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4/1/21, 12pm - 1pm

Washington Fajardo is an architect and urbanist devoted to recycling Brazilian cities. He was President of the Rio World Heritage Institute abd Rio de Janeiro’s Special Advisor for Urban Issues from 2009 until 2016. He developed innovative solutions for Rio, pushing the definitions of historic preservation toward a more exciting place as a design platform. The Loeb Fellowship selected him for the Class of 2019 at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. After that, he was Visiting Researcher at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. He is also the author of two books: Rio’s Urban Transformations and RIo’s Avenues. This year, Washington was appointed as Planning Commissioner and President of the Pereira Passos Institute for Urbanism. He is in charge of preparing a new masterplan for the city, and is already concluding an urban recovery plan for RIo’s downtown, hit hard by the Covid pandemic. 

Rio is a complex and intriguing city shaped by the historical accumulation of natural monuments and national landmarks, as well as by its challenging inequalities. It is a “purgatory of beauty and chais@ as written in the famous song by Fernando Abreu. After hosting the 2016 Olympics Summer Games, the city now struggles to manage the Covid pandemic and, at the same time, organize the rev-year revision of its masterplan. Beside that, the new Revivify Plan, for which Washington Fajardo is responsible, aims at a bold housing stimulus for the city’s downtown. Washington also has plans to use technology to shift the paradigm in favelas. The CSU Green Cities talk expands the conversation on the tone of planning and design in vibrant places like Rio.

The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization is a New York based, not-for-profit organization formed to promote a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design in the planning of our cities. Our purpose is to advocate for responsible and enlightened planning and design. We connect the global thought leaders concerned with urbanization in order to exchange ideas. Our focus is on replicable ideas and concepts, best practices, and speculative proposals.”

In her introduction over a decade ago to the CSU book Planning Sustainable Cities: Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, then Under Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, wrote “that future urban planning must take place within an understanding of the factors shaping 21st century cities” including climate change, demographic challenges, economic challenges, social and spatial inequalities and “increasing awareness of social and economic rights among ordinary people.”

Fast forward to the present day, and we are still confronted with the impact and circumstance of carbon emissions, multicultural composition of cities, uncertain future growth and unexpected financial crises, urban sprawl and peri-urbanization and efforts to achieve increasing democratization of decision-making and racial justice. Many cities on all continents are confronting endemic problems and achieving success in improving the quality of life and of the physical and social environment. 

In addition, we are confronted with a global pandemic, which has further exacerbated the fiscal and logistical constraints we are facing together. As UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif noted in her remarks on World Habitat Day this year: “We need to join forces to respond to the current crisis, share solutions, and create cities of the future for everyone.” In regard to the COVID-19 emergency she stated: “Urban areas account for 95 per cent of all confirmed cases and have been at the epicenter of this pandemic. We have seen hospitals overflowing, jobs disappearing, schools closed, and movement restricted. But we can and we will recover and use our experiences to build back better and greener.”

To do so, a monthly series of CSU urban profiles by leading figures in ten cities worldwide will catalyze discussions leading to replicable actions. The CSU virtual talks, called “Green Cities” is scheduled for the first Thursday of the month through 2021. The lectures will take place by Zoom at noon Eastern.

Organized by
Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, UN Habitat, and AIA New York
4/1/21, 12pm - 1pm
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