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An Overview to our Latest Projects in Latin America

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+Centro Histórico Abierto+city+Cuenca Red+ecosistema urbano+Plan CHA+Plan Encarnación Más+sustainability+technologies+urbanism

During the last year we have been busy with several projects and competitions (including the latest Open Shore project for West Palm Beach) which didn’t give us the time to look back and reflect on some of our projects from the last few years.

As maybe some of our readers know, Ecosistema Urbano has been working on several large-scale projects in Latin America since August 2014 when we won a competition to develop the Master Plan of the Historical Center of Asuncion, Paraguay. In 2015, we accomplished another significant project: the participatory process Centro Histórico Abierto for the transformation of the historical center of Distrito Central, capital of Honduras. We also worked on the transformative Cuenca RED project which acted on the Public Space Reactivation Plan of the Historical Center of Cuenca, Ecuador. After the first experience in Paraguay, we had another project in the city of Encarnación, giving origin to the Plan Encarnación Más, composed by an Urban and Territorial Planning and Sustainability Plan.

In these four cases, the urban issues and the peculiar situations that required our intervention were distinct yet shared many common features. More specifically, the enthusiasm and interest shown by the people directly and indirectly involved was apparent throughout all of the projects, but also the opportunities that these experiences have given us as an architecture firm, to test ideas, tools, and methodologies.

CONTEXT

Although they share the same area of origin, each of these cities has developed unique problems and issues. Some of these, such as the ones found in Encarnación, are physical-territorial matters such as the recent loss of the city center because of the controlled rise of the water level in the Yacyretá dam. That event led to the envisioning of a “Sustainable Development Plan” and  “Urban and Territorial Ordering Plan” in order to prepare the city for the future. In the case of Cuenca, the need for a new plan was determined by a series of big changes underway: the definition of a new model of mobility and the progressive emptying of population that afflicts the historical center, World Heritage Site since 1999, and headquarters of most of the commercial, touristic and economic city’s activities. In the case of Asunción and of the capital of Honduras, the project regards the transformation and the regeneration (both physical and social) of their historic centers. The Distrito Central is part of the development framework of the new urban axis “Choluteca River”.

SOCIAL

1 – Participation

The first of the projects’ common keys are connected with the theme of sociability, expressed in the form of participation. The citizens’ involvement, promoted both through a series of organized activities and through online platforms, has been one of the cornerstones of our work in Latin America. We involve citizens because we believe that the citizen is the only force able to achieve a deep and lasting change in the urban environment and so they should not be just a passive receptor of the changes promoted by the city’s institutions. That’s why in some cases, as in that of Asunción with the ASU-LAB, a space was created which could serve as an interface between citizens and institutions: a place for the execution of the city planning but also an open place where each person or group can drive a new regeneration initiative or attend a course.

Organized activities with the citiziens

Organized activities with the citizens

Participatory activities, such as workshops and events, have been geared to address representative members of the city such as children, university students, “active agents”, citizens and institutions. For each of these categories we have developed, project after project, a series of ad hoc initiatives.

Participatory process in Asunción, Encarnación, Cuenca and in Distrito Central

Participatory process in Asunción, Encarnación, Cuenca and in Distrito Central

For the children we created a “toolkit” with which we had them reflect on their perception of the city and with which they could propose their ideal vision for the city. The kit consists of portions of the city map on which they could draw and that, once recomposed, could recreate the overall image.

2 – Urban actions

These activities were followed by a series of urban actions so that the results could be shown tangibly in the city. In the case of Distrito Central, ideas were gathered in a week of workshops with 80 students from the three major universities in the city and have been translated into urban actions like “Las Gradas de la Leona“. The staircases are indispensable spaces in a city with a very distinct topography as Tegucigualpa. But in the city these vertical connections are often perceived as inhospitable, dangerous, and dirty places and therefore they are cut off from any kind of activity. The students’ work was aimed at legitimizing these stairs as a public space through cleanliness,  decor,  lighting, and the organization of a series of activities that achieved resounding success and participation.

Socialization along "Las gradas de la Leona"

Socialization along “Las gradas de la Leona”

In the case of Encarnación, one of the proposals that has distinguished our approach in this project was the inclusion of a series of pilot projects that accompany and translate into concrete proposals within the “Plan de Desarrollo Sustentable” and the “Plan de Ordenamiento”. Among these, one of the most successful pilot projects was the “Proyecto Piloto Bicisienda“, whose purpose is to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants by optimizing the use of alternative mobility and by raising awareness of the value of sports and recreation. Again we have sought the cooperation of citizens by promoting a series of initiatives (such as the construction of bike lanes in the city) in which the citizens could feel protagonistic.

Proyecto Piloto Bicisienda

Proyecto Piloto Bicisienda

3 – Informative events 

The disclosure of the participatory process to the citizenship, promoted both online through the project’s platforms and through open exhibitions, is a recurring phase in all four projects. We felt it important and necessary that each phase of the process was documented and could be easily accessible to all so that the citizens could be informed about the progress made in the project. Among these, the most scenic event, realized in Tegucigualpa, Cuenca and Encarnación, was the creation of a ” mosaico ciudadano“, a wall made of post-it notes with written words, phrases, and ideas about the city.

City mosaic in the several projects

City mosaic in the several projects

SUSTAINABILITY

Another theme of our projects in Latin America is sustainable development expressed in various forms: care and attention to the environment, the introduction of an alternative mobility system, the importance of education to the environment as an engine of sustainability, and the development of the project made in collaboration between private initiatives and institutional management. In the case of Cuenca, for example, our intervention was partly required as a consequence of the municipality’s willingness to define a new model of mobility for the historical center of the city consisting of ceasing car traffic in the center and building a new tramway system. This new model of mobility has direct implications for the current urban dynamics, as well as on the public space, as it tries to reduce the vehicular load of the city, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists. This, and the creation of quality public space, led to strengthen the social, economic, and cultural role of the city’s historical center making it more pleasant for residents and locals. Our aim is to activate a historical center that promotes social, economic, and environmental development, as well as a more livable, habitable, and inhabited historical center.

Cuenca’s plan is divided into four aspects: an urban acupuncture strategy, which proposes small / medium-scale interventions to recover areas with potential; a development of a network of active courtyards, by transforming the typical patios of Cuenca in catalysts capable of generating new synergies, connections, and interactions between residents, visitors and inhabitants; a guide to the historic center re-design, which defines the main lines for the design of the public space; a process of socialization, to define the “acopuntura” and the active patios network strategies. The intervention strategy in the square “Mary Corilè” in conjunction with the creation of “La casa en el árbol” is part of the active patios network strategy. This square is an unused and degraded space, perceived by the residents as an unpleasant and dangerous place.

The square "Mary Corilè"

The square “Mary Corilè”

Among the several interventions proposed, such as the re-furnishing of the square, traffic closure, and the design of activities in collaboration with the municipality, there’s also the creation of “La casa en el árbol“, a space included in the existing trees of the square where educational activities in relation to the theme of the environment can be carried out. “La casa en el árbol” is set up as a space to get in contact and be familiar with the nature, built in harmony with the surroundings. Inside there are several “environmental” classrooms in which one can study natural resources such as sun, wind, and water. More specifically, one can study: a system of photovoltaic panels that generate the energy needed for the lights, rainwater harvesting structures, and urban gardens as environmental and ecological experiences for schools and kindergartens. It is, ultimately, an open classroom in which a new form of pedagogy built on the respect for the environment is proposed, in order to increase awareness of the natural resources and of their use, as well as increase awareness of existing technologies.


In the case of Asunción we proposed a strategic plan with ten actions in order to promote a connection between the several parts of the city through the development of spaces, named “corridors“, and of individual buildings, named “urban catalysts“, which might act as drivers of change and benchmarks within the city. The corridors are divided into three types: those “green“, which introduce a new green infrastructure in specific parts of the existing roads; those “civic“, which consist of a new network of public spaces along the roads in order to connect the most important historic and government buildings; those “dynamic“, aimed at creating active urban environments and encourage economic and cultural activities.

Configuration of a charateristic dynamic corridor

Configuration of a charateristic dynamic corridor

Among the actions of Asunción strategic masterplan one concerns the economic and landscaping regeneration of the “Green Active Coast”. Due to its topography, this area is subject to cyclical floods because of the rising water level of the Paraguay River. That forces the inhabitants of the informal settlements who live there to move temporally. While fully respecting the identity of the river and of the existing topography, we have proposed the creation of a green lung with a large sports area in continuity with the Bicentennial Park. We also promoted the integration of the informal settlements both within the urban fabric and in the areas of new urban expansion.

The Encarnación masterplan incorporates within its own name the concept of “sustainability”, since it is composed of the “Plan of Sustainable Development” and of the “Plan of Urban and Territorial Organization”. The “Plan of Sustainable Development” will establish the standards and mechanisms for the growth and for the future development of the city according to the criteria of sustainability. The “Plan of Urban and Territorial Organization” aims at directing the use and the occupation of the territory in the urban and rural areas of the municipality. Officially, the city will face in the next twenty-four years an increase of the population amounted to 62,000 people, for whom it will be necessary to provide a massive increase in housing. The model we proposed to face this need refers to the sustainable principle of “the compact city.” Through the identification of a physical border for the city’s urban growth, we have protected the rural areas from new settlements. Moreover, we encouraged, through private and municipal initiatives, the densification of areas already developed, by filling the vacant urban lots and expanding pre-existing single-family homes.

Example of urban densification

Example of urban densification


The new interventions follow the principles of the bioclimatic architecture: large overhanging roofs and vegetation as protections from the hot summer sunlight, the use of wind to moderate the hot and humid climate of Encarnación, the reuse of rainwater, and the increase of the vegetation to absorb CO2 emissions.

TECHNOLOGY

In all four projects, technology represented an important collaborative tool to promote our work and to enable everyone to be constantly updated on ongoing progress, but also as a support for the participatory process, so that the involvement of the citizens would not be exhausted with the end of the activities organized, but could continue to map needs, issues, concerns and initiatives for those interested.

For this reason we have developed a platform, called Local-in (formerly What if ..?), which has been adapted to each project according to their personality and to the peculiarities of each participatory process, while maintaining a common format. Local-in is a free and accessible to everyone application of collective mapping. In it, registered users can add messages, photos and geolocalised links, sorting them into categories and labels. It’s easily installable and customizable, in perfect harmony with the spirit of the projects themselves, and it can be found for each project under the name “AsuMAP” for Asunción, with the name “Encarnación Más” for Encarnación, as “Cuenca RED” for Cuenca and with the name “Centro Histórico Abierto” for Distrito Central.

 

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Ecosistema Urbano at Milano Arch Week

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+ecosistema urbano+events+news

Triennale Milano - Milano Arch Week 2018

Next Sunday 27th May José Luis Vallejo will be giving a lecture at the Milano Arch Week 2018.

This important event, this year under the title “Urbania“, is promoted by the Comune di Milano, the Politecnico di Milano and the Triennale di Milano in collaboration with Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, and includes a rich program of conferences, workshops, installations, exhibitions, performances, events open to citizens to reflect together on the future of the city and the dynamics of contemporary architecture.

Date and time: May 27th, 19:00 h.
Location: Palco giardino – Viale Alemagna, 6, Milano

Location map of the Garden pavillion at the Milano Arch Week 2018

See full program at the website

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What we’ve been up to | Portfolio Review and Current Projects

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+ecosistema urbano+work in progress

We know it’s been a while since we published something in our blog, but we can assure you that we have been everything but idle. In fact, it was totally the opposite: 2017 was a big year here at ecosistema urbano. We had the opportunity to develop a wide scope of projects, from participatory workshops to urban-scale studies, in countries like Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Germany, and even Spain! Let us have a look at the last updates to our 2017 portfolio, and some of the projects that are coming during 2018.

 

Idea Hermosillo

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB/BID) tasked us with the challenge of reactivating urban spaces around the Historical Downtown in Hermosillo, Mexico. For this project, we put in place a brief but intense participatory process involving different stakeholders (institutions, businesses, students, neighbors) from Hermosillo. That way, we were able to identify the key aspects to address towards the revitalization of the city center. The Idea Hermosillo Revitalization Plan consisted of a brief diagnosis, a series of general strategies, and a set of 27 pilot projects which, together, would help reactivating the urban spaces in the area. One of these pilot projects was further developed as proof of concept: the Banco de Ideas, proposing the renovation of an existing building with a creative and mixed program that would act as a catalyst for attracting activity and driving interest about the Historic Downtown.

One of the pilot projects in Hermosillo – ‘Banco de Ideas’

See the “Idea Hermosillo” project in our portfolio

Febres Cordero Mixed-use Building

The Febres Cordero School was identified as one of the key interventions in the the CUENCA RED project in Cuenca, Ecuador. The proposed project keeps part of the original school building while creating a new mixed-used building in side it. The main goal was to create new public spaces and combine local businesses, a civic center, student residences and other uses that would help activating the surrounding area. The new Febres Cordero building also implements sustainable design elements such as locally sourced materials, bio-climatic façades and passive temperature regulation.

Technical design of Febres Cordero complex

See the “Febres Cordero” project in our portfolio

Spielraum – Der Andere Park Competition

In 2017 we were also invited to take part in an international competition to design the conversion of a former military base in Heidelberg, Germany. The City of Heidelberg alongside the IBA hosted a competition for the opening of the -until then- restricted area, and creating new public spaces for the city to enjoy. ecosistema urbano devised a playful layout for the park, concentrating the intervention in the central areas of the open spaces, and integrating the existing pavements and elements whenever possible. The overarching design and pathways of the park were conceived as a “game board”, where elements of the park, such as playgrounds, would become “game pieces”. The program and final design of these elements would be defined by the “game rules” consisting on a series of participatory processes involving neighbors and other stakeholders.

Schematic overview of programs at Der Andere Park

See more about the “Spielraum” project in our portfolio

Thinking Fadura

This project consisted of the preparation of a big participatory project in Getxo, Spain, towards the conversion of a closed sports area into an open park. An urban diagnosis of the Fadura area was made in order to identify the main issues, challenges, and opportunities that the park, the surrounding area and the population currently possess. This diagnosis was intended to inform both the technical development and the participatory process. In addition to this, a social mapping was created by meeting and interviewing all possible stakeholders and representing their relationships, their possible level of involvement and the key topics they were interested in. Over the course of four months, the team conducted multi-stakeholder meetings and presentations to engage the users of the park, as well as to inform and prepare them for the participatory process.

Stakeholder mapping as part of the preparation for the participatory process

See more about the “Thinking Fadura” project in our portfolio

Cervecera – Fadura Community Center 

In the same sports area in Getxo, Spain, a participatory architecture project was commissioned to us, with the aim of building a community center in the place of a public facility which had recently been damaged by a fire. In its final years, the former pub (cervecera) was used as a social facility. In order to create a design that would allow for the same level of engagement and active use, a participatory design process was devised. Three workshops were conducted where stakeholders could take part in the rethinking and redesigning of the building and its surrounding open spaces. At the end of the process, a sustainable and flexible community center was designed, capable of hosting even more activities than before while remaining adaptable to future needs.

Rendering of the envisioned cervecera

See more about the “Fadura Community Center” project in our portfolio

Santa Fe – Resilient Cities

As part of the 100 Resilient Cities program in Santa Fe, Argentina, ecosistema urbano was asked to lead a participatory project for the youth of Santa Fe. In this exciting activity, we had the opportunity to create and run a program which allowed children to get involved with the future of their city. The children were led through an explorative stroll around Parque del Norte where they were encouraged to be creative about what they observed and what they envisioned for the park. Afterwards, the children drew on maps to demonstrate what they hoped to see implemented into the future park. Then they were given materials to create small models of their proposals, micro-landscapes they created using natural materials, sourced from the park itself, in a transparent box. The maps and boxes provided invaluable feedback in order to include the vision of the younger citizens in the future park.

Images of the “participation kits” used for the creation of models

See more about the “Santa Fe – Resilient Cities” project in our portfolio

EU GPP Public Space Maintenance 

In a collaborative project with the European Commission, ecosistema urbano is helping to define the European Union Green Public Procurement (GPP) Criteria for Public Space Maintenance. We are working on creating a guide of best practices that will become the framework for procurement processes regarding public space maintenance. This project will have a big impact due to its scale: the public sector represents 14% of the GDP of the European Union. Therefore, a systematic sustainable change in any part of the public sector will increase the market viability of sustainable products. Our participation in this project will help to augment sustainable change and cost effectiveness in the EU.

Other ongoing projects in 2018

The past few months have been incredibly busy at ecosistema urbano, with more projects happening all over the world. Here are some examples of what we are working on right now:

  • In 2017 we won the competition to become the architectural partner for the Open Shore Initiative in West Palm Beach. We are currently working on the Banyan Hub multifunctional building, as well as the public space improvement of selected passageways. We have recently begun work on a new intervention at one of the key streets in downtown.
  • We started a public space project at the University of Málaga. The project addresses the planning and construction of a central boulevard that will improve the flow of people across the campus, promote sustainability and green space, integrate physical and digital layers of the campus and create places for new activities to happen.
  • We are also currently working with the World Bank in the identification of opportunities for improvement of public spaces and public buildings in one of the most dense and congested cities in the world: Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

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Open Shore Project for West Palm Beach | #1 Strategy to Trigger The Change

Category: ⚐ EN+competitions+ecosistema urbano+sustainability+urban social design+urbanism+work in progress

As we announced a few months ago in our previous post,  our project Open Shore is the winning proposal of Shore to Core international competition.

Open Shore is a complex project that addresses many different topics in an effort of providing solutions to several challenges that the city of West Palm Beach shares with many other cities. For this reason, we decided to present more in detail our project in a series of 3 posts dedicated to the three main points of the proposal: #1, Strategy to trigger the Change; #2, Waterfront: celebrating unexpected public space; #3, Banyan Hub: a city into a building.

Before going into detail of our proposal, it would be useful to introduce the context of the city of West Palm Beach.

As reported in the Shore to Core Competition Website, West Palm Beach is a young city that is growing quickly. Many associate this region with a large retirement community, but there is also a growing population of people in their 20s and 30s, as well as large Black and Hispanic populations. The city’s downtown and 10-mile waterfront present an opportunity to develop new amenities that reflect the city’s emerging populations, and design is a crucial tool for tackling these evolving needs.

The design competition asks: How can we reimagine our downtowns to make them more engaging and vibrant? How can cities collect information that informs future adaptation and growth?  How can we facilitate social interaction among diverse groups? How can the built environment improve residents’ physical health,  mental health, and social capital? 

Today we present the first post of the series, starting the narration of this exciting experience. This first chapter introduces the previous analysis and the general strategies that informed the design of the project areas.

continue reading

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Jose Luis Vallejo, keynote speaker at New Generation Festival in Rome

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+events+news

Next Tuesday September 26, Jose Luis Vallejo will be lecturing as keynote speaker in Rome on the occasion of the Fourth Edition of New Generation Festival.

More information about:
DAY 1 – Programme of Sunday 24 September 2017
DAY 2 – Programme of Monday 25 September 2017
DAY 3 – Programme of Tuesday 26 September 2017

Among other experts and architects that will take part to the event, there are: ENORME Studio (ES), Fosbury Architecture (IT), Luca Montuori (Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning at the Municipality of Rome, IT), Orizzontale (IT), Olga Polishuk (Chief Operating Officer of Strelka Institute, RU), SET Architects (IT), Jean-Benoît Vetillard (FR), U67 (DK), and WikiSpazioPubblico (IT). Moreover, the second day of the festival on Monday, September 25, will be closed by the keynote speech of Koert van Mensvoort (Next Nature, NL).

About New Generation Festival:
The 4th edition of the New Generations Festival – Architects VS Rest of the World – proposes an intense programme of discussions, workshops and cultural activities, involving numerous international guests, gathered to reflect on the profession of the architect from multidisciplinary points of view. After successful events in Milan (2013), Florence (2014) and Genoa (2015), Rome will host the fourth edition of the New Generations festival with the aim of creating a community of architects and experts from different disciplines, in order to redefine the role of architecture in contemporary society.

The relation between the new generations of architects and other disciplines is a broad field of discussion that will be addressed via three umbrella topics: (a) Urban Vocabulary & Public Space, (b) New Economies & Values, and (c) Digital Infrastructure & New Media. These 3 topics will be at the center of the debate during the Festival, inviting young architects, city makers, sociologists, economists, public & private institutions, startups, communication and digital media experts, web developers, programmers and many others professionals to discuss and exchange ideas. The discussion will see the participation of representatives from the wide network of the New Generations Platform, which counts more than 80 young practices and more than 500 international experts.

URBAN VOCABULARY & PUBLIC SPACE: cities are changing at a fast pace, is the profession and the way we face urban problems keeping up with this rapid developments? New Urban Vocabulary looks at the way architects are more and more becoming mediators in complex urban processes, proposing new ways of thinking not just in terms of urban planning methods, but ways of working with communities, re-activating and re-claiming public space.

NEW ECONOMIES & VALUES: how did the economic crisis of 2008 affect the profession? What do we mean when we talk about successful, sustainable and collaborative economic models in relation to the design field? Collaborative Economies proposes an investigation of the economic models behind successful, emerging and innovative architectural practices. The aim is to analyse the contemporary workscapes with a specific attention to economic sustainability, unveiling challenges and opportunities of the contemporary workfield.

DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES & NEW MEDIA: New Technologies and Digital Media are changing the way we work in an unprecedented way, but what is the impact of those changes on the architectural profession? Which new figures and experts need to be involved in this highly complex process? Digital infrastructures looks at how seamlessly integrated technological systems run in the background of our cities but have the power to fundamentally change both the approach to architecture and the way we experience spaces, creating a base for innovation.

See you in Rome!

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Kits para niños: involucrando a la ciudadanía más joven en el planeamiento participativo

Category: ⚐ ES+Centro Histórico Abierto+Cuenca Red+ecosistema urbano+educación+participación+Plan CHA+Plan Encarnación Más

prova-con-sfumature

Como probablemente hayáis notado, hace unos meses este post fue publicado en nuestro blog en inglés.  Con razón de la publicación de este articulo en la Carpeta Informativa de Abril del CENEAM, Centro Nacional de Educación Ambiental del Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, se ha recientemente traducido el texto al castellano. Por lo tanto, os dejamos a continuación esta lectura para hispanohablantes.

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ecosistema urbano busca arquitectos

Category: ⚐ ES+comunicación+convocatorias+ecosistema urbano+noticias

Ecosistema Urbano está buscando arquitectos para su incorporación en nuestro equipo de Madrid.
Buscamos dos perfiles, con competencias lingüísticas diferentes:
+ Un perfil inglés nativo/bilingüe
+ Un perfil con alemán profesional

Para ambos perfiles se requieren además los siguientes requisitos:
– Máximo nivel de conocimiento de programas de BIM y QGis
– Experiencia en el desarrollo de proyectos de ejecución
– Experiencia profesional internacional
– Disponibilidad para incorporación inmediata

Los interesados pueden enviar CV y portfolio antes del lunes 11 de septiembre a la dirección am@ecosistemaurbano.com a través de un enlace a Issuu o similar (sin archivos adjuntos, por favor).

¡Muchas gracias por difundir el post!

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Ecosistema Urbano is recognized as a 2017 Social Design Circle Honoree by the Curry Stone Design Prize

Category: ⚐ EN+design+ecosistema urbano+news+urban social design

We are honored to announce that Ecosistema Urbano has been recognized as a 2017 Social Design Circle Honoree by the Curry Stone Design Prize.

What is the Curry Stone Design Prize?

The Curry Stone Design Prize is awarded each year to honor innovative projects that use design to address pressing social justice issues. Supported by the Curry Stone Foundation, the Prize highlights and rewards projects that improve daily living conditions of people in communities around the world. The Prize acknowledges work that is considered emerging in the professional and public consciousness.

What is the Social Design Cirle?

This year, in honor of the 10th anniversary, the Curry Stone Design Prize assembled a group of 100 of the most compelling social design practitioners of the last decade, a project called The Social Design Circle. As the organizers of the prize refer: These are practices which have captivated and inspired us over the years, as we’ve built a global community of visionaries, activists and game changers. The Social Design Circle project gives answer to what are defined to be the 12 most urgent questions in social design practice. Each month a new topic is adressed through a new open question. Answers come from different practicioners among the 100 winners.  The questions up to date asked are:

Should designers be outlaws?   Is the right to housing real? Can design challenge inequality? Can design prevent disaster? Can we design community engagement?

Can design reclaim public space?

Ecosistema Urbano has been included in the category “Can design reclaim public space?” of the Circle, together with other colleagues and collectives as Asiye eTafuleniBasurama, Collectif Etc., EXYZT, Interboro,  Interbreeding Field, Studio Basar, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Y A + K and Raumlabor Berlin.

Here follows the report of the jury regarding our work:

We honor Ecosistema Urbano particularly for their progressive ideas on community participation. The group has worked to update the very notion of “community participation” through the development of online tools which encourage global participation on local projects. The group has developed several apps to collect community input throughout the design process. New technologies work to break down barriers which traditionally inhibited the full participation of community. Many of our ‘communities’ today are in fact digital, so the idea of community participation must be updated as well.

In a physical space, the group is best known for their green projects like Ecobulevar – a project of ‘air trees’ in the Madrid suburb of Vallecas. The project is intended to be temporary, but creates the same sort of community space that one would find in an old growth allée.

The air trees are made from repurposed industrial materials such as recycled plastic, greenhouse fabric, rubber tires. They contain rooting vegetation and atomizers that cool and moisten the air in the cylinder and around it (8oC to 10oC cooler than the rest of the street in summer). The cylinders can be used for public gatherings, and solar panels provide electricity for lighting when needed (excess energy is sold back to the grid and helps fund the maintenance of the structures).

This and other sustainability projects like Ecopolis in Madrid speak to a shared sense of community responsibility and interaction.

Moreover, an interview we gave for the occasion together with our colleagues of Interboro constitute the episode 24 and 25 “Tools for urban action” of the Social Design Insight podcast. You can listen to episode 24 here, while the episode 25 will be shared on Thursday June 8 on Curry Stone Design Prize webpage.

Stay tuned!

 

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Ecosistema Urbano wins West Palm Beach Design Competition!

Category: ⚐ EN+⚐ ES+⚐ IT+architecture+city+competitions+design+ecosistema urbano+news+sustainability+urbanism+work in progress

We are very happy to announce that our project Open Shore is the winning proposal of Shore to Core, the international design competition to reimagine downtown West Palm Beach as a dynamic, resilient waterfront city! We are thrilled with the great reception that the project has had, and eager to continue its development side by side with the people and the institutions of West Palm Beach.

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Rain Plaza

Here we share the press release from Van Alen Institute:

Van Alen Institute and the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (WPB CRA) today announced Open Shore by Ecosistema Urbano as the winning proposal for the Shore to Core waterfront design competition. The Shore to Core competition invited international designers, planners and architects to envision what the future of the West Palm Beach waterfront could look like over the next 20 to 30 years, taking factors including populations, economies and the environment into account. The winning proposal will serve as a “vision board” for the city’s future, providing a starting point and framework to help the city adapt and make the most of the waterfront.

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Rain Plaza

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Plan

Selected from a pool of over 40 international teams and two finalists, Ecosistema Urbano’s winning proposal envisions a healthier and more resilient downtown and waterfront for West Palm Beach—a keystone city in southern Florida with a growing population of people in their 20s and 30s, as well as large Black and Hispanic populations. The competition proposals imagine new amenities that reflect the city’s emerging populations, and Shore to Core’s organizers believe that design is a crucial tool for tackling these evolving needs. The initiative included public consultation, and this input played a role in the jury’s decision-making process.

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Strolling on the Waterfront

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Aerial View

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Flagler Drive and the Cloud Forest Habitat Plaza

Ecosistema Urbano’s winning design answers Shore to Core’s call for a comprehensive, forward-thinking urban plan to make West Palm Beach’s waterfront a year-round destination for locals and visitors alike. The proposal includes what could be the first public bioclimatic domes in the U.S. adorned with hanging gardens. These domes create climatically comfortable spaces 365 days a year, thereby supporting a more socially cohesive city.

The proposal also illustrates how the city’s Banyan Garage could be upcycled into a mixed-use building with both public- and private-sector roles featuring adaptive climates suitable for a range of activities, including a farmers market, coworking spaces, and skyline viewing platforms. Additional amenities include vibrant thematic alleyways—with such features as a rock climbing wall, interactive exhibition space, and immersive foliage—that harness the cultural values and experiences unique to West Palm Beach, while also providing shade and introducing new elevated programming spaces

 

 

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Level 4 Open Air Plaza at Banyan Hub

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Farmers Market day at Banyan’s ground floor

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Social green space at Banyan Hub overlooking the downtown

Ecosistema Urbano | Open Shore | Banyan Hub | Section

Ecosistema Urbano will present their proposal to the WPB CRA board in May 2017. The CRA board will identify priority projects within the Banyan Garage and downtown alleyways, and then contract with Ecosistema Urbano. This process will be followed by outreach to the community about the individual elements that are scheduled for possible implementation in late 2017 or early 2018.

“The Shore to Core competition and resulting proposals truly offered insights into how we can plan a strong and vibrant future for our city,” said Jeri Muoio, Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach. “Ecosistema Urbano’s design was applauded by all as enhancing the waterfront and creating new, iconic experiences that incorporate our natural resources, cultural spaces, and inclusive urban atmospheres.”

“Ecosistema Urbano’s proposal addresses social cohesion in a compelling way by integrating locally responsive systems with a welcoming public space that will further diversify the city,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute. “We’re thrilled that West Palm Beach is looking to the future and rethinking how to create a downtown that is uniquely theirs— a downtown that enhances the wellbeing of residents and visitors alike.

The runner-up design finalist, Perkins + Will, created a proposal focusing on community-building with a continuous waterfront park, extended Great Lawn, and the Banyan Garage revitalized as a multi-use civic space. Van Alen has synthesized the work of the finalist teams into a key findings document, “A Shore Thing: Key Findings from the Shore to Core Competition,” that summarizes the shared insights from all three proposals.

The Shore to Core competition has parallel research and design tracks: The aim of this structure is to understand how waterfront cities like West Palm Beach can become healthier, and to create design strategies that will make them more responsive to rising sea levels. The winning research team, Happier by Design, focused on how specific types of public spaces may increase the wellbeing of people who use them, and conducted a pilot study analyzing the health benefits of more complex and engaging urban landscapes.

By testing environmental psychology principals with tactical urban interventions, Happier by Design found that public space designs that boost feelings of fascination foster wellbeing. The research team also recommended that designers focus individuals’ attention on nature and create spaces that are both comfortable and interactive, including such features as movable seating and adjustable lookouts that frame the landscape. The team’s recommendations affirm the dynamic and engaging designs proposed by Ecosistema Urbano. The combination of innovative research and original design in Shore to Core reflects Van Alen’s mission to use research and design to inform the planning of new civic spaces.

 

To read the final reports, see:

Key Findings | Van Alen Institute
Open Shore | Ecosistema Urbano (Design Winner)


Happier by Design | Happy City, University of Virginia, StreetPlans and Space Syntax (Research Winner)
Adapt to Thrive | Perkins + Will (Design Finalist)

 

Competition Jury:

Raphael Clemente, Executive Director, Downtown West Palm Beach
Colin Ellard, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, Department of Psychology
Patrick Franklin, President and CEO, Urban League of Palm Beach County
David van der Leer (Jury Chair), Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
Jeri Muoio, Mayor, City of West Palm Beach
Penni Redford, Sustainability Manager, City of West Palm Beach
Manuel Clavel Rojo, Clavel Arquitectos (substitute for Terry Riley, K/R Architects)
Jon Ward, Executive Director, West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
Lilly Weinberg, Director of Community Foundations, Knight Foundation
Claire Weisz, Founding Principal, WXY Studio
Nancy Wells, Professor, Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Design and Environmental Analysis Department

Ecosistema Urbano Team:

A multidisciplinary Madrid and Boston-based team comprised of principals Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo; Marco Rizzetto, Carlos León, Antonella Marlene Milano, Luisa Zancada, Jorge Toledo, Marta Muñoz, Pablo Santacana, Lola Pouchin, Maria Vittoria Tesei, Andrea Bertrán, Ana Patricia Maté, Lucía De Retes Cascales, Cristina Rodríguez, Elizabeth Kelleher, Lorena Tselemegkou, Luana Scarpel, Silvia Sangriso, Daniela Menendez, Julia Casado, Constantino Hurtado, Andrés Walliser.

 

To view high-resolution images for this project, including work by the winning team, click here

To view animated images of Ecosistema Urbano’s proposal, have a look here

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Laboratorios de innovación ciudadana: reseña de las jornadas CityFollowers #1

Category: ⚐ ES+ciudad+colaboraciones+colaboradores+ecosistema urbano+educación+espacio público+laboratorios urbanos+networkedurbanism+participación+Uncategorized+urban social design+urbanismo

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho,  director de la UCJC; presenta las jornadas

El pasado 24 de enero del 2017 moderamos la primera jornada del ciclo  “City Followers Talks”, que tuvo lugar en la Escuela de Arquitectura y Tecnología de la UCJC (Universidad Camilo José Cela), en el campus de Almagro. Esta fue la primera de una serie de cuatro jornadas que buscan acercarse a los procesos de transformación urbana desde la innovación y la gestión, y que fueron presentadas por Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho, director de la escuela.

La temática elegida para esta primera jornada fue la de los “laboratorios urbanos” como espacios de innovación y gestión urbana.  Invitamos a colaborar a los protagonistas de diferentes experiencias que se acercan de una u otra forma al concepto de “lab”.

Proyectos que tienen en común la innovación y co-gestión en el desarrollo del espacio urbano: Medialab-Prado Madrid (Marcos Díaz) y Experimenta Distrito (Lorena Ruiz), varios proyectos de [VIC] vivero de iniciativas ciudadanas (Mauro Gil-Fournier), la Civic Factory Fest Valencia (Civic Wise), el LCDMX – Laboratorio para la ciudad de México (Gabriella Gómez-Mont), el Open Urban Lab de Zaragoza (Ana Jiménez) y City Kitchen de Zuroark (Aurora Adalid).

Durante el debate surgieron temas como la necesidad de llevar los laboratorios ciudadanos a los distritos, que comentó Lorena Ruiz. Desde Experimenta Distrito planteó su preocupación por la necesidad de imaginar otros formas de vinculación a las instituciones o cómo recuperar oficios perdidos como la figura del pregonero.

Marcos García visibilizó la esencia de Medialab-Prado como un espacio donde conviven “[…] personas diferentes en proyectos comunes, diferentes saberes en un mismo prototipo”. Algo que conecta con la visión de la ciudad como un espacio colaborativo donde actúan agentes diversos, que nos transmitió Ana Jiménez desde el Open Urban Lab Zaragoza.

Para VIC la ciudad está llena de iniciativas con las que conectar, como su trabajo en Open Lab en el TEC de Monterrey, México, una de las universidades que están tratando de incorporar la idea de laboratorio. Mauro Gil-Fournier nos habló además de uno de sus últimos proyectos, Marinalab en el Parque de La Marina en San Sebastián de los Reyes.

Aurora Adalid de Zuloark nos dejó con un buen sabor de boca con el proyecto City Kitchen, que gira entorno a las búsqueda de nuevas metologías colectivas “aplicables y replicables por las diferentes iniciativas ciudadanas”. Una forma de crear espacios de innovación desde la sociedad civil.

El debate fue retransmitido en vivo vía Twitter a través del hashtag #cityfollowers, donde podéis encontrar algunas de las aportaciones de los asistentes. Para los que no pudisteis participar o seguirlo en directo, aquí os dejamos el vídeo de la sesión:

Vídeo de la primera jornada #cityfollowers

Si no queréis ver todo el vídeo, podéis pasar directamente a las presentaciones de MedialabExperimenta Distrito, VIC, La Mesa, Open Urban Lab, Factoría Cívica y LCDMX. Y el punto en el que comenzó el debate.

También podéis consultar esta charla (desde otro punto de vista) y otras realizadas en la UCJC a través del canal CityFollowers en Periscope, y revisar esta otra reseña de las jornadas realizada por Francisco Camino.

Compartiendo opiniones durante el debate

¡Os esperamos en las próximas jornadas!

#2 Patrimonio: co-gestión y revitalización – 28 de marzo

#3 Movilidad: acceder, conectar y compartir – 30 de mayo

#4 Tecnología: smart… ¿qué? – 27 de junio