10+1web site
都市の「シェルター」をリサーチするプロジェクト「Shelter Studies」。サンパウロ、カラカス、ボゴタ、ニューヨーク、ジュネーヴ、パリ、ロンドン、イスタンブール……世界の都市を巡り、そこに住まう人々への30のインタヴュー|Shelter Studies is project to research various 'Shelter' by Keisaku Fukuda+Robert Schmidt+Gonzalo Velez. They interview 30 key persons living in vulnerable urban space.|Powered by MT 2.65Syndicate this site

Name: Teolinda Bolivar
Profession: Professor of the Central University of Venezuela, School of Architecture and Urbanism
Nationality: Venezuela
URL: http://www2.usp.br/publishing/insite.cgi
Date of Interview: Oct. 21th, 2006.

Ms. Teolinda Bolivar is a small and gentle woman. When we went to Horrian Branco, a 'barrio' in Venezuela (which means slum in Venezuela), we could see the warm demeanor shown by all the locals to her. Her accumulation of time and faith there enabled us to stay safely without any trouble. We were slightly amazed because she felt afraid sometimes that what she was doing with the community might not result in any change and accomplishment even though she had worked in the community for over 30 years. Here is the wisdom: to be and to live safely requires time, a steady and single-hearted faith and communication. Then, to continue is power.

Name and Profession?
My name is Teolinda Bolivar. I am a retired researcher and teacher. I entered into the school of architecture in 1973 with the background of working as a government official concerning the improvement of neighborhoods from 1969 to 1970.

Why did you choose this topic for research?
It is a little bit long to explain, but since I graduated from high school around the same time as the fall of Perez Jimenez (Perez Jimenez is a former President 1952-1958), I saw the situation in the neighborhoods and I considered that as an architect I should work for that. Finally I had to find asylum at the university because the topic concerning these neighborhoods is highly political. My research is with the inhabitants, a research that initially was called investigation-action and now it has developed into investigation-action-intervention. All this in order to access places that conventional investigations couldn't reach; for example, dealing with the improvement of houses which without the support of the community would have been impossible in practice. In research we always confront the problem of trying to create a model of something we don't know. That was always my supposition, the fact is that the neighborhoods are a complex reality that even now we ignore.

After all the hardship of working with neighborhoods what motivates you?
It is difficult to continue with neighborhoods when I see that what I have done is very little or nothing. Last year, in reflection, I had a crisis thinking that we had no accomplishments, because when you leave the main roads and get into the heart of the neighborhood you find that there are people living with no services.
My role is to communicate my ideas to the students on the site, because I work onsite, so that they can see, feel and smell reality. May be due to our education and personal ambitions, we would like to transform the complete reality of a home, but in reality our true contribution is always a small improvement, for example opening a window.
There is profit-oriented research and non-profit oriented research. Our contribution is non profit. It is not a problem of completing my own doctoral thesis.
I think to continue in a modest way establishing strong goals, and to transmit it to the authorities, the students, the new generations, and to make them accept that the people living in the barrio have a lot of knowledge. My last objective is to work with the local people, there is a professional knowledge needed by local people, but there is a popular knowledge that we need to apprehend. For example just the fact of building a house starting from a small wooden hut, without economical resources is a high accomplishment. We have to value this fact. We have to respect and value this population. We have created a network called Autonomous Communities Solidarity Network where we, researchers from the university work with the local people within a learning process. Sometimes I feel depressed and hoping to close this, but when I come here and see the possibilities, the modesty and the humbleness of the local people and students I feel energy to keep on within this process.

What kind of possibility do we have to collaborate together?
We have done that before with other universities and research centers. Our work was always underestimated but the international support, moral support, was very important to keep us going.
Our work was recognized by the international community even before the local universities recognized it. The people thought that our work was not academic or scientific so the relationship with other universities abroad is very important. We have even had Japanese researchers in this neighborhood and we have realized that we can actually work with support and respect with the local community. When we have a direct relation with foreigners we can communicate that we are all equal.
We want the government to let local people administrator their own economical resources and this is what we are doing here in a small scale where the local association manages the money.
We need to respect local capacities and support research activities to understand how the neighborhoods can become part of the city.