The new program, which is held in partnership with Arq.Futuro and Itaú Cultural and focused on urbanism in vulnerable territories had a special event to mark the beginning of its first class
The field of urbanism is full of challenges for researchers, scholars, and also those working in the field daily. It was in the quest to face these challenges that Insper proposed, in partnership with the Arq.Futuro platform and Itaú Cultural institute, its new Graduate Program in Social Urbanism – Urban Administration, Public Policy, and Society. The course sheds light on the debate about urban intervention in territories of social vulnerability, which is an urgent demand in major Brazilian cities.
The program’s official launching event took place on October 26, in semi-presential format, at the Steffi and Max Perlman Auditorium. Students from different regions of Brazil, professors, and representatives of the institutions responsible for the graduate program’s project were in attendance.
The Graduate Program was developed within the scope of Insper’s Arq.Futuro Cities Lab, an interdisciplinary platform for learning, research, and innovation on cities. Its innovative learning proposal is centered on knowledge-sharing experiences and, mainly, concrete experiences for the construction of Social Urbanism.
For Marcos Lisboa, President of Insper, the Brazilian urban field is the most visible face of management problems in Brazilian cities, with several projects that are inconsistent with each other. “To face the challenge of transforming this field, it is necessary to have an innovative and aggregating view towards urbanism.”
Tomás Alvim, Arq.Futuro’s Co-founder and a Coordinator of Insper’s Arq.Futuro Cities Lab took part in the whole graduate program’s preparation process. He stressed that its training purpose is to gather the local knowledge and contextualize it with scientific knowledge and research so that everyone can dialogue. “This is the most important dimension that we are going to work on, the construction of pacts that transform life in cities.”
According to Rodrigo Amantea, also a Coordinator of the Arq.Futuro’s Cities Laboratory at Insper, the Graduate Program in Social Urbanism is an education initiative unique in the Brazilian scenario. “In the program, innovative practices in city management will be addressed, meeting an important demand from society for public policies that face urban challenges, especially in socially-vulnerable territories.”
An innovative approach
The program was designed to not only discuss urban problems and challenges but also, and mainly, to propose integrated urban interventions in socially-vulnerable territories. To this end, one of the program’s fundamentals is the proposal of activities that carry social participation and knowledge of local realities in themselves, with human development and the promotion of citizenship as a north star.
Professor Carlos Leite, Coordinator of the Social Urbanism Hub at the Insper’s Arq.Futuro Cities Lab and the Graduate Program in Social Urbanism pointed out, at the program’s opening event, that this training seeks to bring together students and professors so that they can interact and share experiences. All of it based on their experiences in their territories. “This program represents much of Insper’s inspiration and belonging to transform. It is innovative for searching, in Brazil’s socially-vulnerable territories, for the local actors who will be our students and whose specific experiences will constitute the basis of our Hub”.
In his opening speech, Marcos Lisboa, President of Insper, also commented on the program’s innovation, for it proposes the meeting of people who work daily on solving urban problems in vulnerable places. “Studies in this area are typically segmented, which generates an incoherent whole. Therefore, bringing together people who work in different fields to propose solutions together is a very innovative format.”
For Itaú Cultural’s Director, Eduardo Saron, choosing Insper as an institutional partner was very natural due to the school’s vocation to train our country’s next public administrators and private managers. “We wanted to propose the experience of a Graduate Program so that those people can be provocateurs, in the front line of their fields. For us, this training has an essential role in promoting leaders in the field of art and culture”.
Selection of students
Altogether, more than 780 people were interested in attending the program, which was initially provided for 30 places. “At the end, we reached 36 selected students, who have a lot to showcase and speak. With that, we hope to promote the concept of learning by doing during the program,” Carlos Leite commented.
Tomás Alvim recalled that the program’s selection process had as goals to bring diversity and regionality, including removing Bachelors’ diplomas as a selection criterion. “That was something tremendously innovative. We want hybrid knowledge in the faculty and student body. For this reason, we focused on selecting people who contribute in practice to social action.”
Student Talita Rocha Pereira is an architect and the State Coordinator of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST, for its acronym in Portuguese) in Minas Gerais. She had learned about the program from the referral of a professor of architecture who is a member of MTST’s Brigade of Popular Architects and Urban Planners. Talita was soon interested in attending it. “I was already willing to do more specific work in this field of urbanism. Moreover, I was very excited about the program outline and the team of professors and the colleagues themselves, who are people with a lot of experience.”
The launch of the Graduate Program was the first trip that Talita, a resident of Uberlândia, took since the onset of the pandemic. However, the safety protocol and the opportunity to meet her peers overcame her apprehension with the event. “I am looking forward to knowing how it will be during the program and how we are going to apply all that we will learn here. Because this is the purpose, to take everything we learn here into our daily work”.
Claudio Marcelo de Farias Rodrigues, a public administrator in the city of Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, already had been following Arq.Futuro’s discussions, due to his interest in the field of urbanism. “The moment I had contact with the opportunity of this Graduate Program for deepening my knowledge, I saw the opportunity to add my daily activities to the experience-sharing with people from places I have never visited. Without a doubt, the goal of being here is to be able to improve people’s lives. This learning possibility will multiply a series of actions and decisions we take every day in my city,” said Claudio.