Monday, March 4, 2013
"about two hundred multistory buildings simply collapse in mumbai in an average year, mostly during heavy rains. but the new suburbs and migrant cities both keep building themselves in their expedient, tactical ways." jeb brugman. "welcome to the urban revolution: how cities are changing the world."__________________________________________________ "...the highly weathered lateritic soils underlying hillside favelas in belo horizonte and other brazilian cities are catastophically prone to slope failures and landslides. geomorphical surveys made in 1990 revealed that more than one quarter of sao paulo's falevas were located on dangerously eroded sites , and all the rest on steep hillsides and erodable river banks. sixteen percent of the squatters were under imminent or medium term ' life risk and/or loss of their property'" mike davis. "planet of slums"____________________________________________________ "the expansion of the soy industry in paraguay has occurred in tandem with the violent oppression of small farmers and indigenous communities. farmers have been bullied into growing soy with pesticides, at the expense of food crops, health, and subsequently their farms. farmers who live next to the soy fields have been driven away by the chemicals which kill their crops and animals and cause disease...mechanized production reorganized labor relations, as those who stayed to work the soy fields were replaced by tractors and combines. entire communities fled tot he cities to be street vendors and live in the exploding semi-urban slums around large cities....the emerging concept of food sovereignty emphasizes the farmer's access to land, seeds, and water while focusing on local markets, local production-consumption cycles, energy, and farmer to farmer networks." from "agriculture and food in crisis."__________________________________________________ even the urban booster brugman ( who's book is more about what he hopes will happen to cities rather than a more accurate accounting of what is actually going on ) admits that the mega-slums of the global south are horrendous places...he points out that they are peopled by immigrants from the countryside but somehow neglects to supply the "why"...a world bank/imf export based agriculture is the culprit...such as the industrial "republics of soy" in paraguay...monocultures grown and exported for conversion to biofuels so the global north can drive around ( yes i drive too...no "holier than thou" here...driving is embedded in the societies of the global north...it is difficult to function any other way...) while the local traditional agriculture based on feeding people locally is destroyed sending the former farmers fleeing into the slums to work in sweatshops and scratch out an existence...the top photo is of the faleva paraisopolis in sao paulo...it is butted up against some luxury apartments with a tennis court ans what appear to be swimming pool on the balconies...a vivid picture of the growing rich/poor dichotomy that capital brings...the second photo is of food sovereignty...a busy brazilian farmer's market where locals can purchase locally grown produce...a traditional agriculture supporting a traditional culture...more of these would mean fewer falevas...diverse, traditional, organic, labor intensive agriculture as an answer to export model induced poverty...i could live with that...my gardens are organic and they take effort...they payoff in produce and satisfaction are worth the effort...multiply that on a global scale...the bottom photo is of a fourth asparagus seedling that has produced a second spear,,,i suppose they are plants now, not seedlings and they will be in the ground in the iu northwest community garden in a bit over a month...we're supposed to be doused with more winter tonight and tomorrow...then i hope the weather breaks...i need to get out and root around in the soil.
Labels: photos from the new york times (except the asparagus), slums and agriculture, ubiquitous asparagus