwellings is perched on the hills, along the basins of rivers, and on areas at risk of flooding and landslides in the Tremembé district. As in other urban peripheries of the global South, Tremembé residents have auto-constructed (DIY) their houses in favelas, illegal and legal land subdivisions. If the elites up there in the Serra can still enjoy the luxuriant vegetation of the “Brazilian Switzerland,” as newspapers used to call Tremembé in the 1960s, people down there in the hills and valleys have been exposed since the 1970s to the effects of massive urbanization. 


City, Culture & Politics in the Construction of I-10 in NOLA: 2019 GUH Undergraduate Studio Reflection

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Nero Dotson is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Economics and completed the Undergraduate Certificate in Global Urban Humanities in 2019. He is interested in ways that private companies can contribute to low-income communities and the growing role of businesses and their relationship with the communities in need. He was a student in the 2019 GUH Undergraduate Studio course, New Orleans: Historical Memory and Urban Design, co-taught by Profs. Anna Brand in LAEP and Bryan Wagner in English, and writes a reflection about the class trip to the Crescent City. Congo Square. A historical site and birthplace of jazz where slaves…


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The work of Global Urban Humanities (GUH) research studios often continues well after the end of the semester.  In Spring 2018, GUH graduate students explored the US-Mexico borderlands with Professor of Architecture Ronald Rael and Assistant Professor of Art Practice Stephanie Syjuco. One of the students in the class, Cheyenne Concepcion, continued her research as a 2019 Monument Lab National Fellow. Monument Lab is an independent public art and history studio based in Philadelphia. Its co-founder Paul Farber spoke at the Global Urban Humanities symposium Techniques of Memory in April 2019. She describes her project here: Territorial boundaries and borders…


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Having emigrated from Egypt to the United States in November of 2005, Menat Allah El Attma is now a third-year undergraduate student studying English Literature at UC Berkeley and a GUH Undergraduate Certificate student. She is a writer, self-taught visual artist, and Muslim woman who is personally invested in a myriad of art forms. To her, art is necessary to meaningfully study history, architecture, religion, science, language, ourselves and each other. The more she practices with these accessible instruments - the pen, brush and camera - the more she understands that the art is in the telling of the story as much…


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Noam Shoked is a 2018-2019 Princeton-Mellon Fellow and was a student in the first GUH traveling course on Los Angeles called No Cruising: Mobile Identities and Urban Life. At Cal, Noam completed his PhD dissertation, which traced the ways in which the design of West Bank settlements became a site of both collaboration and confrontation between architects, settlers, and government officials. At Princeton, Noam will revise his dissertation into a book manuscript and lay the foundations for his next research project on the encounter between modernism urbanism and Bedouin communities in the Middle East. How were you invovled with the Global…


Neutralizing Poverty: Governing Homelessness in San Francisco (Mikayla Domingo)

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Neutralizing Poverty: Governing Homelessness in San Francisco Lecture by Chris Herring for Fall 2018 Colloquium The City and its People. Fall 2018 GUH Colloquium student Mikayla Domingo wrote the following reflection on the November 13th lecture given by Chris Herring, PhD Candidate in Sociology. The pervasiveness of the homeless population in San Francisco has gained attention at the international level following the UN’s recent declaration of it being a human rights violation (Graff, 2018). Chris Herring, PhD Candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley, focuses his lecture around the topic of how criminalizing the homeless essentially perpetuates poverty, while also illuminating the relationship…