Learning from... Luanda

Talk, in English, Paul-Desmarais Theatre, 1 November 2012 , 7pm
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With a metropolitan population of over 5 million, Luanda is the third most populated Portuguese-speaking city in the world after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Architect and researcher Paulo Moreira proposes alternative approaches to urbanism based on ongoing research in Chicala, an informal settlement with direct connection with the commercial areas of the city, as well as its historical area.

Following Angola’s civil war in 2002, an oil-fuelled boom dramatically changed Luanda’s social and urban order. However, investments by local authorities and foreign planners often fail to take notice of the vitality pervading its informal settlements, known as “musseques”. As a result of the ongoing modernization of Luanda’s city centre, many of these neighbourhoods are being destroyed and their inhabitants pushed to ever more peripheral areas. Yet in these settlements Moreira has found an immense creativity, particularly in the way materials are reused. He believes that much can be learned from this approach.

The format of the event will be a 20-minute screening which is the North American premiere of this short documentary, followed be a 40 minute lecture, and then questions.

This lecture is part of the Learning from… series. Learning from… Boomtowns examines human migration and housing in three regions. Artist Thomas Kneubühler and filmmaker Ernest Webb observe the effects of the James Bay hydroelectric dams on native communities in Northern Quebec. Architect Paulo Moreira analyzes the destruction of an informal settlement to make way for denser housing in Luanda, the capital of oil-rich Angola. A film by Ai Weiwei documents the process of designing a luxury villa precinct in Ordos, a coal city in northwest China.

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