Thursday, October 05, 2017

pride in our parks

I received a message on LinkedIn asking me whether I wanted to share a regeneration project I was involved in to be promoted by some online publication. The request didn't appear anything much more than an attempt to aggregate some success stories for a self-proclaimed publisher and their blog/book/magnum opus.

Nonetheless, I tried to come up with something worthy of a mention and moments before I would receive a notification on my Twitter feed of a retweet by RioOnWatch, I reminisced of an emotional moment just about 4 years ago these days from Rio de Janeiro.

At the time, I was in charge of coordinating and running the floor for the Urban Age 2013 Conference -- as Rio was gearing up for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, we were investigating major investments (mainly in transport and regeneration) and whether they related to / tried to alleviate some of the chronic problems facing the city. We wanted to highlight Parque Madureira as one that gifted the city with a public asset in a once redundant / obsolete part of the city.

The architects in charge of the project presented the project at the conference. While prepping for the actual conference, testing A/V and lighting, we've run each presentation to the desired setup and presentation sequence. One of the technicians in charge for the technical desk first erupted to shouts, laughters and excitement which were then slowly left to a mix of emotions and tears. He later told me he grew up in the area of regeneration, and was now using the park and very proud of it being showcased as a prime example of regeneration at the Conference.

This, for us, was a testimony of a story of success and one that probably merits a narrative and a reminder at times when there's little appetite or faith left in mass regeneration. At a time when I've been desperately searching for some inspiration, how I recall the joy and pride in that man's eyes...

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