Redrawing equity through the public space, integrating of art and landscape quality

Exhibition: Network | June 12, 2012 by

In Caracas, more than 80% of the population lives in areas of informal origin and employment, which we call “Barrios”. These “Barrios” are sectors where informality is the norm, lacking basic services, implemented in abrupt topography makes it difficult to connect to the rest of the city and intervened in a way that enhances the risk before natural events. The “Barrio” itself is a different way of making a city where the references of public and private space are converted, transformed in pursuit of their own needs, the large scale of the formal urbanism become outdated and forms of analysis and study lack effectiveness.

Because of the lack of roads, public stairs become the street, and is considered as the great public space in the “Barrios”, not only has the function of mobility and connection but represent a new way to occupy this space. The way of occupation and citizen outreach in the “Barrios” generates a significant social links with community ties that can establish standards of living and performing little known in what theorists call the formal city, as well as the participation of community members rather than a requirement is a necessity, because of this depends that any action of any kind could be accepted and appropriated for future users.

Caracas has five municipalities, one of them is Sucre municipality and concentrated around 2000 “Barrios”, including the José Félix Ribas, the largest “Barrio” in Latin America, with a population of  120,000 inhabitants in  96 hectares. The municipality population density is 3.87 h/ m2, with an 57% of children and adolescent . Petare ranks as the most densely populated parish of Municipio Sucre with 10 inhabitants per m2, placing second Parish La Dolorita with 5.88 people per m2, the location for pilot project of our theoretical strategies that we have raised, as physical evidence and built design of our premises.

Beyond the present overcrowded condition, there is an urban problem associated with the  public spaces devoid of quality in popular areas such as formal areas of the city. Caracas has 1.14 per m2 of green space, been  10 m2 minimum approved by ONU-Habitat. In Sucre municipality, numbers reflect 1.67 m2 of green space, considering a population of 33,072 children and adolescents for each park, which reflects a high deficit of public spaces.

La Dolorita parish, is practically nil and void, with a tragic rate of 0.01 m2 per inhabitant. It is at this point when we ask; will this 90% just have to enjoy the public spaces of the 10% cities? Or is feasible to redesign a public spaces system in this informal city? Can we give to the 90% the benefits that have the 10% in the formal city?

When there is a need for shelter, the inhabitants of the “Barrios” are not conceivable planning of public spaces, they are solving the urgent. Then is necessary to understand these phenomena to develop a feasible solution within a complex society in which we cannot ignore reality, redrawing accurate and rapid vision of public space conformed by stairs, residual spaces and edges, producing a proposal that encourages to create change in “Barrios”.

Because is not feasible to repair house per house, the most viable solution is through interventions of public space, so the resources are reallocated to equity and justice. Bringing change in a single house benefits just a family, while expanding the impact of the intervention to a larger group of people, benefits more.

As elements of design strategies were defined, according to guidelines of sustainability analysis, assessing the physical, economic, environmental and social concept development deployments..

Under the ideal of feasibility and sustainability, the space was generated  on the conservation of resources; the problem of water scarcity on a daily basis becomes a key element in the landscape, the minimum use of trees we rely on the colorful murals .The line furniture design and standardization of materials depending on the feasibility of maintaining . Agreements were signed between the municipality and communities’ members; they were to become responsible for them care and maintenance. The presence of art through murals, made by students, artists or by the community.

Based on the complexity of the immense needs of slum dwellers, lack of organization and plans of governments, and the immeasurable capacity of universities to bring knowledge, it generates a line of thought from the university, where teachers along with students made their line of work, directed toward developing an plan for Community Service experience, together with Oficina de Programas Especiales of Municipio Sucre, collaborate in setting up a network of public spaces as pieces that as group  favored the formation of the city with integration of the informal sectors in the urban system, highlighting the involvement of the community, not only as a facilitator but as an element that provides information, expertise and knowledge in these projects.


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