Useful Projects was commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to work with the Municipality of Sao Paulo to develop a pilot project for sustainable social housing as part of the Minha Casa Minha Vida scheme. The pilot project will provide 4,000 homes on a brownfield site, on the edge of the Heliopolis favela in the south-east of the city.
After a summer of researching and developing sustainable objectives, processes and design principles for the project, Useful Projects visited Sao Paulo to conduct a four-day programme of workshops, discussions and design development, in collaboration with the local social, urban and architectural teams, including Mitsidi Projects.
The first day centred around defining the context and background of the project, before the team visited the site and several recent social housing developments in the surrounding area on the second day. We then spent a day applying and testing the sustainable objectives, process and design principles on the Heliopolis site. A symposium on the final day showcased best-practice housing developments and sustainable technologies in the UK and shared ideas for how the pilot project can become an exemplar for sustainable development accross Brazil.
Recommendations for the pilot project were also developed by Useful Projects, followed by a series of seminars in 2016 to disseminate the findings from the project.