Teresina Community presents sustainable community centre project

An artificial aerial image of a neighbourhood
Aerial view of the project (reproduction) © WRI Brasil

In Teresina, a community joins forces to gain strength. Residencial Edgar Gayoso is a housing complex located approximately 17 km from the centre of Teresina, the capital of the state of Piauí. It has a landscape marked by walls that are designed to protect the houses built under the Minha Casa, Minha Vida social housing programme in 2015. Unfortunately, they literally and figuratively also increase the distances among residents. The establishment of the Urban Lab at the Edgar Gayoso housing complex and the collective effort that brought to life Praça dos Sonhos  (the only public space for the 400 families who live there) also show the potential for transformation that arises from an engaged community.

In the small square built by many hands collectively, a meeting point emerged where people not only share dreams, but also actions to improve the quality of life of a community segregated from urban opportunities. The community has limited access to transport, leisure spaces and health-care services. At the beginning of August 2023, the Urban Lab Alliance’s latest collective project was presented in this space: a project for a large community centre, capable of completely transforming not only Edgar Gayoso, but also other communities in the surrounding areas. 

After a lengthy active listening and collective construction process involving residents, technicians and experts, WRI Brasil, in partnership with the Cidade Floresta platform and the extension group of the School of Architecture and Urbanism of the Federal University of Piauí, shared the project structures for working, exchanging, learning, eating and leisure with the Alliance  – activities that are sorely lacking in the far north of Teresina.

While plans for a plot of land provided by the municipal government were progressing, the community centre was designed to promote income generation, education and professional training. It is also foreseen to function as a place for social activities, sports and leisure, as well as a high-quality public facility that is currently unavailable in that part of the city.

The project combines workspaces, such as professional kitchens, stores, an area for fairs, studios for craft making, sewing, carpentry and other activities. Permeated by several innovative nature-based solutions for water capture, food production, composting and recycling, the project has a strong focus on the creation of green spaces where currently there are none.

Municipal government of Teresina analyses the proposal

On August 10, 2023, a team from WRI Brasil and the Cidade Floresta platform, together with members of the Alliance for Residencial Edgar Gayoso were at Teresina’s city hall to present the project to Mayor Dr. Pessoa and a group of municipal secretaries.

At the meeting, an important discussion was held on the centre and the resources to finance its construction and operation. According to the proposal, the community centre would be managed by the Municipal Secretariat of Citizenship, Social Assistance and Integrated Policies (Semcaspi), which already manages the 21 Community Centres that exist in the city.