Giuseppina Forte

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Department:
Architecture
Term:
AY18-19

Giuseppina Forte charts the largely ignored historical genealogy of city making in the peripheries of São Paulo, Brazil, and its connection to broader urban dynamics. Going beyond fixed profiles of poverty and subaltern agency, formal/informal and local/global divides, her research uncovers the interconnectedness between the peripheries and the center(s) under republican (1946-64), dictatorial (1964-85), and democratic regimes (1985-present). An exemplary case study in the Northern fringe of São Paulo is the oblique point of entry between global and situated elements, encompassing multiple scales of the built environment (planning areas, favelas, and buildings) and involving different actors—including architects, planners, black/women/LGBTQI community leaders, auto-constructors (DIY builders), cultural producers, and activists. Looking back at the city through practices occurring in the peripheries will contribute to repositioning them as historically relevant sites of radical politics, citizenship production, and urban subjectivities, and to revealing their critical role in generalizing models of architectural and urban theory. These outcomes will be significant for cities across the global South, where peripheral urbanization is the prevailing mode to produce urban space. They will also be timely for cities in the global North where, for instance, a resurgent “culture of poverty” informs readings of the United States’ impoverished suburbs and an enduring theory of “marginality” is the lens to understand the “no-go” areas in the banlieues of Paris.