In the Northern Province of Brazil an illegal infrastructure has emerged to exploit the gold rich area. This infrastructure has been created by an influx of 40,000 plus illegal miners with shops, bars, brothels and airports. This is all happening on state designated tribal territory.
Between the forces of tribal protection, gold exploitation, and interior emigration 'Mineral Cities' is a project which aims to see a third way to intervene.
In a global economy with an ever exponentially increasing price of gold this ‘lost world’ is not immune. The influx of 40,000 miners has seen the estimated Yanomami tribal population reduce by a similar number as without immunity to western disease, informal infrastructure here is death on a genocidal scale. The forces of gold mining, along with the migration into the interior from the cities can be an opportunity to engage in this territory at a time where the Brazilian government is showing a move to review its approach to tribal welfare.
The inevitable need for resource is accepted, to also is the falsity that by leaving this area untouched will protect the indigenous population.
I propose to implement a series of rules into the gap between corporate rape of the territory and the all-out banning of operations in this site. The guidelines are designed to take chance into account and once that chance, gold, is discovered the framework of excavation provides more intelligently the basis for a settlement to form. My position is that permanency and settlements which outlives the mine is the best regulation for the territory. On the wider scale this operation aims to cut through the indigenous territory but in a way which it avoids settlement and migration patterns of the tribes. Following the existing demographic of those who operate in the forest these settlements act as attractor points for illegal operations and provide a profitable, legal and less harmful alternative. The role of the architect I see here is not to build settlements, but design a system to act as a catalyst to streamline the process of development. Development which is driven by chance, gold, and shaped by regulation.