Artist: The People of Sau Paulo, The Minhocão Park Friends Association
Location: Minhocão, Sau Paulo, Brazil
Researcher: Diane Dever
The Minhocão is a 5m high motorway that runs through the dense, high-rise residential northern districts of Sao Paulo, in Brazil. Many apartment windows look out onto this carriageway. Since the enactment of the law that keeps it closed to cars during the evenings and on Sundays, the city has been witness to the emergence of new spontaneous appropriations by city people. Interventions and happenings have created a unique and surreal recreational public space for residents, where a multitude of cultural, artistic, and sporting activities take place.This quality of agency is both a political and a social act. The energy of individuals and organizations such as the Associação Parque Minhocão who have campaigned relentlessly, have created a unrivalled opportunity to transform a urban space into a remarkable civic amenity that is peculiar to São Paulo and it’s people, it is a cultural specific phenomenon.
The collective actions of many people occupying this space and energising it with activity of a human scale; walking, talking, running, making things, watching others, playing games, has re-imagined a piece of fast car carrying infrastructure that damages the urban environment. Large roads cuts people off from each other, they are polluting and make residents who live along them feel trapped in their homes, unable to open windows. This new future puts people at the centre.
The long term aim for organsiation The Friends Association Minhocão Park is ‘to turn it into a high linear park with bike path, creating a public space for recreation that reaffirms and further drives the appropriation and reinterpretation of the place by the population, from the conviction that cities are for people.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.