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Theoretical Papers

Vol. 6 No. 1 (2021): Visual Spaces of Change: photographic documentation of environmental transformations

From intimacy to urban landscape: images of the transformations of the Rainha Dona Leonor social housing.




The present communication proposes an imagery study on the transformations of the social housing Rainha Dona Leonor, in Porto, rehabilitated between 2017 and 2019. Through an immersive ethnographic work, it was possible to closely follow the radical changes that took place, from the demolition of the five housing blocks to the construction of a single block.

In short, our methodology was guided by the following phases: 1) a series of exploratory visits to analyze the spatial morphology, the living conditions, the forms of occupation of shared spaces and the atmosphere of the neighborhood (receptivity, sense of security, accesses, flow of non-residents); 2) further research into the history, context, and contemporary setting of the site; and 3) the close observation and follow up of two families from old residents.

The idea of using photography as a resource for data collection and representation of the situation was due to its ability to convey the impact of the changes on the landscape, on the lives of the residents, and on their narratives before the demolition of their homes and after moving to their new homes. We registered details inside their old homes (their old lives), before being packed up, or discarded in the move to the new apartments. Furthermore, photography was taken as a tangible reminiscence for these people, remnant of their past life.


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