Urban codes inducing street life, a possible approach for the Brazilian case

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    Brazilian cities have experienced several cycles of transformation, which ultimately shifted these places from the Portuguese colonial fabric to modern agglomerations and metropolitan regions. Population figures are still rising as well the urbanisation ratio. There is nothing particular about those processes; it is a general trend observed in most countries of the world. What typifies the Brazilian case is that the country has an enormous income disparity that results in different ways to deal with urbanisation and expanding cities network. Perhaps the most striking feature of the major Brazilian cities, in general, is the social and spatial segregation and their impact on street life.
    This article is part of a PhD research that sums to the debate about the role of planning and planning codes in the context of developing countries, where economic growth and expansion of the cities are, in general, reinforcing existing divides. The other point explored in the study regards the discussion about public domain and the use of public spaces, the particularities of the Brazilian case and the restrictions and opportunities it contains.
    The study investigates the factors related to the vitality of street life in Brazilian cities. To what extent play urban form a part in forging vitality of street life and why? What is the impact of the urban planning regime on the relation between urban form and vitality? For this paper, the study will focus on Recife, a city in the Northeast of Brazil.
    One of the hypotheses of this research is that urban rules can be constructed to induce the creation of spaces where street life and urban vitality can thrive. That is extremely relevant in the Brazilian setting and particularly in the case of Recife where the action of the real estate market associated with a reduced role of planning institutions has resulted in a severe disruption regarding street life.
    The first part of the article reveals the spatial parameters commonly regulated in the planning instruments of Recife and the built configuration that results when these parameters are applied. That is demonstrated through a retrospective of the planning codes of the last decades, analysing and relating planning regulations to specific spatial parameters and the resultant building environment. In this paper, the focus will be on the interface between public and private domains, analysing the role of planning instruments in the shaping of this border.
    In the second part, a series of European examples of rule-based design will be examined. The objective here is to identify the strategies embodied in these rules that somehow deal with the use of public space. Could the analysis of parts of a city, that in principle, have been formed by the interaction of the same actors, under the same social and cultural restraints provide elements sound enough to determine the role of urban rules in the enabling of the vitality of city spaces? In other words, can we, by isolating the context and actors involved, reveal the actual scope of urban rules when it comes to forge vitality or street life?
    The paper concludes with an attempt to point out possible contributions of the European experience on urban rules to the Brazilian context. The limits and challenges regarding transferability and adaptability of European practice will be examined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings 30th Annual AESOP 2017 Congress
    Subtitle of host publicationSpaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity: Fostering the European Dimension of Planning
    EditorsJ.A. Ferreira, J.M. Simões, S. Morgado
    Place of PublicationLisbon
    PublisherUniversidade de Lisboa
    ISBN (Electronic)978-989-99801-3-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event30th Annual Aesop Congress 2017: Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity: Fostering the European Dimension of Planning - Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 11 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


    Conference30th Annual Aesop Congress 2017
    Internet address


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