The co-created story of Jardim Nakamura neighbourhood
Jardim Nakamura is a peripheric community in the city of São Paulo, in Jardim Ângela neighbourhood, and the lucky place chosen for an urban signalling project that aims to tell the story of the territory in order to bring a new sense of appropriation and belonging to the area. The project called “Passeia, Jardim Nakamura”- which means “stroll, Jardim Nakamura” – was developed by two NGO’s; SampaPé! (1), which promotes the appropriation of the city through the genuine act of walking and occupying public spaces; and COURB (2), which promotes the encounter between organizations that aim to strengthen collaboration for development in the urban environment.
On a hands-on effort that occurred on December 7 and 8, 2018 in the streets of the community, different people participated on what is called mutirão in Brazil (meaning bottom-up, collective action) to install three types of urban signalling:
– the first one aiming to point directions and walking distance to specific places within the area;
– the second one showing where people are within the big community map;
– and the third one telling the history of specific places (for example where the neighbourhood started or stories about the local culture). (3)
The project clearly made it possible for the neighbourhood to be reinserted in the history and territory of the city of São Paulo in a different manner, since the acknowledgement that there are stories worth being registered invites a different outlook towards Jardim Nakamura. Children who live in the neighbourhood also participated in the installation of the signalling through a treasure hunt game, where the finding of a signalling spot was linked to the painting of that area with a project symbol. Involving children in this activity aimed to help promote appropriation of the place and the awareness of being a citizen and helping build the local history.
The area already received many visitors before the project was completed, for hosting a local community institution which is an example of sustainability and circular economy – namely the institute Favela da Paz (4), which explores different projects linked to local culture, citizenship, music, clean energy production and the well known cooking project Vegearte (5). This institute also partnered and gave support to the “Passeia, Jardim Nakamura” project, for believing in the value it could bring to the territory.
Besides the direct influence of the project in the community, it has also contributed to the discussion of how telling the story of a place through different lenses can help heal and bring new meaning to a territory; something worth considering when understating the power urban design has to influence the life of communities.