Brazil, Transition, Big Cities, Inspiring projects

Nearly 2 years ago in Barcelona, where I lived for 7 years, I met some really amazing Brazilian girls on the walking tour I was the guide of (one of my jobs at the time), they told me about excellent work going on in the slums of Sao Paulo and elsewhere in their native country. Soon after I wrote an article about some of the very inspiring movements: Brazil, Transition, Big Cities, Inspiring projects. I’m now transferring the article to this, the newer blog.
Inspired by these and other factors, Brazil is now my home, and its great. I haven’t made it to the mega city of Sao Paulo yet, but will get there very soon to see these inspiring projects. Today I see news of even more going on, see Monica Picavea’s article on Transition Brasilandia’s Sustainable Health Fair.
Brasilandia is in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is the first favela (Brazilian shanty town / squatter community) to introduce the Transition Towns philosophy to attempt to bring about sustainable change. I first heard about the incredible work going on thanks to meeting 3 amazing women in Liverpool in 2011: Monica Picavea, Isabela Maria Gomez de Menezes and May East. We have heard stories of the local community taking steps to help clean up their river, amongst other things. The “Transition” movement, comes from the world of Permaculture, and its gist is how to transform communities (of varying scales) from the oil dependent, life sucking, destructive ways of present, to those of less energy dependance, higher resilience, heightened connections to the community, a more joyful and meaningful existence, in all forms, including the economic and socially just…
So, whats going on in this huge country???

InterAção (International network of community action)

+ Um Teto para meu País (a roof for my country)


We are a non-profit organization run by university students and young professionals that through the construction of transitional houses, works with families in extreme poverty in a social inclusion process that will allow them to develop as a sustainable community (Originally started in Chile, now spreading widely in Sao Paulo and Brazil)

I was telling them of a few other amazing projects going on in Sao Paulo, which I found out about last year at the TRANSITION NETWORK CONFERENCE, earlier article previously posted here outlines that: Transition and Big Cities

There is some really inspiring stuff going on around the planet at the present, 2 of us travelled from Barcelona to participate in the recent Transition Conference in Liverpool, or “The Peoples Republic of Scouse” as Pete North put it, a few weeks back and while there we plugged in, connected with other people in transition. I connected as much as possible with people working in cities, who are addressing the challenges, applying the basic ideas of transition to the bigger macro scale.

Here is an excellent audio, via transitionradio, from the Brazilians at the conference:

Forests invading cities: Latest on Brazil turning the tide #ttcon2011

Attached is a recording of a session titled Forests invading cities: Latest on Brazil turning the tide which was led by May East, Monica Picavea, and Isabela de Menezes and held on 10th July 2011 at the UK Transition Network Conference in Liverpool.

Transition Brasilandia network (Credit for all photos: by Wilson Domeneghetti Monticelli)

Transition Towns Brasil

Anyway, here is just a quick post to some of the audios and further issues of whats going on in the world of transition in the big big cities.

Special word has to be made for a FANTASTIC presentation (that could have gone on all day, but we were limited to an hour and a half) from whats going on in Brazil.

Transition Granja Viana

Unleashing of the First Transition Favela with Rap and Samba (6 Jan 2011)

It was a sizzling Saturday morning in December when members of the low low-income Brasilândia community of 247.000 people in São Paulo, gathered with great expectancy for the official unleashing of ‘Transixion’ Brasilândia. Led by the initiating group created earlier in May by members of the Stickel Foundation, with representatives from the arts community, environmental groups, health workers, educators, local authority the first part of the morning was dedicated to celebrate a remarkable chain of achievements.

Related: In his excellent presentation old time eco thinker Stewart Brand: Why squatter cities are a good thing (view vid below) points out that soon (maybe in 10 or 20 years) as present demographics are going 1 in 4 people will live in squatter cities. He points to the work being done by US journalist and political activist Robert Neuwirth ( see his TED vid: The “shadow cities” of the future below too). A more indepth view from Stewart Brand was outlined at a Google talk (view below)


Stewart Brand was outlined at a Google talk
Transition Towns Brasilândia um bairro em transição
Rob´s message for Transition Brazil
May East Green Dreams CIFAL Scotland Director & worldwide transition towns
May East Executive Director of UN’s CIFAL Scotland and it’s Green Dreams project (among many other sustainability programmes) is convinced humanity and the world’s biosphere’s future is in transition for urban areas, and dreams of every village, town and city in the world becoming one over the next twenty years.

Over and out from dunk and juan from the Transition conference.

Thanks Natali and Ana, see you soon in Brazil, PS, Natali, those videos about the indymedia network and alternative media networks are here: N30: The day the political landscape changed forever

Postscript 2014:

Since arriving to Curitiba, I am even more impressed and inspired by the goings on here. In fact, my wife and myself Tania, have got involved with many exciting initiaves, here are a few: Curitiba, CicloIguaçu

CicloIguaçu were founded in May 2011 in Curitiba with a clear purpose: To create an interface for constructive dialogue with the government in order to strengthen the development of bicycle mobility policies. They were key organizers of the incredible #FMB3 (3rd World Bicycle Forum) in February, have a city centre HQ; Bicicletaria Cultural, are leading a collaborative design process for a new urban park, have just created a “Bicimechanic office”, and are a major voice inside the government for the defence of the cyclists’ interests. Once a month they ride their streets on kick ass bike rides.

(This was a collectively worked proposal for the 2014 Barcelona FAD City to City award. View the accompanying PDF of related images here: Iguacu images )



And now, just 1 of the projects from the CicloIguacu network: Praça de bolso do ciclista (cyclist pocket park)

Get your hands dirty, get involved, work with others, make friends, have great times… RECREATE YOUR CITY.

The collaborative design project for a new pocket park in Curitiba: Praça de bolso do ciclista, is nearly ready. Over the following 6 weekends there will be weekend building work happening, starting this saturday. We, the citizens of the city, will build OUR square. Anyone can be involved, so get down, check it out, get invovled…

Let your city become the change that you want to see in the world…

infos here

And lastly, the HQ of the bike world, the little hub of radical creativity, across the road from the new public park, invited me to give a talk a few weeks back: Adventures in architecture

poster curitiba 2




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