RESILIENT Project Launches at Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology

November 28, 2023

The project will bring an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how natural environments impact urban development in the Amazon

A new project investigating abandoned 20th century company-towns in the Amazon rainforest is launching at the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology this November. The project, RESILIENT: Forest Cities - Utopia and Development in the Modern Amazon will analyze Amazonian ‘lost cities’ through interdisciplinary research and interpret how social perceptions of these places are entangled with developmentalist, extractionist, and technocratic ideals. Ultimately, the project hopes to better understand how non-human relations and environmental factors impact the success or failure of urban developments.

The project will begin with a workshop titled “FOREST CITIES: MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO URBANISM IN THE AMAZON” from 27-28 November, 2023. Over the course of the workshop, international experts from a variety of disciplines will offer theoretical perspectives, examine case studies, and discuss emerging topics relating to urbanism in the Amazon and the emergence of the Anthropocene.

More information about the workshop, including a list of speakers and possibilities for participation, is available here.

Over the course of three years, the project aims to analyze the existence and perception of Amazonian ‘lost cities’, delving into their resilience and simultaneously contesting the concepts of "lost" and "city". The originality and significance of this project lie in the fact that it examines the cities from a variety of perspectives, including those of Amazonian states, multinational corporations, local human inhabitants, and non-human beings.

The team expects to produce both academic and non-academic results, including an edited book, a film, an exposition, workshops and several papers.
“Unveiling the history of these ‘lost cities’ can be a cautionary tale  to critically observe the economic dynamics of the forest in the present and to improve public policies in favor of rainforest protection,” says Dr. Danielle Heberle Viegas, project leader.

RESILIENT is fully-funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation as part of the special Programme: Lost Cities: Perception of and living with abandoned cities in the cultures of the world. The project is coordinated by Dr. Danielle Heberle Viegas within the isoTROPIC Research Group led by Dr. Patrick Roberts at Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Antoine Acker (Geneva University) and Prof. Dr. Patrícia Vieira (Coimbra University).

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