The Informal City

The Informal City of the 21st Century exhibition considers the challenges of informal settlements and looks at possible solutions.

The Informal City of the 21st Century is a travelling exhibition, currently in Milan, exploring the informal city in all its precarious occupations.

Curated by Marisa Barda, the exhibition is set against the backdrop of the Paraísópolis favela, in the Morumbi district of Brazil. Through detailed blueprints, statistical data and definitions of social, political and spatial characteristics, the Informal City reveals the challenges faced by specifically the Sao Paulo informal city where the lack of planning means there is little or no infrastructure and services.

Presenting 18 projects for seven different favelas, the exhibition brings together the work of international collaborators all looking at how Sao Paulo’s 1 500 favelas can be transformed into districts integrated within its immediate formal territory.

Each of the projects were guided by four headings, or principles:

Connections: Translating the meaning of connecting the territories of the informal city to the formal one and building sustainability.

Transitions: Refering to project interventions that exploit the links between public and private spaces.

Fruition: Proposing alternative solutions to the traditional techniques for drainage, water use and recycling systems. The highlights are those alternatives that seek the sustainability of these urban systems.

Transformation: Displaying projects that result in changes in the existing morphology, like areas occupied precariously that are transformed into parks, new homes or spaces for circulation.