Sofia Airaghi

How does urbanism manifest itself within a city by the water? How do we use these unique spaces were the city meets the water? How does this play out in Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco?
Spring 2015

I will be studying urban patterns in Rio de Janeiro and comparing them to my hometown of San Francisco. I am interested in the similarities and differences in land use in each of these cities, especially as it pertains to the area where the city meets the waterfront. Both the calçadão and the Embarcadero are highly used areas of the city in terms of economy, recreation, and transit. I will incorporate the histories of how these areas transformed from a utilitarian site of commerce and exchange to the current redevelopment of both of these areas into sites of leisure and collectivity. Each of these projects has made strides in the habitability of these cities, positive impacts on the tourism sector and the economy as a whole. Both of these sites have evolved as a manicured postcard image for the city, and I am interested in studying this transition as well as other areas of the waterfront beyond the postcard areas that are currently raw and could benefit from future development while maintaining local economies in mind. If future development projects directly involved and served the needs of local residents, they would be able to feel more of a sense of ownership over a piece of their ‘postcard’ city. I will use a geographic perspective to analyze the various uses of urban space along the calçadão and the Embarcadero. I will also use a cultural analysis lens to explore ways in which societal, climactic, racial and economic politics play into these spaces. In studying these two sites I hope to find commonalities in the successes and areas for improvement of both of these projects so that this could potentially be applied to future waterfront redevelopment projects in these cities and beyond.