City Government

Rio Inspires Thoughts of Boise

The GUARDIAN’s recent fact finding trip to Brazil gave us plenty of inspiration for ways to improve life in Boise.

After visiting the favelas of Rio we can clearly see the benefits of “in fill” development advocated by some members of Boise’s city council. You can certainly create a demand for mass transit and eliminate automobile travel. Also no zoning, plat approval, or variances to consider.
Rio City Hall

City Hall in Rio is probably a bit much for our Idaho tastes and conservative voters here would never approve a bond to finance it. However, councilors may come up with some creative financing deals with CCDC and do it without voter approval.

We have been unable to stimulate any support for a viewpoint atop Table Rock–other than fond memories of illicit drinking. We do think the similar view in Rio might prompt some to visit our city for something other than a peek at the blue turf.

Finally, wouldn’t it be neat to have a cable car that runs off Warm Springs Ave.–perhaps near the East Park Center Bridge–up to Table Rock? The city could get a grant to study extending it all the way to Bogus Basin. That probably wouldn’t work because folks in the East End wouldn’t want increased traffic, but North Enders would have less traffic.

Just some random thoughts from south of the equator.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. bert farber
    Feb 3, 2007, 5:07 pm

    Hey, Guardian:
    You take real good pitchers for a rabble rouser.

  2. Those are great pictures, Dave. I especially love the satellite dishes. Guess if you have a yucky house at least you can be entertained. Makes me count my blessings.

  3. Hey, that favela looks a might crowded, but other than that, it doesn’t look quite so bad as some of our new subdivisions.
    Hmm — come to think of it, some of them are just about as jammed togther; just cuz they’re wannabe McMansions doesn’t alleviate the visual blight. Besides, these are at least colorful and varied, not cookie-cutter future slums.

  4. Not a fair comparison, Boise and Rio. How about Salt Lake City? Also has mouintains and a desert.

  5. I love the idea of a cable car going all the way up to Table Rock ( on warm springs ave.) and Bogus basin.
    The Chamber of Commerce loves to cater to tourism and so does city hall-here’s a great money maker and draw for visitors who want to see the two best VIEWS in Boise.

    Of course, we need a better bus system, and I’m hoping all this talk about local levy’s that the chamber and City wants but the Sate leg. is trying to sit on is PUSHED. The people don’t mind paying for a better bus system and in view of the terrible pollution the valley suffers from traffic it’s an immediate need!

    Call your Sate legislator and let them know we want these local levys like N. Idaho has to fund their tourism.

  6. curious george
    Feb 5, 2007, 7:56 am

    Welcome back Guardian!

    Thank you for taking the time to tour the favelas of Rio. These have actually inspired a fair amount of discussion in architectural theory circles.

    A few good sources to check into are Lebbeus Woods’ notion of a Free Zone (inspired by the favelas of Sao Paolo – see his work “Anarchitecture: Architecture is a Political Act”), Hundertwasser’s “Mould Manefesto against Rationalism in Architecture”, and Christopher Alexander’s concept of a “Pattern-based Design”.

    My favorite excerpt from the Mould Manefesto is, “The tangible and material uninhabitability of slums is preferable to the moral uninhabitability of utilitarian, functional architecture. In the so-called slums only the human body can be oppressed, but in our modern functional architecture, allegedly constructed for the human being, man’s soul is perishing, oppressed. We should instead adopt as the starting point for improvement the slum principle, that is, wildly luxuriantly growing architecture, not functional architecture.” He wrote this in 1958 (at the height of rational modernism), and the following year he won the Sanbra Prize at the 5th Sao Paolo Biennial – all while Oscar Niemeyer was designing and overseeing the construction of the ultra-modern Brazilian capitol of Brazilia.

    Maybe I should be advocating for Unplanned Communities!

    EDITOR NOTE–I must admit my visit was brief and certainly without the esoteric detail you have offered. For non-library types ESOTERIC is “understood by a small group with limited interest.” But a sincere thanks for your insight. I think the DAILY had a story of interest by Tim Woodward today about local favela living.

  7. And in today’s paper (Monday, 2/5) is an interview with a shack dweller who sounds like she would be a great person to know.

  8. You mention building inspectors are afraid to enter some of these neighborhoods for fear of residents shooting them.

    Let’s hope local neighborhoods don’t take that up as a suggestion!

  9. Wonk:
    Hmmm … that’s an interesting — and tempting — thought!

  10. Why do you call these favelas “slums”? They look like modest high-density housing, as reasonably well-kept and maintained as poor people can accomplish. I see evidence of electricity, indoor plumbing and NINE satellite dishes! Looks like a lower-middle class neighborhood in a poor country to me.

    Just what were you doing in Brazil, anyway?

    EDITOR NOTE–Wonk, the electricity and water is bootlegged and the places are all “squatters”–mostly on publicly owned open space. They probably see it as “smart growth.” We were on a fact finding missionl.

  11. If you ever get a chance to visit the klongs of Bangkok, Thailand, let me know how they smell when you return. Probably like the favelas of Rio.

    EDITOR NOTE–Been there done that. Pretty ripe for sure.

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