Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.


  • Work on this object began.


  • Work on this object ended.



  • You found it!

Urban Mining

This is a Project. It was overseen (as design director) by Rainer Hehl. It is dated 2011–2013.

In Heliópolis, the largest favela in São Paulo, urban design researchers propose to engage local residents to recycle discarded materials for favela upgrading. The planned first phase for the Urban Mining program will restructure local waste collection and build a recycling and prototyping center for composite materials and building systems. For example, concrete, when combined with industrial and urban waste products, such as polystyrene, expanded clay, recycled plastic, or natural fiber, is lighter and improves insulation and tensile properties. The composite materials allow for a modular building system, which can be used to construct affordable self-built housing units, collaboratively designed with residents.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/420779005/ |title=Urban Mining |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 January 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>