The largest slum in Brazil, Rocinha also has one of the nation’s highest tuberculosis rates: up to twelve times higher among dwellers in this Rio favela than among Brazilians in general. Although diseases like this can easily be associated with social inequality, this situation can also be improved through initiatives in a wide variety of areas, especially architecture and urban planning. This is stressed by architect Luiz Carlos Toledo, who designed the Rocinha Space Master Plan. “Determining factors for the transmission and expansion of respiratory diseases like tuberculosis are known to include the number of rooms in homes and how many people live in them; furthermore, localised urban sprawl results in poor ventilation and limited sunlight in these homes," he explains.
Drawn up with the community, his plan proposes to implement ‘green corridors’ through more densely populated areas lining the main thalwegs of the broad valley occupied by this favela. He highlights the importance of planting trees in order to mitigate climate conditions and retain rainwater. “We suggest the gradual introduction of small-scale urban ‘lungs’: squares, plazas and recreation areas linked into a network that will help open up the current tangle of unhealthy alleys and passageways," he published in 2007.
Although implemented only partially, the Rocinha Master Plan has nevertheless lowered the tuberculosis rate in this community, with links between architecture and health is becoming increasingly more evident worldwide. This topic will be discussed in July during the 27th World Congress of Architects, in the 40th International Seminar run by the Public Health Group (PHG) under the aegis of the International Union of Architects (UIA).
The event is being organised by the Brazilian Institute of Architects (IAB), together with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) and the Brazilian Association for Hospital Development (ABDEH). Two crossover themes have been proposed: Health and Cities, (exploring the impacts of urban characteristics on the quality of life) and Architecture for Health (with examples of buildings that help improve the health of sick people and discussions on the importance of humanising health treatment facilities.
Submission is open for papers and project designs on both topics, for presentation at the PHG2020 International Seminar, coordinated by architect Jerônimo de Moraes Neto.
Partnership on Paper and Design Works