Mapping the Commons of Belo Horizonte workshop took place from 6th to 8th Febraury 2014 organized by Professor Natacha Rena and Research Group INDISCIPLINAR from School of Architecture Federal University of Minas Gerais. The activity happened after the June 2013 protests in Brazil, when Belo Horizonte became an example of what David Harvey defined as rebel cities. Demonstrations, popular assemblies and direct actions pop-up around town to reclaim the right to city and the urban commons for all.
The laboratory joined 40 participants, from urban social movements connected to mobility struggles, permaculture, popular music; and scholar and students from several disciplines, architecture, geography, agriculture and social sciences.
The mappings carried out addressed areas affected by the so called Operação Urbana Consorciada Nova BH, an urban development enterprise which proposed to radically modify the structure of 7% of the city's territory. The aim was not only to study the gentrification processes in the whole central region of the city, but mainly, to reveal the productions of urban commons as resistance to that gentrification in the urban fabric. We comprehensively discussed the transformations of the city from a critical perspective towards the neoliberal urban policies currently in action.
The results of the workshop were very satisfactory and empowering, from both a scholar an activist perspective. The workshop was a catalyst of resistance networks relating to cycling and permaculture. As a potential product that did not come into life, many hours of video were recorded but were not edited.