Every week, a stunning 1.5 million people migrate to cities all over the world. 1.5 million! Can you imagine?
The Urban Detective investigates everything that has to do with this worldwide migration to- and clustering of people in cities. I am travelling the world to find out more about the challenges and opportunities us urbanites face.
Researching the challenges and oppurtunities of the worldwide migration of people into cities
Behind the scenes #3: Our working space.
Often we don't have a desk to write our articles on, so mostly we make our own office 👩💻. Ofcourse the beautiful nature 🌿🌺 of Brasil & Colombia helps with that.
Love 💘 Letters.
While in Amsterdam they recently removed the IAMSTERDAM letters from the citycenter, in South America you can still find this attraction everywhere! Even villages use the corny letters to attract and entertain visitors. Here are some of our favourites (places you may have never even heard of).
The salesmen of South America.
In Latin American cities, going into a shop, bar or restaurant is not necessary, nor good for your wallet💸, once you’ve discovered the amazing world of illegal street commerce. The sound of screaming street vendors, selling refreshments, food, books or electronics, is everywhere 🤩! Research shows that in Colombia, even more than half of the population works in this informal economy! We truly found everything strolling through the streets of South-American cities.
Bienvenido a Cartagena 🇨🇴!
Cartagena has grown into an important industrial center and has the largest port🚢 of Colombia. Nevertheless, the old city center has changed very little. Between the city walls, once build to protect the city from pirates, there are now countless options to eat🥙, shop💳 and party💃. We now understand why it is called the most beautiful city of Colombia!
Life in the jungle 🌿🦜🍍
Over half of the human population live in cities all over the world. 🌎 Also many Amazonians left their homes to enjoy the luxeries of modern life in big junglecities like Manaus. But even in the jungle, services like electricity, TV and WiFi are not uncommon anymore. However, unlike most city people, those who stayed behind still now how to survive without anything in the jungle. Our 15-year-old guide teaches us some basic skills like: how to clim an acai-tree.
Behind the scenes #2.
The Urban Detectives are exactly three months in Brazil, which sadly means that we have to leave the country. Obrigado Brazil for your beautiful nature, delicious food, vibrant citylife, but most of all the amazing people who were always happy to show us their Brasil with so much love🥰! Check out their stories on our website.
Manus - The Amazon City.
Located in the heart of the Amazon lays the modern city Manaus with over 2 million inhabitants! It's the place were two rivers, the Rio negro and Rio solimões, evolve in the famous Rio Amazonas. In tropical temperatures over 30 degrees, citizens are in search of cooling: on boats, in the river or with the use of an umbrella ☂️.
Bélem, located in the mouth of the Amazon, became an important trading port for the rubber industry in the 1800's. It's market, Ver-o-Peso (translated 'see the weight'), is still one of the biggest places of trade in South America! Here you can buy the best fish, jungle fruits and herbs from the Amazon. Also you can eat the regional speciality everywhere: fish with acai. An unexpected supertasty combination!
Tropical Burn, the first Burning Man festival of Brazil🌴🌵!
After realising that the first 🔥Burning Man🔥 of Brazil was going to take place just two hours from our destination, we had to buy tickets! In the last four days, we created our own society, together with 300 people from all over the world🌍. Guided by ten important principles, we experimented with a new way of living together. It was an amazing experience that we will never forget! We want to thank everyone for giving us so much love and making this actually possible. Read about it our article.
Olinda, one of the historical cities famous for its carnival.
Olinda is one of the historical cities famous for its carnival. But even out of the carnival season, we enjoyed the festive vibes here. You can see huge papier-mâché puppets used for the parades, coloured houses and walk through decorated streets. 🎶🎊🎈
The inspiring story of Olodum
In Pelourinho, the historic city center of Salvador, we sit down with Lucas Di Fiori, one of the four main singers of carnival bloco Olodum. He tells us his inspiring story and explains how Olodum's unique sound, strong message and colourful symbol was able to transform the city and quickly conquered the rest of the world. Check out the full story.
Behind the scenes #1.
Time flies when your having fun. The Urban Detectives are exactly two months in Brazil! We started in Metropole Sao Paulo, a city that still is one of our favourites. The Paulistas showed us how they open up the streets every Sunday and the cycle activists explained their succesful struggle, in claiming back the streets of their city. Check out the full stories!
Salvador's Elevador Lacerda.
Salvador, the capital of colonial Brazil, has a unique citycenter. It is split in half and consists of a Cidade Alto (upper city) and Cidade Baixa (down city). To bridge the 72 meters gap between the two sides of town, connecting Pelourinho (upstairs) with the commercial district (downstairs), elevators were built. Elevador Lacerda is being used since 1873 and is centrally located between municipality buildings & churches in Pelourinho and the Mercado Modelo and shops downstairs. It is 0.15 Real (€0.04) to go up and is definitely worth the money.
Joining the opening of a renovated plaza together with Olodum.
Today we are in Pelourinho, the historic center of Salvador, to celebrate the opening of a renovated plaza. And whom better to inaugurate the square than the local heroes of OLODUM, who started right here and helped to transform the neighbourhood from poor and dangerous area, into a safe and successful district. Read about it our article.
Cachoeira: the 'waterfall city'
Around 100 km from Salvador lays the small city Cachoeira. It isn't known for its waterfalls or trade anymore, but if you look at the architecture and coloured houses you know why people still love to come here.
Residential life in Brasilia.
In this modernist capital, functions are completely separated. Specific areas for working, living and recreating are planned and designed. People live in universal residential blocks, called Superquadras.
Cruising through Brasilia.
Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is an open-air museum for modern architecture and cityplanning. The city is completely build for cars, so walking is almost impossible. But as true Dutchies, we try to visit Brasilia with our favourite vehicle: the bike.
The most magical museum.
Visiting Instituto Inhotim is an overwhelming experience. The park hosts thousands of different exotic flowers, palmtrees and artworks. The beauty of this park teaches us about the importance of biodiversity. Next to this Inhotim is an important place for research on the sustainablity of the species.
The most magical museum
Visiting Instituto Inhotim is an overwhelming experience. While wandering through the Atlantic woods and botanical gardens, we discovered world famous modern art.
The golden city.
For her birthday Mrs. Urban Detective decided to go to Ouro Preto. This former capital of Minas Gerais lost its status when the goldmines dried up. Luckily for us the beautiful colonial buildings, churches and small colourful streets remained.
Protesting in the Capital of Brasil
The Urban Detective is in Brasilia. We are joining students and teachers in a protest against government plans. Last week the minister of Education announced huge budgetcuts (30%) in the education sector.
Shopping at Mercado Central in Belo Horizonte
In 1929, the population of Minais Gerais, Brazil's prosperous gold state, is rapidly growing. To attract businesses to the new capital Belo Horizonte, its Municipal Market is moved to a bigger location. Since then, this incredible maze of bars, restaurants and shops is THE local lunch hotspot and THE place for shopping in Brazil's third largest city!
Guanabara Bay is under huge pressure.
More than 70% of Rio de Janeiro's sewage flows into the bay untreated! We join the bay protectors from instituto mar urbano and projeto verde mar during a major beach clean-up and immediately discover the importance of their work. Check-out our article and vlog!
Kicking balls and empowering girls in the favela
In Vidigal, one of Rio's many favela's, we visit the powerful project PlayLife. We meet with urban hero Tamires Domingos and discover how football can change a girl's life! Read about it our article.
Museu do Amanhã
The 'museum of tomorrow', in the port area of Rio, is a neofuturistic design that adapts to environmental conditions. For example, it has solar panels along the sides, that rotate along the sunlight. The museum shares ideas about sustainability and warns about the impact of climate change, like massive migration and ongoing urbanisation.
In the Favela with Fabio.
Did you know that half of Rio's six million cariocas live in informal settlements outside of government control?! Half of these places are known as favela's. Like many Brazilians, Fabio grew up and still lives in the favela. He takes us to Vila Cruzeiro, where we get a glimpse of what everyday life here actually looks like. Want to see some real Rio de Janeiro, and meet one of Rio's kindest persons? Contact @fabiorondinelle , @inktourrj
Save Guanabara Bay!
About 16 million people live around Rio's beautiful Guanabara bay, making it one of the world’s most densely populated urban areas. But Guanabara is under pressure. Waste from millions of people flows untreated into the bay and industrial wastewater is also a major source of pollution. We join the volunteers of Instituto MAR Urbano, including Rio's Secretary of Environment, during a beach clean up. We are making the visitors aware of the urgency. The Bay should not be taken for granted! Check-out our article and vlog!
Palacete Parque Lage
We visit Jardim Botanico, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. It's 205 acres of natural rainforest is home to many species of plants, birds and the beautiful Palacete Parque Lage. Where you can see the Corcovado on top of the hill. Just strolling around here once in a while, is a must if you live in this crowded, complex city!
Story about the cycling culture in São Paulo
Ten years ago, São Paulo was one of the most dangerous places to cycle in Latin America. But the rise of a young cycle-activist movement transformed the city.🚴♂️🚦🏢 Three pioneers explain here how the cycling movement conquered the streets of São Paulo and changed the lives of all its urbanites.
Parque das ruinas
Rio de Janeiro is covered by forest, mountains and beach. In this ruin on the hills of Santa Teresa - once residence to the heiress of a rich family - you have a perfect view over the city. During the '20s the hostess invited intellectuals and artists to have party's in this great mansion. It's now a cultural center, which keeps her soul alive.
Cycling in Sao Paulo
We visited park Trianon, which is next to Avenida Paulista. Here we met these risktaking bikers, who are avoiding to get stuck in traffic. Unlike us: getting home during rush hour was our biggest task. Read more about the cycling culture in Sao paulo here.
Beco do Batman, Batman's Alley. 🦇🦇
This nowadays popular tourist attraction (because of its graffiti art) is named after one of the first batman drawings in the alley. 🎨 After a period of incidents during the world cup in 2014, the alley is renovated and local community members take care of it. 💪
Open Roads, Ruas Abertas. 🚧🚦🚧
Every night and weekend the minhocão (the worm), a huge overpass in Sao Paulo, opens up for the people of Sao Paulo to stroll, sport or simply relax on this normally pollutant highway🌞🚴🛹 Read more about the tranformation of roads in Sao Paulo here.
"Japan Town" in Sao Paulo.
Did you know that Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan? An estimated 1.6 million people from Japanese descent live here today! The first immigrants arrived in 1908 and settled in the area Liberdade in Sao Paulo, which quickly became "Japan Town”. Although today most residents in Liberdade are actually Chinese and Korean.
My point of view
The center of Sao Paulo has more than 12 million residents. So high-rise is everywere. There is not only life at streetlevel but also on top of the city. And above all, some magnificent views! 🏙️🌆
The Copan Building
Designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the 1950's, the Copan Building is an icon of Brazilian architecture. It is the largest concrete structure in the country, and the home of more than 2000 residents! The view from up here is a dazzling experience, for the first time we see, and feel the enormous size of this city.
Story Avenida Paulista
Every Sunday, Avenida Paulista - one of the most crowded roads in São Paulo - transforms into a huge city park🌴🌴. On this day, the streets are taken over by families👨👩👧, skaters🛹, runners🏃♀️🏃♂️ and cyclists🚴♀️🚴♂️. It’s the perfect time to catch your breath before it’s business as usual and Paulista transforms back into one of the busiest streets of São Paulo🚦🚗🚕🚚🚛🚎.
In the hills of Pinheiros in the west of Sao Paulo, lays the bohemian neighborhood Vila Madalena. It's famous for its boutiques, galleries and grafitti, but also because of its vibrant nightlife💃🏽🍹 that attracts a sophisticated young crowd👨🏽🎨 👩🏻💻 👩🏼🎤.
Avenida Paulista: one of the most important streets in Sao Paulo
Today we investigated this huge, crowded, cool street that kinda looks like fifth avenue in New York. Big skyscrapers, thriving businesses and many cultural institutions. On sunday it transforms into a huge citypark, read more about it here or watch our vlog.
Ibiapuera park is full of surprises! 🏞️
As we are trying to find a bikestation to get around this huge citypark, we actually discover a Pokémon hotspot and a lot of dedicated players in front of the Planetarium! 🦄🦛👾 Eventually we didn't find the bikes, but discovered a beautiful, vibrant citypark full of surprises!🌴🚴🌻
Bem vindo ao Sao Paulo!
Strolling around in the citycenter of Sao Paulo, we soon discovered why they call it the graffiticapital of the world🌎🌈🚦
Urban Hero #1 - Robert 'Rowbow' Ochola. The #amazing story of Robert 'Rowbow' Ochola will definitely get you through the day! With his slogan, ‘hope unaweza trust’ (hope you can trust), he is campaigning for the Kenyan elections that take place the 8th of August. Check it out!!
Most crowded island on the planet: CHECK. In the middle of Africa's biggest lake there is an island not bigger than half a football field but inhabited by hundreds of people. WHY? Check out the full story to discover everything about Migingo island. It's quite #amazing
Urban Heroes #2. In his left hand he carries his phone, in his right the cross of Christ. For 17 years John has been managing this dumpsite, thereby witnissing #horrible things. Still John tries to make life easier on the dumpsite by organizing church services and meals for the #streetkids on Sunday's.
You want fake numberplates? A new #engine or just some #spareparts? Anything you want for your car, you will find in here. Grogan area (Nairobi) is the biggest black market and the first massive open air garage for vehicles i've ever seen. #traffic is #boomingbusiness!
Maria and Suzan in front of their #extraordinary#matatu in #kampala#uganda. MatatArt is a mobile all-in-one structure that delivers #art to children's doorstep, even in places where there is little infrastructure, equipment, services or facilities.
Together with the rest of team Kalahari, #community group "Berlin" is organising important activities in their hood: #california (Nairobi, Kenya). Desert grounds is where the people from Calif come together, for example during this #footballtournament.