In 2012 I spent 5 months travelling through South America discovering what good cities are made of. Based in a large city called Curitiba in the South of Brazil I aimed to explore some of the biggest cities on the planet and gain an understanding of the intricacies of everyday life there.
Starting with Buenos Aires, then onto Montevideo, Brasilia, Curitiba, Fox do Iguacu, Sao Paulo, Campinas and finally Rio de Janeiro; I saw a good chunk of the Southern end of South America. Each one of these cities had a different atmosphere, motivation and people. Each one presented me with some kind of culture shock that will stay with me forever. There were of course cities I loved and cities I could only admire from a purely architectural point of view.
I spent 3 months in Curitiba which is renowned as a city with long term vision and the ethos to back that. I was particularly excited to meet Jaime Lerner the 3 time mayor of Curitiba who formulated the instrumental master plan of the city. I learnt that things are never what I was expecting, but not necessarily in a negative way.
Travelling on my own gave me a new appreciation for my life in Australia and I constantly think back to those 5 months with joy and wonder- that I did that by myself AND that I was given such a wonderful opportunity by The Architecture Foundation.
Natalie returned to the University of Newcastle in 2013 to complete her Masters of Architecture. She is currently in her final year and hopes to continue further studies at UoN.