Carlos Cazalis Photography


The Urban Meta Project, started in downtown São Paulo, Brazil in 2006, with 438 families squatting in the largest urban occupation ever in Latin America. The Prestes Maia 911, was in many ways a pivotal point in a threshold that humanity was about to cross and that would become a phenomena in 2007. Humanity for the first time in history went from a rural to an urban population. Those 438 Brazilian families, some Bolivian, were searching for better opportunities within the megacity framework. Their ancestors, like them had already fled rural poverty.

The project now encompasses eight major cities across the globe, all of which face significantly the same challenges, with greater or lesser degrees. All of those challenges –habitat, water management, growth, population, segregation, pollution, food security and divergence are directly related to sustainability and now as a concentrated urban population, to the survival or peaceful coexistence of the human race.

In each city –some still a work in progress– we address through the lives of those who are the majority, one of the above challenges and they often overlap for obvious reasons. However, one common element stands out. We now live primarily in massive man made environments. Billions of inhabitants no longer touch the earth, walking instead on tar and concrete. Millions of children are born into the city with few possibilities of experiencing life with the natural world before they are adults. This detachment is dangerous to all of us, for it includes the possibiity of no longer admiring and respecting that which has been an invisible provider to the urban dweller and a major participant in the creation of life, the earth.