Right to accessibility

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Vol 62, No 7 (2020)

Adequacy of religious heritage buildings. A strategy for improving accessibility in the Historic Center of Puebla Mexico

Adriana Hernández Sánchez, Christian Enrique De la Torre Sánchez


In Mexico, there are few successful examples of improving accessibility conditions in historic centers. The relationship between daily activities, the recognition of human diversity and the conservation of heritage has not been conceptualized. It has not been understood that accessibility is a human right, above the aesthetics and prioritization of the monument, since there are old buildings that retain their original uses and daily affluence such as Catholic temples, which are also considered cultural sites and containers of heritage, art (movable property) and social practices with tourist attraction.
In Puebla, there is the experience of a participatory and inclusive accessibility project where five heritage buildings were involved. They are historical temples that form an itinerary due to their proximity and importance in the original area of the ancient city. In the first section, there is Santa Monica, considered a sanctuary that receives thousands of faithful every week, the former convent of Santo Domingo, where the Rosario chapel is located, and the city’s Cathedral Basilica, connected by the pedestrian street more important of the city, “La 5 de mayo”. Towards the south, completing the route, San Juan de Letrán, “El Hospitalito” and La Soledad are located, with the Amparo Museum near of them. All temples are ancient, dating from the 16th to 19th centuries.
During 2015 and 2016, through joint work between local authorities, universities and civil associations, in addition to the financial support of a local municipal entity and another international entity from the Chilean government, various elements were put in place to improve accessibility, like metalic ramps reversibles, and there were intervened pavements in atriums and accesses. Even in 2020, it is a project of territorial scope for the benefit of all, not only for people with reduced mobility, which allows autonomous and easy-to-use travel, even for those people who need to be assisted by another person, since the percentages of slopes on the ramps range between six and ten percent.
The methodology developed to the work was through the incorporation of an interdisciplinary team, Re Genera Espacio, which promoted the importance of reconverting these heritage buildings into accessible spaces, an action promoted before the custodians of the five temples, as well as establishing a diagnostic analysis of each case and develop the project, in addition to supervising the work in order to realize with local and international regulations and recommendations.
The project was well received by the custodians, after a long process of work, as well as by the rest of the population, which is reflected in a considerable increase in people with disabilities who come to the temples, whether they are parishioners or tourists, and other people with reduced mobility who make use of open spaces, such as atriums and streets. We emphasize that more interventions are required in other spaces considered less important. This is a first step towards more accessible cities, in this case a historic area, which requires urgent interventions to create accessibility networks. This work gave guidelines to other projects that have been developed by the team, not only with motor disabilities, but also with people with blindness and visual weakness.


Accessibility; historical centers; heritage; mobility; accessible route.

To access to manage the symbolic dimension. A citizen right

Antoni Remesar, Javier Vergel Faro


To give meaning to urban space is one of the most relevant activities to allow its conversion into public space, in turning sites into places. For this, it is essential to expand the concept of “accessibility” to the level of “symbolic accessibility” and understand it as one of the new urban rights.

The article develops the concepts of “symbolism a priori” and “symbolism a posteriori” as intervention strategies of meaning of the public space. The first responds to the usual operations from the administration, the second to the popular processes of appropriation of space.

Analysing the experience of creative participation – today in progress – in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Bon Pastor, the article raises the possibility of creating a meeting place between the two types of symbolism, through processes of co-production of public space, specifically its co-design.


Public Space; Public art; Co-design; Citizen participation; Bon Pastor; Barcelona

Public Art in Āb-o-Ātash Park, Tehran

A new issue of On the w@terfornt, Vol 62, No 6 (2020)

Exploring Design, Site and Subject Matter vis-à-vis Public Art Engagement: Case Study of Āb-o-Ātash Park in Tehran

Negar Zojaji


This article is the result of an exploratory research on public art in Āb-o-Ātash park in Tehran. It investigates the way the three elements of design, site, and subject matter affect audience engagement with public

The research has been conducted through qualitative methods, namely unobtrusive observations and surveys. Artworks have been identified based on specifications extracted from discourse analysis of the concepts of publicness and authorship in public arts.
Thereafter, characteristics of the visual samples have been processed through cluster analysis with respect to design, site, and subject matter in order to be compared, and related to the results of observations of audience engagement.

The results propose a correlation between subject matters of the artworks and audience engagement in Āb-o-Ātash park.


Tehran; Āb-o-Ātash; Design; Site; Subject matter; public engagement

Art in the streets

The busker seen by citizens: attitudes towards music street music in Spain (spanish)

Alicia Martínez Gil


In this article, we will examine the results of a brief study of citizens’ attitudes, while developing the degree of exchange and satisfaction that exists of street music in Spain.

The continuous regulations and the new use of urban spaces have added value street music as artistic and cultural category. The public, in addition to establishing the criteria surrounding this musical practice, exposes the problems of social coexistence that this activity generates.

Keywords Public Space; Street Art; Urban sociology; street music

Public Art in Urban Regeneration. Piotrkowska street. Pride of a city: Łódź

Piotrkowska street is the centre of Łodz. A continuous axis of more than 4 km that runs through the territory from north to south. A long shopping street divided into two clearly differentiated sections. The first from Wolności Square to Centrum Piotrkowska (approx. 2km and cross section between 16 and 24m). The second from Centrum Piotrkowska to Niepodległości square (approx 2.2 Km and cross section between 25
and 30m). From the very beginning, the street was the central axis around which the city was developing, and its development spontaneously gave the present shape to its centre.

In the second section of the street, trams circulate and, despite having some important heritage facilities such as the “White Factory”, the former headquarters of the Karol Scheibler industries and today the
headquarters of the Central Textile Museum, it does not have the recognition that the first stretch.

The first section of the street is the one that appears in all tourist guides, is the commercial and cultural heart of the city, a favourite meeting place for Łódź residents and tourists. Here festivals, concerts, sporting
events, parties and fairs take place.

Piotrkowska street still is flagship of the urban regeneration processes in Łódź, along with Manufaktura, and the mega urban regeneration project Nowe Centrum, with the city’s new central station, the EC1 cultural
complex, and the expansion of the University of Łódź campus. Territory in which the Expo 2022 was to be developed, which will finally be held in Buenos Aires. Piotrkowska’s urban regeneration process clearly incorporates a public art strategy. The particularity of this strategy lies in its contents, specifically those who propose, manifest or emphasize the “pride of the city”.


Piotrkowska street; Lodz; Urban Regeneration; Public Art; Public Space

AEC4 new schedule of activities

Dear Colleagues,

together with our partners: Univeristat de Barcelona and the Urban Forms Foundation, we have decided to postpone the AEC4 conference until spring 2021. Thus we meet the expectations of our conference participants.

We have no guarantee that the situation with Covid 19 will have become stable by autumn and we would like to preserve the specificity of the conference drawing from the experience of the city. We hope that it will be possible to organize a live conference next year.

We invite you to participate in the AEC4 Conference on April 9-11, 2021. Please check the new schedule of our activities http://aecity.uni.lodz.pl/schedule/

Centenary of the neighborhood EL PRADO (BARRANQUILLA)

BARRIO EL PRADO a Living Museum for the City of Barranquilla.

Samuel Esteban Padilla-Llano, María V. Machado-Penso, Emilio Reyes-Schade, Paola M. Larios-Giraldo, Irina Cabrera-Sánchez, Emerson Martínez-Palacios, Daniel González-Forero, Juan Tapias-Martínez

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2020.62.6.3


Barranquilla, a city located in an intertropical geographical latitude on the left bank of the Magdalena’s River mouth, is constituted as a conglomerate of pieces due to its urbanization processes. Processes that began an accelerated urban development during the first decades of the 20th century, without an Urban Plan for the management of its vast territory. In the absence of this, bourgeois neighborhoods are drawn up to allocate European Immigrants by the time that other informal neighborhoods appear spontaneously to allocate local and regional immigrants.
Among the bourgeois neighborhoods, El Prado neighborhood stands out, developed according to the urbanistic principles of the Modern Movement, following the Garden City model, it constitutes the main urban landmark of the city in the 20th century.

That is how El Prado is planned with a continuous urban layout and built in each of its properties, houses, and buildings of architectural styles like those built in the north American and British cities. Among these buildings, which are now patrimonial, stands out: the construction of fifty-four isolated houses for the Barranquilla elite, the El Prado Hotel and the opening of the Country Club.
The passing of time has generated functional transformations in the El Prado neighborhood that have modified its symbols and imaginaries. However, the declaration as an Asset of National Cultural Interest, through Resolution 0087 on February 2, 2005, has prevented the structural modification of its architectural heritage pieces, front gardens, courtyards, and most of the plant species, as well as the urban layout.

Nowadays there are a confluence of integrated and complementary manifestations that can be lived in the neighborhood and are conjugated with cultural activities developed in the urban space, activities that are linked with cultural and artistic scenarios which by the passing of the time have been set up in the neighborhood. This confluence has generated a synergy between the Garden City model, the typical daily residential life of the Caribbean that inhabits part of the architectural heritage, the culture hosted in heritage buildings and the wide open public spaces, reaffirming the living as a condition to be considered from the heritage understanding as a matter of future. An understanding that, also puts in value the human manifestations that are less recognized, since with it, the territory acquires other potentials. This is how the initiative of the Museo Vivo El Prado promotes this value as a process of urban regeneration.

The potential value of the living, structured under the concept of Museum, through the process of urban regeneration, includes the El Prado neighborhood as a territory of key opportunities in cultural management and innovation, through the startup of other economic models that exclude the possibility of gentrification. That is how this research is immersed to an in-depth study of urban regeneration, the understanding of the image of the city as a piece of art and the research on the significance of museums in different instances. Concretizing this way, the conception of the Living Museum as the meaning of urban space that firstly, does not take its collection out of context, but in opposition, is generated around itself, taking advantage of the dynamic, symbiotic, socially balanced spatial and cultural systems in which democratic and spontaneous dynamics that develop, grounds and support an economic, natural and cultural equilibrated system. It is not a matter of creating an untouchable inert environment, but to allowing actions and relationships between visitors and inhabitants that enhance those dynamics.
This is how The Museo Vivo El Prado, proposed as a cultural and creative innovation district, will not only generate impact and economic retribution, but it will also make possible the transformation of collective imaginaries, founding their identities and consolidating their image. That will be favored by its initial urban planning energized by the ways of living that happens in this heritage environment, letting it being recognized as its “own brand”, from the territorial marketing, in terms of recognition and promotion within the city, by the incentive of the ‘Orange economy’ that is one of the Colombian National Government goals

In this way, the Museo Vivo El Prado is projected from the understanding of the heritage as a matter of future, standing apart from the traditional concept of a museum, this is, as a static, inert and inanimate concept that takes out the collection of its context and uses the buildings as a supports for other artwork. In Opposition the Museo vivo El Prado places the concept of the museum in the dimension of urban management and regeneration combined with creative economy processes, to be handed over to a democratic, public, open-air space. That is how the urban space is the museum itself, its limits are the territory on which the heritage is administratively placed and the sky as its upper border.


Antoni Remesar

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2020.62.6.4


This article aims to study the public art of the El Prado neighbourhood in Barranquilla. For this, the general urban context of the city is analysed, including samples of public art from other urban areas of this city.

The article is structured as an “exercise in style” that puts into dialogue “feeling” and “knowing”. A feeling derived from the experience on the territory obtained in three trips to this city, which is complemented by the analytical knowledge derived from the study of the different issues raised. That is why, from the point of view of reading, a differentiation has been made in typography and its colour. The Calibri light font in black describes the sensations of a gadabout, a Spanish term close to the Baudelairdian flâneur but without its elite charge, immersed in territory. The Courier typography in garnet, contrasts the information obtained sensory with the used analysis documentation.

When public art sucks, an insult to citizenship and I’m not talking about graffiti, I’m talking about Madrid under COVID19

A. Remesar

The COVID19 pandemic has left thousands dead, hundreds of thousands of infected people, a health system on the brink of collapse; the discovery that an important part of the fundamental services are those that have little social consideration and less salary and have had Spaniards confined for 10 weeks – just now the confinement measures begin to flex.

While a supportive citizenship applauds essential services every night at 8 p.m., and organizes solidarity networks to alleviate the “hunger queues” and the devastating effects the pandemic has and will have on popular classes, fleeing the war language used by the political class that has not yet understood that YES the virus understands borders, those of social class. Citizens have clearly understood that this is not a war, that this is not about heroes.

In this context two monuments have just been unveiled in Madrid. One responsibility of the Madrid City Council devoted to those who died during the pandemic – as if the pandemic had ended. The other monument is the sculpture “Heroes of COVID19”. 

(c) El Mundo

The City of Madrid monument is a cauldron designed by architect Carlos Rubio Carbajal, located on an island at the beginning of Calle Alcalá towards Sol square. The cauldron is a circular piece of black steel almost two meters in diameter, like a large plate, placed on a prism also of steel. At the foot of the prism a commemorative plaque. As a scenic background of the monument the Fountain of Cibeles and the Palacio de las Comunicaciones – it was the headquarters of the Spanish post office-, an example of the “Monterrey” style of the beginning of the twentieth century and today the seat of the Region of Madrid.

It is precisely in this palace that the regional president inaugurated on May 20th the unfortunate monument “Heroes of COVID19” by the sculptor Victor Ochoa. Formally the work is a real waste, mixture of bronze and resins. Bronze that looks like a cow manure, translucent resin that being kind we would identify with the cinematic “Casper”, but which is rather a bad Orphic representation of the classical moiras or parcas.

It is precisely in this palace that the regional president unveiled on May 20th the unfortunate monument “Heroes of COVID19” by the sculptor Victor Ochoa. Victor Ochoa acknowledges that this work had been in his studio for several years and, how cheaply demiurge, intends to convince us that this work was a premonition. As social networks point out, foreboding nothing, it’s a “botch-up”, a “shit”, an insult to the consciences of good people.

Commercial opportunism of a sculptor – sculpture is not a commission, it is a donation from the sculptor – which was formed in my Faculty, the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona. What a shame.

Very timely, the networks note that the work seems more “an allegory on management of the crisis by  Diaz Ayuso ” the regional president who, with the arrogance that characterizes her, threatens the public by saying that this will not be the only tribute that the victims of the coronavirus will have in the region and announced a contest of ideas in which architects will be able to participate , sculptors and entities from the world of culture and architecture to build a memorial in memory “to the victims and heroes who have fought against Covid-19.

We repeat, it’s not about war, it’s not about heroes. It is logical that the symbolic thought of the reactionary right and the far right cannot comprehend it and use the empty rhetoric of the homeland and heroism and the expression of an outdated figuration.

Supportive citizenship doesn’t deserve this. Supportive citizenship does not deserve pain and suffering to be used at the present dramatic moment as a political tool of the most despicable populism.

For the reader who understands Spanish I would recommend following the video of the aesthetic teacher Félix Duque “Several Apostilles: a monument to the “heroes” of the covid that is scary” in this direction https://youtu.be/VGoRK98gyfA

Bon Pastor (Barcelona) New public spaces in phase V of remodeling

At the end of 2019 at a meeting between the Association of Neighbors, the Pla de Barris and the CR POLIS of the University of Barcelona, it was agreed that the students of the Master in Urban Design of the UB, in the context of the subject Theory of Art Public, they would develop a job of assessing possibilities about the use program derived from the participatory processes realized in the neighborhood.
Continue reading Bon Pastor (Barcelona) New public spaces in phase V of remodeling

Urban Images, the 4rth Aestehtic Energy of the City International Conference


Time has come to systematize knowledge about the role of images in the city. We believe that thinking about the city in the category of images – both ‘natural’ landscapes and visual screens – is highly desirable. Cities have always been filled with smaller or bigger forms of fundamentally traditional art (posters, wall decorations), as well as street art (more or less radical interventions). Some viewpoints, from which one can admire the city panorama, are top tourist attractions (instead of the most interesting places). Unfortunately, cities are often presented through a reduced number of images that are not very fortunate for them… We want to examine the mutual relations between the city and its images: those created for the city and those consolidating the city identity. Continue reading Urban Images, the 4rth Aestehtic Energy of the City International Conference