Emerging practices in public space projects: the case of via Argentina in Panama City

By José Antonio De Gracia DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2021.63.6.01

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Abstract

This article uses an urban intervention in Panama City to discuss fundamental concepts in public space projects from a critical and theoretical perspective.


First, the functions of the street as a basic structure of public space are illustrated. Its importance is recognized not only as an element of urban connectivity, but also as a place of movement, encounter, support and creation of urban meanings and social identities.


Secondly, our case study is contextualized: the urban renewal of via Argentina, a street in the urban center whose environment was in a state of degradation like most streets in the city, largely occupied by the presence of vehicles. The intervention is part of a series of urban projects aimed at improving the physical structure of the city.
The third section begins a critical analysis of the actions on Via Argentina, starting with the redistribution of street space, the relationship between vehicles and pedestrians, and the consolidation of public space.


Next, we discuss in detail the new primary elements used for the urbanization of the street. Curbs, fords, pavement, rigola, gutters, tree surrounds and bollards become part of a system that must maintain a coherent relationship between all its parts. In addition, emphasis is placed on the design of the ground and the application of the pavement as a tool for the construction of an urban image and identity.
Finally, the article ends with an analysis of the parameters of accessibility in the project, relating the concept to the use of the pavement and the configuration in some sections of the street as a single platform. The article uses a wide repertoire of documentary photography to contextualize the case study.

Keywords

Urban design; Public space; Pavement; Universal accessibility; Single platform; Via Argentina; Panama City.

Integrated Urban-Social Programs (PIUS) and Casa Analco (FABUAP). Two projects in the periphery and the centre of the city in search of citizen participation

Adriana Hernández Sánchez DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2021.63.5.01

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Abstract

This work exemplifies a search for participation for the promotion of urban-architectural projects both in the center and in the periphery of a Mexican city such as Puebla, where twenty years ago few activities were developed in which the main actors were the inhabitants. Fortunately, in recent years it has been possible to carry out specific actions where participation is a key part of having a less technical vision on the part of architects, urban planners and heritage conservators.


The first project is the Integral Urban Social Program in which, through a municipal action, an attempt was made to implement a participatory process in sectors considered to be of extreme poverty where municipal government programs tried to impact the areas called PIUS. An important part was the Participatory Design process that mobilized the main universities of the city through young architecture students to carry out a series of projects where the condition was to have contact with the communities.


In the case of the Casa Analco project, a university initiative in the historic centre of the city in a very traditional neighbourhood (16th century) with problems of deterioration, abandonment and insecurity, with which the university-neighbourhood link is currently promoted and in where space has been the pretext to promote university participation in the rehabilitation of a building, but at the same time in a rapprochement with the neighbourhood.


Through these two cases it is confirmed that it is possible to make participation possible through a process that must be adapted to each place, these experiences leave a series of reflections in different areas, from which a basic process can be broken down to encourage it through organization, promotion, awareness of the work team, knowledge of the place, time, evaluation, management and adaptability.

Keywords

Puebla; México; participation; centre; periphery; process; management.