Smart Living Challenge 2015: Team Brazil — Project

This article contains regards the developments of Smart Living Challenge Team Brazil and contains two parts. This first one talks about the challenge and the project while the second explains the pilot designed by the team.

It all began with an open call for projects by Fundo Verde, an entity responsible for investing funds, relative to the exemption of a tax on the electricity bill of the Federal University (UFRJ), on projects focuses on mobility improvement, use of energy, reducing water consumption, waste and monitoring indicators on campus.

One should submit an idea of how to improve mobility inside the campus, as well as his/her motivation for being a part of the Smart Living Challenge. Six contestants were selected and announced on the kickoff day. It was very clear that we had an interdisciplinary team has students and professionals of different specialties.

The SLC Brazil Team with representatives from the Embassy, Bicicletaria Cultural (SLC 2014), Transporte Ativo (NGO) as well as Aline Cavalcante (cycle-activist) and Johanna Olsson (Hyper Island) on the kickoff day.

The program began on the 9th of June 2015. The SLC team started working coached by Johanna Olsson, from Hyper Island. For an afternoon, all six team members had the chance to know each other and to participate in workshops. By the end, after going through several processes, the most relevant ideas were filtered so to be taken forward into the weeks to follow. Those were named “Pure Gold” by Johanna.

  • City transportation integrated to the university;
  • Livability /
    Mixed use of soil;
  • Travel Demand Management /
    Transportation studies /
    Flexible hours;
  • Fit Pavement /
    Improved foot access;

The team also defined some values that which should permeatne the whole project.

  • Collaboration;
  • Sustainability;
  • Integration;
  • Flow;
  • Affordability;
  • Accessibility.

The Team

Ana Tarrisse |
Bachelor in Design by UERJ and graduating Electronics and Computer Engineering at UFRJ, also studied Creative Computing at Goldsmiths College — University of London. As an intern, she worked as a developer for Huge Inc, an international digital agency with a focus on User Experience.
Linkedin | Facebook

Cesar Gonzalez |
Civil Engineer by the National University of Colombia, working on a Masters degree in Transportation Engineering in UFRJ, researching the promotion of sustainable mobility for people who live and work near transit stations. In Colombia, he has worked on several projects, such as new corridors for Medellin’s BRT.
Linkedin | Facebook

Gustavo Andrade |
Gustavo is PhD student in Transportation Systems at MIT Portugal Program. Has a Master’s in Transportation Engineering from UFRJ, and is undergraduate in Geography by UERJ, with mobility at UJAEN, and in Environmental Management by CEFET. Has experience with in logistics; geoprocessing and environmental studies.
Linkedin | Facebook

Julianna Antunes |
Journalist (PUC-Rio) and economist (UFRJ), Julianna is an expert in sustainable strategic planning and on research focused on the impact of low carbon economy in business’ models. She has also been awarded the seal of sustainable entreperneur by Shell’s global program for the promotion of young entreperneurship.
Linkedin | Facebook

Marcos Ferreira |
Marcos is a recent undergraduate in Environmental Sciences by UNIRIO and has studied Environmental Sciences and Governance as an undergraduate in Germany at Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg. He works nowadays as an intern in the Environmental Inspection department for the State Institute for the Environment.
Linkedin | Facebook

Pedro Negreiros |
Architect and Urban Planner by UFES currently working on his Masters degree in Urban Engineering from Polythecnic (UFRJ). Pedro’s research focus on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) by seeking an integration between urban planning and transport through the encouragement of sustainable mobility and livability.
Linkedin | Facebook

The Process

(…) we seek to provide intellectual and practical incentives in many ways over this last six weeks in order to give a greater, diverse knowledge and suggestions package to SLC Brazil Team. It will enable them to make the best decision and to develop the most cohesive project regarding the all mobility difficulties faced in the University City. — 
Leandro de Melo Rocha (translated)

Several meetings were schedule with people involved with mobility to expose the team to all sorts of ideas and initiatives. These gatherings happened over six weeks. The encounters varied from activists to businessmen, including government representatives. From these meetings the team took valuable information that would help developing the project further on.

Throughout the 12 weeks, the group kept working, either before or after the meetings as well as remotely from home. The information gathered were taken into consideration, as well as the experiences and specialties of each team member.

While working with sustainability it’s important to keep in mind all three pillars that support it:

  • environmental righteousness
  • economic viability
  • social fairness

Besides that, there are also the five principles of sustainability outlined by the European Environmental Agency (EEA), as it follows, were also addressed:

  • Environmental capacity: Respect to the natural limits of the environment;
  • Reversibility: reversible interferences without risking the city’s capacity to adapt to new demands for economic and population changes respecting the environmental capacity;
  • Resiliency: ability to recover from external pressures;
  • Efficiency: obtaining maximum economic benefits per resource unit consumed (environmental efficiency) and maximum social gain in each economic activity (societal efficiency);
  • Equity: matching every citizen access to activities and services.

When discussing mobility those general principles can be exported to a more specific context, into the principles of Transit Oriented Development — TOD, as follow:

Images adapted from ITDP

Mobility must be faced as part of a bigger ecosystem that encapsulate other factors as, for instance, pollution, public safety, economy and social interaction. This matter isn’t restrained to carrying someone between point A and B, also encouraging his stay though. Occupancy brings more safety and greater belongingness, so that this system starts feeding itself with more people participating increasing safety, belongingness and social interaction. Interaction can, for instance, develop new relationships, which may strengthen a carpooling system that directly impacts mobility.

“We are about 170 million Brazilians living in urban areas and dealing with the consequences of decades of car-oriented development. In order to revert this logic and mold a more efficient future, which is better for everyone, integrating land occupation policies to sustainable transport planning is essential.
Luisa Zottis, free translation

The Project

Scattered growth and car-oriented development that have been happening since the last decades, in addition to non-integrated urban policies, led Brazilian metropolis to a huge car-dependence causing afterwards congestions with nefarious consequences not just for mobility, but also for life quality. Among the societal implications are spacial segregation, as distant peripheral areas commonly devoid, partially or completely, of infrastructure and basic services as adequate public transport offer. Such incongruity affects most deeply those in fragile socio-economic conditions.

The average time spent in home-work commuter in Brazil’s 15 biggest metropolitan zones is over 40 minutes and it is almost 50 minutes in Rio and São Paulo. It is estimated that around 2 to 5% of the GDP in Asia and Latin America is throw away in traffic jams. In São Paulo, it gets scarier when it approaches 10% of the GDP (LSE CITIES, 2014).

So, with MOVE theme as the starting point, the solution found is to create a cyclical project, in which each attribute makes the wheel spin.

The use of technology to articulate and integrate functionalities.

It is thus intended, in the main project, to use technology to articulate projects and functionalities. The definition of those would depend on which place the project will be implemented, being consequently modular and scalable.

The central project consists of a platform that provides the users with land use and transport-related infos, while collecting data that would support mobility projects development.

By running this platform in a browser makes it reachable for anyone that is online, no matter in which device. Maps, bus schedule, route calculation, event advertisement are some of many functions that could be made available. Some external services could also be indexed by linking them to the platform, that is the case with bike sharing stations, car sharing systems or car pooling ones.

The target audience are communities or regions within metropolis as, for instance, neighbourhoods, districts and University Cities. It encourages the development of a local identity, which creates a sense of belonging and responsibility. It encourages the citizens to care for their on communities and for their lives.

Each region would have its own platform that would be accessed through a link or an app. Although the modular functions, which complete the platform, are determined by region specificities, some of them are common, for example:

  • route tracing;
  • public transports tracking and information;
  • interest points;
  • commercial establishments mapping, highlighting local ones;
  • collaborative entries to mark critical events, give suggestions;
  • event advertisement.

Apart from being an information searching tool, the project is at the same time a planning mechanism, a dynamic database and participative interface. It allows people to go forward and establish mobility-impacting strategies. The heart of this apparatus is an online platform, which articulates a management system that is integrated to a formal administrative structure. It furnishes a solid knowledge base as means to evaluate the ongoing status, the progress, the strategies’ efficacy and its future potential development.

With that in mind the team moved on into adapting the idea to what would be a pilot project for the main campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

This article contains regards the developments of Smart Living Challenge Team Brazil and contains two parts. This first one talks about the challenge and the project while the second explains the pilot designed by the team.

See next: Smart Living Challenge 2015: Team Brazil — Pilot