Comments: (0)

Networked Urbanism – Ecosistema Urbano workshop at Hong Kong Design Institute

Category : ⚐ EN + city + creativity + ecosistema urbano + networkedurbanism + social software


Last January Ecosistema Urbano was invited to Hong Kong to take part in activities at two different events. We were invited to give a lecture and run a workshop at Hong Kong Design Institute and also be part of the MaD ASIA FORUM 2015 program.

Hong Kong Design Institute is an educational institution that adopts a “Think and Do” approach through contemporary curriculum and active collaborations with industry. HKDI brings together the strengths of the Design departments and offers programmes spanning across Foundation Studies, Communication Design and Digital Media, Fashion and Image Design, and Product and Interior Design.


Our workshop aimed, not only at examining the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes and fluxes, focusing in the quality of HK public spaces.

We believe that the reactivation of a public space cannot be addressed only by a conventional piece of art or urban design. A lively public space is a complex balance of overlapping layers which should also allow for improvisation and interaction; it is the platform for conversation and socialization and it should respond to the demands, desires and expectations of an increasingly plural society.

The transformation of a public space is not only about physically implementing a new creative urban environment, but also, and far more important, it is about building a community to support it, to care for it, to use it – before, during, and after its materialization. A designer’s role is not only to deliver high quality public spaces, but also to reflect on the many ways public space can contribute to foster or discourage social interaction. It is interesting to understand how the physical configuration of a space can condition our personal and social behaviour.

At ecosistema urbano we believe we have to work at different levels in order to achieve a healthy and sustainable public space. Our methodology focuses on three key factors:

Society. We believe it is necessary to empower communities to drive the projects that affect them, and therefore involve social layer in the design process, so social relevance can be guaranteed. It is necessary to invite citizens to take an active role in urban transformation.

Technology. We embrace technology as a means to enhance citizens’ interaction with each other and with the environment around them. As the digital-physical divide narrows and the possibilities multiply, technology becomes an increasingly significant element in urban social life.

Environment. Sustainability is not only an option anymore, but a must. Our work promotes the comprehension of the city as an open environmental classroom to raise awareness about ecological issues among citizens.

Within this framework, Jose Luis Vallejo and I led a 3-day workshop at Hong Kong Design Institute with students from the landscape program. The purpose of the workshop was to encourage students to reflect on the public space surrounding the school.


The workshop consisted of three different actions:


During the first task students had to explore the area, identifying both challenges and opportunities in the public space of this part of the city: East Kowloon, a newly built area with a lack of attractive public spaces. They had not only to observe and experience the space themselves but also to gather inputs and fresh ideas from other users and passersby.
In order to communicate and express their learnings and findings, they were expected to elaborate their ideas by producing a video.


Today’s strong culture in the use of new media pushes us, designers, to find innovative ways of communicating our ideas beyond the conventional disciplinary tools. The easiness of spreading information through social media, reaching out a larger audience, presents new opportunities of raising awareness about urban issues, increasing social interest, and building up a stronger urban culture.

The definition and the testing of these tools is a fertile creative space where students and future designers can find new opportunities for development and innovation, where not only the very concept is important, but also the skills of storytelling and narration.

We believe Design Schools should explore these new ways of communicating and transferring ideas and knowledge to bridge the distances between disciplinary language and society’s interests. It is necessary to develop the appropriate tools and to establish a creative and efficient conversation between us, designers, and the citizens, as we no longer can think about creating a healthy and sustainable city without their engagement.

Many topics emerged from this explorative approach: the space for the visually impaired, the lack of activities and programs, the monotony of the current design and existing solutions, etc.

You can watch the videos produced here.



The second purpose of the workshop was to launch the Hong Kong version of the local_in platform, an online platform designed to publish geolocated messages: users write their ideas, opinions, proposals or concerns in 140 characters and classify them by category, tags and location so that they can be viewed, rated and shared in real time.


The digital platform enables users to work at two different levels:

Mapping: situations, problems, opportunities through images, video, descriptions, etc.
Getting into action: posting their designs, strategies, and solutions to reactivate and dynamize the existing spaces.

There is a color code in which RED stands for problems or challenges and BLUE for ideas and solutions.

map 1
map 2
map 3

The interface is very intuitive and allows the user to visualize the information by topics and interests in any given area of the city. Students directly uploaded their findings and reflections to the online platform. The application is open source, designed and developed by Ecosistema Urbano and released under GNU GPL license.

The platform will remain online and open for further use by citizens.



As a final and symbolic act representing the result of this reflection, a temporary balloon installation was implemented in the main public space at HKDI, the boulevar.


A series of 500 balloons were put into place, red balloons standing for problems and blue for ideas, recalling the color classification used in the local_in platform.
The installation is a symbolic representation of the digital platform and the ideas shown were a selection of the many gathered by students during the neighbourhood exploration. The ideas written in the balloons drew the attention of other students and passersby, and many of them also became engaged in the process and decided to contribute with their own thoughts. This simple mechanism became a social catalyst, sparking conversations along the space, connecting people and encouraging the reflection about the space we live in, and finally also the ideal background for many selfies, instantly shared on the social networks.





In addition to this activity we also took part in the MaD ASIA FORUM 2015, a platform cultivating creativity and global vision among young people in Asia.

Founded in 2009, MaD (Make a Difference) inspires and empowers young people all over Asia to come up with creative responses to our time’s challenges. It has evolved as a collaborative platform of creative changemakers that works at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation and discovery to bring about positive changes in Asia.



Jose Luis and I gave a lecture within the program and led two workshops titled “Designing Human Cities for the Digital Age” in which participants were challenged to interact and collectively think about ways of improving cities.



Here you can find an interview (in chinese) published in NHET magazine.

Comments: (0)

Ecosistema Urbano en Diálogos 2015 | EASD, Valencia

Category : ⚐ ES + eventos + noticias


La Escuela de Arte y Superior de Diseño de Valencia (EASD) invita esta semana a Ecosistema Urbano a la duodécima edición de Diálogos. Unas jornadas de diseño que reúnen a  profesionales de las seis disciplinas que posee la Escuela (diseño de moda, diseño de producto, diseño de interiores, diseño gráfico, Fotografía y Creación Audiovisual y Joyería y Objeto).

Las charlas tendrán lugar del 27 al 30 de enero. Irán acompañadas de tres eventos como la exposición “Lo verás cerca de casa” de Chaumont, Francia; el proyecto sobre espacio expositivo del arte sonoro de el Espacioaudible; y la proyección del cortometraje “El último abrazo” de Sergi Pitarch.

Luisa Zancada, miembro de Ecosistema Urbano, asistirá a la presentación analizando varios de los trabajos del estudio en torno al tema de diseño social y colaborativo. Será un recorrido a través de las metodología y las diversas acciones, eventos o herramientas digitales, que contribuyen a involucrar a la comunidad en el diseño del espacio urbano que ellos mismos disfrutarán.

Nos vemos el jueves 29 de enero a las 17:40 h.


Comments: (0)

Ecosistema Urbano at MaD Asia forum 2015

Category : ⚐ EN + ecosistema urbano + events + news


Next week Ecosistema Urbano members Jose Luis Vallejo and Belinda Tato will be attending the MaD ASIA FORUM 2015, a platform cultivating creativity and global vision among young people in Asia.

Founded in 2009, MaD (Make a Difference) inspires and empowers young people all over Asia to come up with creative responses to our time’s challenges. It has evolved as a collaborative platform of creative changemakers that works at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation and discovery to bring about positive changes in Asia.

Tato & Vallejo will be running the #networkedurbanism workshop “Designing Human Cities for the Digital Age” on Jan. 31st and presenting their work on Feb. 1st.

We are excited to be back in Hong Kong and looking forward to knowing more about the city and its creative community!

More about the event 
The schedule 

Comments: (2)

Ecosistema Urbano, first prize in the Voronezh Sea Closed Competition

Category : ⚐ EN + competitions + ecosistema urbano + eu:live + news

Aerial view of the "Leisure Island"

Aerial view of the “Leisure Island”, one of the proposals

The Department of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Voronezh region decided recently to organize a closed competition in order to develop a strategy for the future of the Voronezh Sea, a currently contaminated reservoir. The aim was to gather ideas on the use of the reservoir so it can be more attractive for the population and be a resource for the development of the city once the water is clean.

Today we are pleased to announce that our proposal has been awarded the first prize!

Click on the image to see some cool panoramas of the Voronezh Sea!

Click on the image to see some cool panoramas of the Voronezh Sea!

The proposal developed by Ecosistema Urbano after being selected for the second round of the competition works at different levels, addressing both the diverse sources of contamination and the potential uses of the existing reservoir. Our vision combines various solutions bringing new opportunities for leisure and activities for people to enjoy and experience the lake.

Our proposal

Addressing the different sources of pollution by providing customised solutions for each of them. These actions are framed as Phase 0. Among the actions we propose to place macrophytes on the surface of the water treatment plant tanks. This action can improve the performance of the Plant up to 40% and it is more efficient not only in the short term, but also in the long run as it reduces energy consumption and requires low maintenance.

Working with floating macrophytes which can absorb many different contaminants. They would be located in the shallowest areas of the lake to stop algae from blooming and emitting a specific smell that comes from the reservoir in summer.

Floating macrophytes in action

Floating macrophytes in action

Creation of bathing areas both in the urban and at the natural environment of the lake, incorporating the macrophytes as part of the water purification system.

A series of floating mobile cleaning infrastructures. These barges help to control water eutrophication as it is important to reduce the amount of phosphorus. They have tanks filled with alum for phosphor sedimentation at the bottom and incorporate various leisure programs and possibilities on the top, so they can be used in different areas of the city during the summer season. At the same time, these floating barges include sampling and analysing systems so that real time information about the water conditions and quality is made available for everyone through the web platforms and mobile app, specifically developed for this purpose.

Floating mobile cleaning infrastructures

Floating mobile cleaning infrastructures

Two areas are proposed to be developed through Public-Private Partnership. These new developments will help to shape a new identity for Voronezh and a new relationship of the city with the water.

The first is a mixed-use zone including housing, offices, retail, public and cultural buildings etc. This new development must be a pilot experience incorporating all the current sustainable technologies, as well as incorporating good practices in water management. Rainwater and surface water runoff is collected and purified through small ponds with floating macrophytes for being used afterwards for irrigation. Pump system for ponds and aeration fountains receive energy from micro wind turbines located on the shore.

New development of a mixed-use zones at the lakefront

New development of a mixed-use zones at the lakefront

As a second development opportunity, ecosistema urbano proposes turning the existing Pridachenskaya dam into a Leisure Island with different activities, becoming a new infrastructure for the city incorporating clean water areas available for swimming and bathing. The island also includes bicycle and jogging paths, boat station for water-sports, urban beach, gardens and parks, playgrounds and sport facilities.

Typologies of cleaning and activity-hosting infrastructures

Typologies of cleaning and activity-hosting infrastructures

Next you can see some more images of the proposal, showing how water treatment and environmental regeneration could work together with social reactivation of the reservoir along the day and through the seasons.





Related links (in Russian):

EU project ideas
Results of the competition
Voronezh news

Comments: (0)

Juan Carlos Cristaldo, socio local de Ecosistema Urbano en Asunción

Category : ⚐ ES + colaboradores + Plan CHA + urban social design + urbanismo

Juan Carlos Cristaldo

Juan Carlos Cristaldo

Hoy tenemos el placer de presentaros a Juan Carlos (Juanca) Cristaldo, un joven arquitecto y diseñador urbano de Paraguay que es ahora nuestro socio local en Asunción y con quien estamos trabajando en el Plan Maestro del CHA.

Comment: (1)

Ecosistema Urbano en Teckids: Tecnología para Ciudades Family Welcome | eu:KIDS

Category : ⚐ ES + eu:kids + Uncategorized


Os invitamos a dar una vuelta por alguno de los muchos eventos que habrá los próximos 26, 27 y 28 de septiembre con motivo del festival Malakids!

Un festival urbano para familias que convierte durante varios días el centro de Madrid en un gran y bullicioso escenario para niños y mayores. Lugares como la Plaza del 2 de Mayo, el auditorio de Conde Duque, Comendadoras y San Ildefonso se llenarán de conciertos y actividades para todas las edades.

LASEDE del COAM acogerá el nuevo market de Malakids! y el evento Teckids, donde Mammaproof organiza una mesa redonda sobre la tecnología ligada a los niños y la forma de habitar las ciudades. Han invitado a Ecosistema Urbano y tendré el placer de acudir el domingo 28 para mostrar de forma breve nuestro Carrusel de la Energía de Holanda.

“En el contexto de una ciudad cada vez más densa y deshumanizada, brotan propuestas desde el activismo cívico de participación, inclusión, humanismo y sostenibilidad. Queremos dar la palabra a las personas que haciendo uso de la tecnología, de la pasión y de su capacidad comunicativa para mover comunidades, están haciendo el cambio en la calidad de vida de nuestras ciudades. Empezando por pensar en las necesidades de los más pequeños. Hablaremos de viandantes, de camino escolar, de disfrutar los espacios públicos, de la progresiva adaptación de los privados, de movilidad y de cómo conseguir traer la naturaleza al asfalto. Os invitamos a sumar vuestras propuestas a esta mesa participativa.”

Habrá más de 130 actividades en un solo fin de semana. Como una mini Noche en Blanco pero durante el día, así que no os lo perdáis y consultad el calendario porque hay mucho donde elegir.

Malakids! es un festival organizado por Kideoo, la web de planes no convencionales para padres y niños, Somos Malasaña, el periódico del barrio y el Ayuntamiento de Madrid, con la ayuda de empresas y comercios.

02 - Dordrecht-movimiento

Post por Luisa Zancada, arquitecta en Ecosistema Urbano y redactora de Mammaproof.

Comments: (0)

Norway: Next Version | Lecture in Bergen by Ecosistema Urbano

Category : ⚐ EN + events + news + urbanism

Belinda Tato will be lecturing next Thursday,  September 11 at the USF Verftet cultural centre in Bergen, Norway, together with 8 other speakers.


The conference, organized by the National Association of Norwegian Architects, will explore the relations between the cities, the suburbs and the rural areas, trying to gather insights on how to make them more productive, locally driven and sustainable while preserving Norway’s own character and exploring new lifestyles.

More info (in Norwegian):

Comments: (0)

Ecosistema Urbano Wins the Master Plan Competition for the Historic Downtown of Asunción

Category : ⚐ EN + Plan CHA + sustainability + urban social design + urbanism

We are very pleased to announce that our Master Plan proposal for the revitalization of the Historic Downtown District of Asunción, Paraguay (Plan Maestro del Centro Histórico de Asunción), in an international open competition held in the past months. We are surprised and thrilled with the great reception that the project has had, and eager to continue its development side by side with the people, the organizations and the institutions in the city.

Comments: (11)

Ecosistema Urbano gana el concurso para el Plan Maestro del Centro Histórico de Asunción

Category : ⚐ ES + Plan CHA + sostenibilidad + urban social design + urbanismo

Estamos encantados de poder anunciar aquí que nuestra propuesta para el Plan Maestro del Centro Histórico de Asunción (Paraguay) ha sido seleccionada como ganadora en el concurso internacional celebrado durante las últimas semanas. Estamos sorprendidos y emocionados con la recepción que ha tenido el proyecto, y deseosos de continuar su desarrollo mano a mano con las personas, organizaciones e instituciones de la ciudad.

La propuesta tiene como objetivo abordar la regeneración integral del centro de la ciudad de una forma inclusiva y convertir el proceso en una referencia, en un momento en que muchas ciudades del mundo están empezando a buscar otras formas de enfocar su futuro.

Comments: (0)

Ecosistema urbano selected for the second round of the Voronezh Sea Closed Competition

Category : ⚐ EN + competitions + ecosistema urbano + eu:live + news

Voronezh and the reservoir - image via - click to visit source

Voronezh—which became popular in the late 80s because of a controversial UFO incident—is a city of over 1 million inhabitants, situated 500 km south of Moscow. It is located on the banks of the Voronezh River, which in 1972 was transformed into the Voronezh Reservoir or “the Voronezh Sea” as it is called by the inhabitants —a huge lake, 30 km long and 2 km wide. You can read more about the history of the reservoir here.

During the following decades the population enjoyed the cool water during the hot Voronezh summer, but in 1992 the authorities labelled it as “not fit for swimming” as a result of the increasingly polluted water.

Click on the image to see some cool panoramas of the Voronezh Sea

Click on the image to see some cool panoramas of the Voronezh Sea!

The Department of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Voronezh region recently decided to organize a competition in order to develop a strategy for the future of the Voronezh Reservoir. The competition consists of two parts:

  • An Open Ideas competition meant to gather ideas that show the potential of the lake for urban and nature development.
  • A Closed Competition for teams of landscape architects, urbanists and ecologists that should combine ideas about possible future uses of the lake with technologies for cleaning it up. The strategy should include both a project and proposals for implementation.

We are glad to communicate that we have been selected among the four finalists of the closed competition. Over the following weeks we will be working hard on putting together a creative approach and a comprehensive strategy in a great presentation. More news soon!

Related link: Report of the jury