History and landscapes take backseat to modernity

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(Rio Mar occupies the scenery where there was a swamp and shares the
landscape with churches in the neighborhood of São José)

The preservation of the history of an urban center becomes the maintenance of buildings, landscapes and peculiarities that document the past and give countenance to the locality. Unfortunately, the face of Recife, a city born on islands, river branches and canals crossed by bridges, has gradually disappeared. Areas that gather together natural scenery and ancient buildings of unquestionable architectural value are fading gradually.

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(Towers with Brasília Teimosa and Pina in the background)

It’s impossible to recognize Cabanga as seen from São José and Recife Antigo, for example. The Rio Mar shopping mall and its owners replaced a large portion of the estuary that makes up the Pina Basin – one of the last pieces of evidence that we live on a mangrove. Similarly, it’s weird to look at downtown from the bridges that connect Cabanga and Pina.

The centuries-old houses and historic churches are engulfed by the ‘twin towers’ put up at the pier near the old swing bridge. The scenario will get even weirder with this Novo Recife project between and José Estelita Pier and Av Sul. Nothing against the occupation of forgotten areas that need and deserve to be revitalized, sheltering people, trade and “populating” the city.

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But, I’m all against property speculation taking over mangroves, violating landscapes and causing concrete spikes to shoot up where the city’s history is told (why not limit the number of floors/stories?). The lack of limits on the height of buildings associated with the culture of exclusivism (buildings and gated communities themselves, as if they were erected into an independent territory of the metropolis), steals the features and the soul of the city.

The photos in this post attest to what’s written here. The first two, posted on a friend’s Facebook page, encouraged me to write this post. The subject might not be on the agenda, but it needs to be debated and a decision needs to be taken (and commitment to history) by the government. It is sad to see the city lose its DNA daily and be converted into one more among many, with mirrored buildings – taken as proof of their luxuriousness and “development” – and disconnected with its surrounding reality.” – Source (PT)

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2 responses to “History and landscapes take backseat to modernity

  1. Greenery in Recife has been reduced significantly with the increase of the built environment and the demands of population density (and land speculation) that squeeze out spaces for trees and plantings. Brasília Teimosa is a striking example. Aerial photographs from the year 1979 (in stark contrast to the present) depict a virtual carpet of vegetation among the residents’ dwellings. The just-published book by Sussex Academic Press (“Rights of Way to Brasília Teimosa: The Politics of Squatter Settlement”) also contains a series of such photos (the unoccupied landfill site in 1951; total occupation without vegetation in 1967; followed by the verdant colors of a mature neighborhood in 1979).

  2. Pingback: April Round Up | Eyes On Recife·

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