Beyond the vertical urbanism of São Paulo and the cosmopolitanism of Buenos Aires, the interior of South America has been a major epicenter of urbanization. Existing at the confluence of abundant natural resources and major global trading routes, South America's urban history and development is imbricated in resource extraction. From the consolidation of Belo Horizonte, a new nineteenth century capital for the state of Minas Gerais to post-oil towns of the 1960s in Venezuela, the city has served as the staging ground for sites and paths of resource extraction.
Beyond the City: Resource Extraction Urbanism in South America examines the agency of architecture and urban planning in the conceptualization and implementation of urban projects from which landscapes of intense extraction are inscribed and administered. In doing so, the lecture argues for the essential role of design—rich in methodological diversity and scales of intervention—to better synthesize the present-day divide between temporary resource extraction operations and the aging settlements these leave behind.
Felipe Correa is a New York based Architect and Urbanist. He is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Design degree program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. At Harvard he also directs the South America Project, a trans-continental applied research network that proactively endorses the role of design within rapidly transforming geographies of the South American Continent. Most recently, Correa edited the book Mexico City: Between Geometry and Geography (ARD2014), which constructs a graphic biography of Mexico City based on its contours of urban development. In addition, Correa is also the co-founder of Somatic Collaborative, a research based design practice which focuses on a trans-scalar approach to architecture and urbanism and engages a wide host of urban scenarios and design strategies. Cutting across multiple scales—from interior furnishings to open territories—Somatic has developed design projects and consultancies with the public and private sector in multiple cities and regions across the globe, including Mexico City, New Orleans, Quito, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Seoul among many others.