Ending 2017 the Mataro`s City Council launched a contest in order to draw a strategic plan for the centre of the city.
“The aim of the Ideas Contest is to design a strategy and a model that includes economy, urban development, architecture, mobility and economic, cultural and social development in its actions to allow the city centre to be put forward as a motor of cultural activity, of trade and tourism within a single discourse that revalues its legacy of history and heritage.
The selected proposal will become the strategic instrument to develop the Mataró Centre Development Strategic Plan”.
Mataró is a medium size city 30 km north of Barcelona. The measures to be proposed must be aimed at making a city that is more attractive both for its residents and for visitors by improving the surroundings, generating poles of attraction, inviting the citizens to stroll and generating the conditions to enhance the city’s economic activity as a fundamental base for balanced urban networks.
The CENTRE: a place to LIVE. The residents must see a pleasant, comfortable and well-equipped area that can be enjoyed and where it is possible to rest. It must be easily accessible, with parking for residents and must have the proximity services that they might need, all created in a clean and safe environment with a public space to facilitate socialisation.
The CENTRE: a place to SEE. Its appeal has to be recovered; the citizens and visitors have to want to come. It is important to promote it and make it attractive, to express and enhance its historic and architectural heritage, its economic and cultural activity among other aspects. And it must be easily accessible either on public or private transport, by making both compatible and efficiently signposting the city. Its emblematic elements and singular spaces or surroundings must also be better identified, as well as the pedestrian routes around it.
The CENTRE: a place to USE. Economic activity is basic for a historic centre not to end up degenerated. Any city centre that is proud of itself must guarantee that those who want to earn their living there can do so. It is essential to take measures to encourage and promote trade and the services sector so they can act as true economic agents and reinforce its leadership. And the public space must accompany this, people must want to be there, to stroll and above all to come back; in fact the streets and squares must be used in all of their facets as an important asset of the historic centre.
The proposal “Mataró, ideal city”, by Jordi Henrich, defines Mataró as a city with identity, pedestrian, egalitarian and active, cultured and productive, with commerce of proximity and zero kilometer, open to the sea and its landscape. The planned actions are aimed at returning spaces to pedestrians and cyclists, recovering wide sidewalks, walks, squares and gardens; integrate heritage into public spaces; to draw new tree-lined roads to the Five Senses; and connect the Center with the seafront with a system of public spaces of quality and pedestrian priority.
In this way, it aims to achieve a more friendly, sustainable and clean landscape, without parked vehicles, where the trees gain a presence and want to stroll to enjoy the city and its identity. In order to achieve this pacification of the historic center and its surroundings, a new movement based on traffic restriction rings is proposed: a first ring in the old town that would be pedestrian only with an exclusive way to neighbors and services; and a second ring in the immediate surroundings of the historical center where the progressive conversion to streets with an inverted priority is proposed and the construction of new underground car parks in the round belt area.
Special emphasis is also placed on the urbanization of the N-II as a pacified boulevard. Regarding construction and economic activity, it introduces the concept of open / active islands as spaces for visual permeability, mixing of uses, underground car parks and points of promotion of economic activity; the construction of new markets and gastronomic spaces of proximity; as well as the innovative idea of active modular facades, which propose replacing walls with modular facades that incorporate small shops or offices so that public spaces have the maximum active and activated continuous facades.
Jordi Henrich, arch. is a colaborator of our Centre and teaches in the M.A. in Urban Design at the University of Barcelona