Architect researches about building integrated cities

From the website of Federação Nacional dos Arquitetos.

Carolina Viviane Nunes, 35, graduated in Architecture and Urbanism from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), is breaking new ground in the struggle to build more integrated cities. The architect, born in Blumenau (SC), is currently developing a study in Germany on Rivers and Cities, which was started at the academy in 2004.

With a postgraduate degree in Sustainable Architecture from the Regional University of Blumenau (FURB) and an MBA in Real Estate Business Management and Civil Construction from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), Carolina is expected to remain in Munich, where she currently resides, until the end of this year. Follow up on the project. After that, he returned to Brazil to develop a project with young people.

The idea, according to her, is to think of cities that are more integrated with nature and focused on human use, prioritizing the interaction between people in public spaces. In Germany, the project began in November last year, when Carolina joined the German Chancellor Fellowship, a program that aims to promote the professional career of the participants and create bridges between Brazil and Germany within a dialogue of modern societies.

Carolina’s project can be checked at, created with the support of Sindilojas, IHB, Carton Druck and Todo Livro. The site brings together various ideas, articles, photos and videos.

Check the interview:

1. When and how did you start your research on Rivers and Cities?

My project in Germany started in November of last year, but the conception started in 2004, when I was still a student, in the discipline of Regional Planning. I had contact with a brochure published by Walter Binder of the Department of Water of Bavaria in which he reports on the objectives and studies that gave rise to the process of renaturalization of the river Isar.

2. What is the purpose of this study?

My study is not an academic and specific research. It is a broader and more comprehensive research with the aim of building a management thinking. The project is about the construction of cities more integrated with nature and designed for human use and social interaction among people in public spaces – which are the places that belong to everyone! And how this was done technically and with the participation of society, with case studies in Germany and with researches in the Netherlands and Denmark. While in Brazil we still follow the European model of the last century, to straighten the rivers and build the banks with concrete, in contemporary Europe, the model is today to renature the rivers, that is, to remove / reduce human interference and improve to a situation closer to the natural, Improving protection against flood, the natural condition and create recreational spaces for the population.

3. Will any project be executed in Brazil? Are you expecting when this might happen?

In order to carry out projects, it is necessary the support of the population and the politicians. It is also necessary, of course, financial resources, both for the project part and for the subsequent execution of them. The renaturalization of the Isar river in central Munich cost about € 13 million (approximately 1/3 to remove rubble from the war) and the projects cost approximately 10% of that value. It is interesting to note that the idea emerged in the 80’s, but the pilot project was developed between 1995 and 1999. These almost 20 years between the idea and the beginning of the execution were meant to aware the population, change of point of view and education. This was at a time when the spread of ideas was more limited and the project was pioneering.

I am empowering myself to lead these projects. I am currently seeking resources to make feasible a project, engaging 500 young people a year in the cause of rivers and cities in Brazil, for next year, and to promote an exchange with Germany.

4. You were greeted by the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. How did this happen?

I’m German Chancellor Fellow, a fellowship program for potential influencers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and the United States. The program is organized by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an institution with a network of more than 26,000 researchers – including 54 Nobel Prize winners – and is under the patronage of the German Chancellor. The reception with the president is part of the Foundation’s Annual Meeting at the Schloss Bellevue, which is the reception palace and the president’s official residence.

In addition to the president in June, I was also welcomed by Chancellor Angela Merkel last Wednesday (7/18), this time in a meeting restricted to me and my colleagues German Chancellor Fellows. We were received at the Bundeskanzleramt (the German Federal Chancellery). We also had the opportunity to talk about current affairs with members of the government and were received at the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Affairs), where we participated in debates and learned about cultural programs. During my program, we participated in seminars and study trips, in which we had contact with several German institutions.

5. How is the process of developing research and practice of projects at this moment in the country?

There are very interesting researches and initiatives in Brazil. It could highlight a process of renaturalization in Minas Gerais, which is focused on environmental recovery, and the movement Rios e Ruas, in São Paulo, which aims to dis.cover the rivers in the city. Brazil has an interesting format, with legislation that recognizes water as a public domain good and the Basin Committees. We architects should be more present, since regional and urban planning is our professional assignment.

6. How important is the process of preserving rivers and to the cities?

80% of the Brazilian population lives today in urban areas and the rapid and enormous growth of our cities has not been accompanied by an increase in quality of life. Rivers and banks are public spaces and we can use the potential of rivers to reconnect people and nature. More natural linear parks that provide leisure, mobility and health of the population, rather than concrete banks and straighten rivers. Considering that Brazil is the richest country in water and biodiversity in the world, integrating rivers and cities in Brazil is to promote a more sustainable solution that takes into account the natural character of rivers and promotes the meeting of people in public spaces.

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