Amplify Pompeia / Sao Paulo / Brazil

The project Amplify Creative Communities arrived in Brazil as an integral part of the 10th Sao Paulo International Architecture Biennale in 2013, in a partnership between Biennale, SESC Pompeia and Eise, School of Innovation and Services.

Initially started by the DESIS Lab within Parsons The New School of Design in New York City, Amplify Creative Communities provides a platform to expand community initiatives that develop more positive ways of living and working.
By disseminating collaborative initiatives that result in new and sustainable lifestyles, the project inspires individuals to adopt transformative examples.
This has a multiplier effect, linking the individual choices into collective actions that establishes more desirable, sustainable urban centers.
Social Innovation in Vila Pompeia
Find out what people in Pompeia are talking about and doing to change their lives for the better

How might social innovation transform Pompeia?

What are the biggest challenges involved?

With the exploding urban growth in Sao Paulo at the beginning of the 20th century, along with the construction of a railroad by the banks of the Tiete River, a large number of factories settled out in Vila Pompeia, with workers from all over the continent quickly following.

Nowadays in Vila Pompeia there is a stark coexistence between the old and the new; historical traces in the architecture of housing as well as factories that persisted and found new uses, such as SESC Pompeia, and Casa das Caldeiras; and modern residential and commercial buildings, attracted by rising real estate values.
It was in such an environment - rich in cultural activities and collaborative initiatives, filled with diversity and constantly changing - that Amplify Pompeia entered and discovered an array of urban activists working to improve lives and build sustainable futures.

We visited over 30 community initiatives in the region and selected twelve that best fit our three criteria: they had to come from within the community, they had to be collaborative, and they had to have a positive impact on society. Based on rigorous observations and in-depth interviews with members of the initiatives, we organized them into four themes and produced videos to tell the stories of each.
Watch the films
Democratic Occupation
From the restlessness with our city's unsustainability and the inaction of our politicians, there emerges a platform that explodes in horizontal directions transforming public spaces.
Places to Create
Dissatisfied with the barren logic of the real estate market, independent initiatives dedicate private spaces to culture and creativity for the children and adults of the community.
Dreams Workshops
Fixing, restoring and reusing are collaborative practices that sustain the dream of urban mobility and cultural rescue.
Poetic Redemption
The rediscovery of slower rhythms and values almost lost in the modern world calms urban life and creates connections amongst people from different generations.
Collaborative Map
Throughout Sao Paulo, there are inspiring people who have found a way to make a difference. They are individuals who dreamed together for a more sustainable city, who refused to accept the existing poor conditions and then decided to take action, creating the new spaces of opportunities from within their own creative communities.

While we were able to identify several initiatives in Pompeia, it was also our belief that there were inspiring projects currently taking place that we missed. In order to highlight these other creative and collaborative endeavors, we publicly displayed an interactive map at SESC Pompeia during the 10th São Paulo International Architecture Biennale.

The initiatives collected during our own research were placed on the map, and then we asked visitors to contribute by including examples from their own communities. People wrote down on cards how such initiatives transform urban life, and then placed them geographically on the map. Special cards were used to indicate virtual initiatives, and a dense cluster of cultural projects and inspiring initiatives quickly filled up the entire map.
Question Of The Week
Over the entire period of the exhibition, it was urgent to also provide a space for people to voice their major concerns regarding the city, and then encourage them to take action.
Every week a new question was displayed on a board next to the collaborative map, and people were invited to write their answers on post-its and share them on the board.
Participant’s major concerns were violence, mobility, sustainability and a poor sense of community.
Co-creation workshops
Two workshops were also held inviting visitors to engage hands-on and, using design thinking tools, experiment with proposals for urban issues. At the services workshop, visitors were invited to choose work subjects.

The selected ones were urban mobility, communication, and sustainability, with small groups creating proposals for each subject. A guiding purpose was to create simple proposals that could be immediately applied. The step-by-step process of that work has been turned into a toolkit developed by Amplify Pompeia.

The spaces workshop proposed a critical observation of the urban area along with the development of proposals for non-used public places, “remaining spaces resulting from road constructions and canalization of streams”. The workshop started with a presentation of the linear park project for Vila Madalena, presented by the architect who conceived it, in order to inspire the workshop participants. The groups visited the project site, and then returned to the workshop to collaboratively develop proposals.
Parsons Desis Lab
Eduado Staszowski
Lara Penin
Graphic Designer
Eduardo Foresti
Elaboração: EISE – Escola de Inovação em Serviços
Luis Alt
Tennyson Pinheiro
Capturing Images
Elaboração: EISE – Escola de Inovação em Serviços
Adriana Teixeira
Fernanda De Divitiis
Juliana Caputo
Lucas Torres
Maria Silvia Pena
Wagner Lucio
Creative Communities in Vila Pompeia
Carla Link, Anahí Santos e Lincoln Antonio
      Coletivo Ocupe e Abrace
Maída Novaes e Graça Busko
      Trovadores Urbanos
Joel Borges
      Programa Cultural Casa das Caldeiras
Helena Lunardelli
      Flor Gentil
Fabio Souza
      Horta Vila Anglo
Adriano Sampaio
      Horta da Vila Pompeia
Mathias Fingermann
      Oficina Mão na Roda
Tânia Murakami
      Tai Chi Chuan na Praça
Adalberto Bueno
      Parque Adalbertolândia
Jéssica Côrrea
      Cidade Democrática

Marcio Lozano
      Projeto Calo na Mão
Movimento Boa praça

10th Sao Paulo International Architecture Biennale
Ligia Nobre, Ursula Troncoso and team
Sesc Pompeia

Residents and urban activists of Vila Pompeia