Rip It Up and Start Again
PechaKucha Night curated by Robert Mull and Kieran Long, The Gopher Hole (London 02/03/11)

Rip It Up And Start Again

#10: ‘Tear it Down and Start Again’

Intro
Hi everyone, I’m not going to talk about parametrics, but it’s interesting that I come after you and not before, because it’s somehow related.

Slide 01 0.28
So it’s about Luanda, does anyone know where Luanda is? It’s the capital of Angola, south hemisphere, 8 degrees, a city that grows around a bay. This is a map from about 1960, industrial town there and I’m going to talk about the cross that was there.

Slide 02 0.48
This is it slightly later, 1963. This photo you see, you know, the bit of land over there with some fisherman shacks, housing block here and the hill. What I’m going to do now is to overlay this photo…

Slide 03 1.08
…with some more recent perspectives, which I start to overlay now.
Besides the, let’s call it urban growth, over here you see differences as well there in the kind of monument, like a spaceship showing up. And this was due to, since ’74 to 2002…

Slide 04 1:28
…Angola had a civil war and this is the result that people run away from the countryside and, you know, came to the capital and occupy any available space. And you don’t see the hill any more because it was torn down to build this mausoleum for the first President of Angola after ’79. The housing block’s still there.

Slide 05 1:48
So I’m now looking at two of these houses and I’m trying to look at how the process of constant upgrading of these two houses where, you know, related to the concept of, upgrade of the whole neighbourhood. There’s two photos of that…

Slide 06 2.08
…and, at the same time in the scale of the city, I’m talking about this problem of the displacement of the whole neighbourhood to more peripheral areas.
So what’s happening in Chicala is that people is being displaced to Panguila, not only people and houses but also other things that make the city work, like the market.

Slide 07 2:28
That image shows Chicala and the relationship with, let’s call it the city centre, the more planned bit of the city, and the completely different pattern in Panguila, where the new city’s being built.

Slide 08 2:48
So the good thing about Google Earth is that it’s not updated, so I can still show you about the market and this is a photograph I took from the airplane when I was arriving to Angola last summer. You see the market over here Roque, it’s not there any more, it’s been cleared out…

Slide 09 3.08
…and this is how it used to look like in about 2008.
I wish I had just ten seconds to show this and 30 for the next one, so I might start to talk about the next one already.
So I’m going to show this map of Luanda, Panguila, but also what’s happening in the south of the city…

Slide 10 3.28
…that. And a night photo from, you know, satellite, a night shot showing the spotlight over here, where this kind of city’s being built, which is the city for expatriates that work for the oil companies and diamonds and they have made Luanda the most expensive city in the world in the last year.

Slide 11 3.48
So I wanted to go there and make some work and I, so far I could do some work in Lubango, another city, but I think it’s the same problem, so I want to show this to you, that’s again not updated by Google Earth. You see the railway line and it has been cleared out now…

Slide 12 4.08
…this is kind of how the place looks like, so I took the photo in the water from there.
I call this talk Tear it Down and Start Again, so I think this is about tearing it down part and now I’m going to talk about start again.

Slide 13 4:28
So people are being displaced in these trucks, not only people, things they could save, you know, mattress or furniture and I took this. The process started in March 2010 and is still going…

Slide 14 4:48
…so this is September and that’s how you start again, you get to [an area] outside the town, with whatever you could save, and then you had to build something.

Slide 15 5:08
I think this photo, you know, what they say that a picture speaks for a thousand words, so sometimes I don’t have enough words to talk about a picture sometimes, I just don’t need to speak at all. I mean this is the conditions for water supply, it’s not very clean but it’s what people can get.

Slide 16 5:28
And these are the first houses that, you know, started to be improvised. And the parents work during the day, so the children stay there and I think this one, I also need 30 seconds for the next one.

Slide 17 5:44

And so what was happening, so I start now, is that there is a scheme being imposed by authorities and people have to follow this housing scheme, that’s a bathroom. So of course it’s not very suitable and the people are not very content about it, so they took the initiative to write about it, you know, to complain and to ask for better conditions…

Slide 18 6:08

…and in this process I got to go to Angola and work.
What I liked about this picture is that there’s 20 images in one slide, so it’s kind of working with this idea of 20. So everyone living in this community, they signed this letter and then they showed together the work we’ve done, the housing, let’s say the upgrade of this house, housing scheme that we did this workshop about.

Slide 19 6:40
Now I have more time because that’s the 19th slide and I choose the same image for the 20th slide, so I have a little more time.

Slide 20 6:50
That’s it.
I mean, I have to think that working like this, you know, with the participatory design is still making a smart city even if there’s no computers... since our theme tonight is launching websites, I would like to launch my new website today, it’s myname.net, thank you.