The following essay seeks to highlight the effects of the pandemic on the way we inhabit and build cities. We understand that before the outbreak of the social-health crisis of COVID-19, as in many places in Latin America, Panama was at a time when its urban, social and economic model had entered a phase of exhaustion and is now escalating at an even higher level. The pandemic has revealed the negative effects of urban sprawl, segregation of housing and disappearance of public space that now become an obstacle to controlling the spread of the virus.
“Operation Mercedes”: Monument to solidary citizenship
Jordi Henrich, Antoni Remesar
The COVID19 pandemic, which is wreaking havoc on global public health, has also meant the adequacy – temporary so far – of the work procedures in university education, both in what affects the teaching and in relation to to the activities to be developed by the students. The program of the Project Workshop subject of the Master in Urban Design at the University of Barcelona, planned to focus the project activities on what we can call “Operation Mercedes”, a private urban regeneration project in the Barcelona’s neighborhood of Bon Pastor, consisting of converting 90,000 m2 of the former Mercedes-Benz factory site into a residential and office complex. According to the General Metropolitan Plan (1976) in force in Barcelona, this site is classified as 22a, that is, “Industrial Zone” and since 2007, when Mercedes-Benz stops operating in this factory, it has been one of the few reindustrialization areas in Barcelona . Its sale to the investment group Conren-Tramway, at the end of 2018, once again resuscitates neighborhood fears about the use of these 9 Ha. Within the framework of the research project HAR2017-88672-R. and the collaboration agreements with the Bon Pastor’s neighborhood association, for a few years we have been introducing themes of public space in the territory, in the subject “Project Workshop” of the Master in Urban Design. Two goals. The first one to explore ideas for solving problems regarding public space with students -mainly foreigners-, operating the Workshop as a “Laboratory of Ideas” while this activities serve as non-curricular practices. Second objective: to contribute project ideas to the residents of Bon Pastor for the management and negotiation of the various actions to be carried out in the neighborhood. For this reason, the Workshop work for the 2019-2020 academic year was planned to explore the possibilities of public space in this new Urban Regenration operation. The works of the workshop are developed in multidisciplinary teams responding to the previous training of the students. When the confinement in Spain is decreed in March, we saw almost impossible the development of the planned activities in an online mode. That is why it was decided to vary the topic, focusing it on a Monument to Solidarity Citizenship -which will allow a more individualized approach to work-, but maintaining the territorial reference of the Mercedes-Benz site.
The COVID 19 pandemic, detected and officially notified on December 31, 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has left to date: 408,481 deaths and 7,174,925 infected distributed in 188 countries of the world, of which the most affected are : United States, United Kingdom, China, Spain, Italy and Brazil, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University (June 2020). In the short term, this pandemic has become the leading cause of death, surpassing malnutrition, homicides, cancer and other serious diseases. In this context, the majority of countries declared a state of health alert, being mandatory. During the months that the state of absolute isolation lasted, the old cinematographic technique called split screen (split screen), starred in an unexpected resurrection, becoming the vehicle that allowed us to communicate but also to create and consume culture. The split screen or “split screen” is undoubtedly one of the most prominent protagonists of the corona virus pandemic that humanity faced as of December 31, 2019, when the news of this was officially notified serious illness from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Almost as old as the cinema itself, the split screen became the tool that allowed us to feel the closeness of our families, work colleagues, fellow students and teachers. It allowed us to express our solidarity, support and company in moments as complicated as those we lived through during the long period of quarantine in hmost countries in the world.
The COVID19 crisis has redefined the way of life, production and work methodologies: however, during this period, the positive attitude of citizens has contributed significantly to overcoming the first part of the crisis, supporting the arduous work of farmers. , cleaners, transporters, bus and subway drivers, replenishers, supermarket cashiers, policemen, health workers, and health personnel, who have formed a first line of struggle to contain the virus and to this is added the discipline of the confined citizenry who have attacked their routines to show support for the courageous dedication of those who have allowed us to maintain everyday life in our lives. The development of activities in the period of the COVID19 crisis, has redefined the way of inhabiting spaces; Obviously, the adaptation to new circumstances is a challenge, since the idea of public and private is reconceptualized.
Monumento en positivo. No es ni a las víctimas, ni a los héroes. Es la conmemoración de un momento/acción específico, que reúne todo lo demás. El aplauso de las 20hrs es la instancia en que la ciudadanía se agradece y anima a sí misma • Las 20:00 serán el elemento central en la significación del monumento. Desde su concepción temporal o geométrica, la idea es conmemorar este acto ciudadano • Lo que hoy es evidente u obvio, en 20 años puede no serlo tanto Por otro lado, la abstracción conceptual exacerbada puede llevarnos a la perdida de legibilidad del monumento, característica fundamental del mismo (la conmemoración debe ser comprendida). El objetivo es lograr que el monumento pueda evocar, no solo un momento cronológico, sino un momento humano
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