Sense of Place in Rio de Janeiro

Submitted by Jacqueline King on the 2016 winter session program in Brazil sponsored by the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences…

In my Plants and Human Culture class this past week, we learned about sense of place – characteristics that make a place special or unique.  The discussion provided an explanation for why I’m still awestruck every day even after being in the city for a week.  Right now, we’re in Rio de Janeiro, an iconic city that’s unlike any other in the world.  Not only are there the beautiful tropical plants and the mountains, but also the famous Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches lining the coast.  While on a bike tour, we saw Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain from Flamingo Park.  During the day, you can look up and see Christ the Redeemer watching over Rio, and during the night, you can look up into the mountains and see the lights of the favelas, like flames climbing up the slope.  There are so many famous landmarks and characteristics unique to Rio that it’s one of the most easily recognizable places in the world.  Whenever I buy a postcard and look at the picture or step outside our hotel and look around, I’m amazed that I’m here.  It has a sense of place that is strong enough to keep me in awe for a lifetime.

Group in Brazil Jacqueline King 16W Brazil PLSCRio de Janeiro Jacqueline King 16W Brazil PLSC