Political Ecology of Sao Pedro (Vitoria, ES)
Doctoral Disseration 1999-2004
The production of space in the favela (or 'comunidade') of Sao Pedro is embedded with one of Coastal Brazil's most fragile, yet dynamic mangroves. The degree to which Sao Pedro's residents are aware of this sustainable development problem is mediated by their socioeconomic needs, personal safety, and democratic organization. This project examines residents' attitudes toward their environment at a moment in space and time in which Brazil emerged on the global landscape of capitalism in the late 1990s through the early 2000s, when the South American giant was invited into the BRIC club of rising powers. This research does a case study of the favela of Sao Pedro in the city of Vitoria, Espirito Santo. Sao Pedro presents an interesting perspective to global-local change and society-nature relations in that it is not located in one of Brazil's two 'mega-cities' (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) but is instead smaller, yet densely and rapidly growing, populated city on the tertiary level of Brazil's urban hierarchy. Sao Pedro provides us with a geographic snapshot of urban change in a Brazil when it realized its global economic worth yet struggled to manage to uneven development, ecological damage, and poverty.
Spatial Politics & Urban Development in Ladeira dos Tabajaras (Rio)
2010 - 2013
Ladeira dos Tabajaras is a community that rests on the steep ridges overlooking propserous Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. The approximately 5,000 residents have one of the most spectacular views of Rio but struggle with life's daily economic realities. 'Tabajaras' was victimized by gang warfare and crime but its relative location to internationally famous Copacabana made it one of the first 'pacification' projects by the Rio police (UPP). This security measure was taken in part to stablize the urban environment in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Yet does this police presence make the residents feel safe and perhaps as equally important, an integral part of Rio's ambition to be a more 'developed' and global city? I am currently collecting quantitative and qualitative data from residents to learn more about their opinions and perceptions of Rio's urban development and social space as Copacabana prepares to host the two largest global parties in the next few years.