I am looking forward to this studio. I am excited to deal with real-life situations and engage in something that will have an actual impact in the world. Technology fascinates me, and the opportunity to research its important use in city life and develop an idea for using it in a more efficient way is incredible to be able to do as a high school student. One of the reasons I was drawn to this studio was because of a very close family friend of mine. Her name is Cecelia Paglia, and she worked on several Olympic games. She was involved in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Cecelia was one of the main coordinators of the venues for beach volleyball, and she worked on making sure the events flowed smoothly when they happened. When I was younger, hearing her talk about her experiences in those places captivated me, and I look forward to speaking with her again before going to Rio.
I hope to contribute to the Brazil studio in many different ways. A skill that I feel will help me a lot during this process is that I alway have an open mind. I love traveling to different places and exploring unknown cultures, and I can do so without being judgmental. I also pride myself in being a very hard-worker, and no matter what I give one hundred percent effort in everything I do. Because of these things, I am able to work well with others and I enjoy the collaborative process. I am looking forward to using these skills in Brazil and collaborating with many people, including those I know well and those I do not.
As I was learning more about this studio through the initial meetings and application process, I developed my own understanding of the “Right to the City.” Additionally, I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Neal about the studio for a newspaper article with the Beaver Reader. To me, the right to the city is a concept that generally deals with who has access to different components of city life. People in cities are often divided because of things such as wealth, social differences, and societal stereotypes. These differences create lines between classes that are clearly visible. However, the right to the city gives everyone access to what the city has to offer, no matter what their social stature is. In Rio, we will be working to make sure that although the city will be going through a chaotic next couple of years what with hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, the people who live in the city will still have access to the things they need in everyday life. In other words, our job is to research how these major world events will impact the local people, and come up with ideas to make this positive. Hosting these events affects entire cities in many ways. We will be working towards the goal that the less wealthy citizens of Rio will not be the only ones to pay the price for these projects. For example, at the London Olympics this year, in the words of Mr. Neal, although they “were wonderful, successful Olympics, a big part of the city was blighted, and it was usually those who were poor… that [were] evacuated.” Our work in Rio de Janeiro will be trying to eliminate this prospect. I cannot wait to begin this work and contribute to make Rio a smarter city!