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Architects & Planners Gather in Fortaleza, Brazil to Debate City Processes

The protesters who took to the streets in June 2013, throughout dozens of Brazilian cities, called for transparency in public spending and urbanism. That is to say, the protesters demanded well planned cities that are administered ethically, with good design and a decent quality of life. The goal of the First National Architecture Conference, scheduled between April 22-25, 2014, in Fortaleza, and organized by the Council of Architecture and Urbanism in Brazil (CAU / BR), was to propose concrete actions in support of public policies that meet these demands. The conference theme was "Architecture and Urbanism for All." The event took place in parallel to the XX Brazilian Congress of Architects, organized by the Institute of Architects of Ceará (IAB / EC).

Terceiro Grande Ato - Não é por 20 centavos, Brazil

The conference took place, coincidentally, at the time Congress looked at MP 630/13, which from the perspective of the CAU / BR, "charges the State with the duty to plan the public spaces of our cities, transferring it to contractors" according to the public manifest published by the Board.

The measure applies to all Engineering and Architecture public works, at all administrative levels of the Differentiated Contracting Regime (DRC), initially restricted to emergency repairs, and under the responsibility of the Union DRC allows "integrated contract" public works, leaving it up to the contractors that are tasked to "design, build, run the tests and other necessary operations for the sufficient delivery of the work." In other words, hiring the work is done before the project exists.

MP 630/13 has been approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits consideration by the Senate." Without a comprehensive plan, prepared in advance of the bidding works, management has no budget parameters to ensure the quality of workmanship, fair price, nor control of rising costs," said Haroldo Pinheiro, President of CAU – BR. "For every Brazilian, it is imperative that the Senate reverses this dreadful scenario," he adds.

Haroldo Pinheiro, Comissão de Desenvolvimento Regional e Turismo, Brazil

The Conference

The National Conference on Architecture and Urbanism was structured around three axes: "The CAU, Society and Public Policy," "Training, Exercise and Social Commitment," and "Professional Ethics and Citizenship."

The sociologist Maria Alice Rezende de Carvalho (PUC -Rio) , the educator Nilson José Machado (USP), the philosopher Marcia Tiburi (Mackenzie University), and journalists Washington Novaes (TV Cultura), Hélio Campos Mello (Brazilian magazine) and Paulo Markun (anchor of " Roda Viva" for ten years) were the debaters on the three panels.

The theme, "Architecture and Urbanism for All," encourages an alliance of professional organizations of architects and planners with social organizations defending the quality of life in the city, preservation of heritage, protection of communities subjected to forced and violent removal, and the maintenance and preservation of public spaces for collective use. It is common sense that Architecture and Urbanism is an essential discipline in shaping the built environment to better care for social needs, however hundreds of Brazilian Municipalities do not have architects on staff, nor sufficient professionals of the Federal Bank and regulatory agencies, such as the Court of Audit. This was the basis of discussion for the first panel.

Not only was the role of the state discussed. The second panel discussed the close relationship between academic teaching and professional practice. By extension, the Code of Ethics and Discipline Architects, the first in Brazil, inspired a third panel. As the introductory document of the conference says, "It is essential not to reduce architecture to mere construction technique. Architecture is ethics."

Is there a greater need for transparency in public spending and urban planning in your city?

Original article, originally published in Portuguese, can be found here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.