By Daniel Athias de Almeida and Sergio Fagerlande
This post is adapted from the conference paper and presentation that the authors developed for the 2016 meeting of T2M in Mexico City.
Daniel is a graduate student and a researcher in the Architecture Postgraduate Department of Architecture in the field of Project and Heritage at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (PROARQ - UFRJ), focusing on the study of history, mobility and tourism in the city of Guapimirim, Brazil.
Sergio is a PhD lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism and researcher at LAURBAM in the Urbanism Postgraduate Department at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (PROURB - UFRJ), lecturing on Urbanism, landscape architecture and the history of the cities, researching tourism in slums.
This post examines the historical process around the development of the city of Guapimirim, Brazil, and its relationship with transportation. The goal is to provide new strategies and possibilities in order to revive the old path of the railway and, at the same time, improve mobility through modal integration with the existing railway, bicycle systems and the current bus network. In order to understand the importance of the railways to local urban development, one must examine the whole region between the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area and Serra dos Orgãos mountain range, where Guapimirim is located. Originally, these spaces were connected by railroad in the nineteenth century, which promoted greater development in the area and fostered strong connections between the port with farming and mining zones.
The region played an important role in the development of railway systems in South America. In the area, the first rail line was built in 1856, connecting Mauá Port to Raíz da Serra de Petrópolis. A few years after the construction of the Mauá Railway, another line was built to connect Teresópolis, a popular destination, to Mauá Port, in the process passing through Guapimirim, stimulating the city’s growth.
Construction began on the Teresópois Railway in 1898 and was completed in 1906, after successfully crossing the Serra dos Orgãos mountain range. The endeavor imported tracks from Swtizerland to finish. Once opened, the line became a landmark for modernization, and spurred urban development and integration among the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Teresópolis, and Guapimirim. The railway served as a mode of transportation for commuters as well as tourists. Passing through the Serra dos Orgãos mountains provided scenic views of lush natural landscapes, pristine waterfalls and huge granite formations covered with vegetation. e, a place with scenic views, lush nature, pristine waterfalls and huge granite blocks covered with dense vegetation. The picturesque spaces and incredible biodiversity around Guapimirim made this place into a popular destination for famous artists, travelers, and explorers, including the famed German botanist Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, even before the construction of the first railroad. Later, Henrique Bernardelli, a well-known painter, moved to Guapimirim in 1900, and lived there for thirty years, creating artwork inspired by the natural landscape of the region.