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Phenomena such as extended urbanisation, expansion of extractive frontiers and violent conflicts have led to significant urban transformations, with displacement being a characteristic feature of these processes. This is evident in the Brazilian states of Para and Minas Gerais, where displacement and rural-to-urban migration associated with mining, agribusiness, extractivism, and infrastructure development dramatically reshaped territories and identities. Such processes particularly affect traditional peoples, a term used here to refer to indigenous peoples, caboclos (people of mixed descent), quilombolas (descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves), and ribeIrinhos (river communities). Traditional peoples, however, are by no means passive victims but challenge displacement and
promote their own sustainable urban development alternatives.

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Pictures from Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá

Pictures from Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá

Pictures from Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá

Photo by Edigar Freire

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Photo by Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá


This project compares how traditional peoples in Para and Minas Gerais shape, imagine and collaboratively manage urban space. In doing so, it generates novel understandings on innovative
models for sustainable urban interventions based on traditional people’s knowledge. The project elaborates on three objectives of academic and policy relevance:

  1. Critically examine the potential of traditional peoples practices for sustainable urban change.

  2. Synthesise such practices through the method of counter-cartography, visibilising and revaluing indigenous knowledge around spatial, social, economic, political and cultural practices.

  3. Combine insights from planning & architecture (Sheffield/ UFPA), geography  economics (UFMG) and indigenous epistemologies (FASE Amazonia) to enable interdisciplinary dialogue on the co-design of sustainable urban interventions (ie around housing, infrastructure & service provisioning, and urban-nature relations) that incorporate traditional peoples knowledge.

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