Sam Valentine

MLA II

Design in the Convívio: Making Space for Landscape in Self-Built Communities

Advised by Dan D’Oca

This thesis examines the roles in which a landscape architect can operate respectfully within dense, self-constructed communities. Piloting a design process within the context of the convívio—a socially rich but spatially constricted network of communal open space—demands a focus on the varied lived experiences of urban residents and a responsiveness to their stated needs. In collaboration with the community members of Chapada do Rio Vermelho in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, the work comprises remote interviews, auto-photography, and design conversations oriented around three feasible, site-specific landscape interventions. The thesis finds space for the landscape architect and design student to offer their skills as a listener, designer, facilitator, and advocate.

A comic book cover of people on a side walk with different color radiating concentric lines.
The thesis, Design in the Convívio, is presented through the frame of a comic book: universally recognizable, sequential, and legible to the every-person.

a comic book spread.  The left page shows a black board with equations  and a pile of Poloroid photos. The  right page shows a street scene with word bubbles.
Residents sent dozens of photographs, capturing and then reflecting on their images of daily life in a self-constructed community.

A comic book panel of three smart-phones displaying an application. Word bubbles coming from the phones.
Three feasible, site-specific landscape interventions respond to the values and concerns held by the community.

A  comic book spread. The left page  showing four exclamation word bubbles. The right page showing a street diagram and a key of the objects in the diagram.
The final pages of the comic book are “tear outs,” written in Brazilian Portuguese and designed to allow residents a pathway to self-implementation.

A comic book spread showing  street diagrams and keys and describing the objects in the diagrams.
The three designs — a secure sidewalk plaza, a stairway reconfigured for communal space, and a shady grove for outdoor exercise – envision modest public-realm improvements to address the community’s stated desires.