Edible Islands: The New Taste of Urbanism
El Hadi Jazairy
Jia Weng, Jeffrey Dube
Years after the end of the 2016 Rio Games, the western zone is finally ready for its integration to Deodoro, a densely populated middle class neighborhood of Rio. Formerly home to Brazil’s largest concentration of soldiers, the site became the grounds of the country’s most important global event to be returned to the city. From a military camp, the site became an Olympic campus and later transformed into an archipelago. What happened to Deodoro? With the military and global event gone, the civilian development moved in and found an ocean of opportunities. Urban Designers, Architects, Landscape Architects, and Urban Planners met to build five world-class monuments to celebrate the liberation of the ground from the institutions to the benefit of the people of Deodoro. The site was flooded and turned into a retention pond allowing five landmark-islands to be developed by internationally renowned designers. Edible Islands: The New Taste of Urbanism tells the story of a post-Olympic site transformed into a reflecting pool and five isolated fragments. The autonomy of design disciplines and their limited collaboration has made projects in the city risky and complex. As a result, political projects in Deodoro have taken the shape of flooded collective surfaces and five emerging objects. The discrete monuments witness an “authentic” ambition to express a vision, but definitely limited in scale, meaning, and relevance. The project uses the concept of the enclave to discuss contemporary urban practices, addressing the production of urban space by private actors with short-term visions in a context of absence of political vision. Design can still be a celebration, but a private one, with just a few eating the cake.