Urban Mining, 2011–2013
In Heliópolis, the largest favela in São Paulo, urban design researchers propose to engage local residents to recycle discarded materials for favela upgrading. The planned first phase for the Urban Mining program will restructure local waste collection and build a recycling and prototyping center for composite materials and building systems. For example, concrete, when combined with industrial and urban waste products, such as polystyrene, expanded clay, recycled plastic, or natural fiber, is lighter and improves insulation and tensile properties. The composite materials allow for a modular building system, which can be used to construct affordable self-built housing units, collaboratively designed with residents.