Public Space in São Paulo

New Urban Practices and Configurations of Public Space in São Paulo

Teresa Caldeira, Professor City and Regional Planning

Project Description

This project analyzes a diverse range of public practices that are transforming the city of São Paulo and its public spaces and that articulate anew the profound social inequalities that have always marked the city.

Over the last decade, Caldeira has undertaken ethnographic research to map these practices, including graffiti, pixação (tagging), rap, skateboarding, parkour, and motorcycling. She argues that these practices, articulated as both artistic production and urban performance, not only give the subaltern new visibility but also express new forms of political action that are contradictory: They affirm rights to the city while fracturing the public with aggressiveness and transgression; they expose discrimination but refuse integration. Thus, they require new conceptualizations of democratic public space and of the role of citizens in producing the city, which the book will develop.

In 2012, Caldeira was named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for her work on urban spaces in São Paulo.