Public Space’s Service System


Presentation of the Public Space’s Service System Project

Pedro Brandão (PI)
“Instituto Superior Técnico. Lisboa”


Recognizing public spaces’ importance, it is necessary to better evidence what it does serve for: its services or benefits, as a principle in evaluating the return of social value, of economic, political, emotional investments, how it is produced, how it is organized and how it is related to the actors.

Almost forty years ago, Kevin Lynch analyzed public spaces for their image qualities: vitality, identity, pleasantness, readability, diversity … Until today, methods do not vary much because of the frequent consideration for new “qualities” that ‘good public space’ is supposed to posess. In the end, Lynch was in fact criticizing his own construct:

The ‘perceptual qualities’ of ‘mental image’ can be opposing each other, or be illusory. So, how to evaluate them? Quality indicators, which only sometimes refer to the “public”, have to accept that there are many types of “publics”, and that space “value” is more than the sum of spatial diverse “qualities” (diverse interests, will find in public space different value). Thus, the evaluation must interpret space, clarifying the multiplicity and variability of services provided by it and demonstrate the values that are involved and the system that organizes them.

We can thus look at public spaces as part of a system (like other urban systems, infra-structural  landscape…) and consider in their potential validation, systems’ physical or relational factors: production, organization, limits, context, connectivity, actors, values, services, representations.

This project’s fundamentals are:

• “Space construction” deals with urban public space systems and the practices of “right to the city” (H. Lefebvre), both on Hardware and Software.

• Interdisciplinary mode is the assuming of the subjectivities in the multi-dimensional rational, making cross-evaluations, of different realities (and their actors).

• The interaction process requires a common language to translate values and meanings of space, as a service of public benefit. To interpret the public space system we can’t isolate… nor eliminate variables, unless we integrate them… in the process.

Public space evaluation – concepts and tools

Ana Brandão
“Instituto Superior Técnico. Lisboa”


What is the evaluation perspective of PSSS? Of course, the premises that we start to build are at the base of the evaluation framework:

– a broad notion of value, integrating tangible, intangible and contextual aspects,

– evaluation as learning and interpretation – works, what fails and its dynamics,

– integrate the diversity of actors by accepting differences of opinion and value judgments.

Focus of evaluation shall be in basic questions, that can be simplified as “what is public space for”, including the benefits that public spaces provides, in response to a population needs including different actors, accepting differences of opinion and value judgments. The referential, in itself, includes concepts that define the method, integrating System, Service, Actors and Value.

Its contents occupy five areas of application objectives: 1. Urban context in which it is established, 2. Identification (type, limits, elements, organization…), 3. Interpretation, as analysis of problems, 4. Reflection on contradictions, difficulties, potentiality/conflict 5. Possibilities definition/strategy.

The expected results with the proposal of a “toolbox” for this project, aims to clarify problems in public space, identifying deficits and opportunities, with the proposal of alternatives in process and in solutions from space service, to facilitate communication between different types of actors, by integrating them in evaluation.

The experiences of using these concepts and tools (in the Metropolitan Areas of Lisbon and Porto, in Barcelona (Bom Pastor) and in Antofagasta (Chile) in different urban contexts, types of spaces and actors, are exemplified and discussed in the following presentation

Antofagasta, a context of local and global public space

Sofia Águas
“Universidade Lusófona”


Antofagasta has become in recent years in the city with the highest population (361,873) in northern Chile. It concentrates large part of economic activity, is the second region with more foreign investment and the first in exports. There’s a huge difference, between poverty measured by salaries (4%), and multidimensional poverty (health + education + work + housing) that affects more than 20% of the population. The divergence between economic growth and social development, compared to cities with the same GDP per capita (e.g. Barcelona), will explain part of the motives for urban image, translated in public space.

The urban area of Antofagasta, a narrow strip between the sea and the ‘cordillera’, with 27km in the north/south direction and an approximate length of 2.5km, is an urban landscape developed between the aridity of the driest desert in the world and the seafront condition affected by the train line route that crosses and divides it. Regarding sub-structuration, pollution of the air and waters, the management of urban waters and residues, the open-air rubbish, the scarce service of collective mobility and the abandoned dogs abounds…

An economy of mining monoproduction originates an immigrant labor force, a floating population that seeks the city for its salaries, not identifying with the place it inhabits and not taking care of it as its own. Different urban realities, such as the ‘camps’ in the upper part of the city, in front of the sea and historical center and margins of the city made of deteriorated and hostile fabrics, without any physical and symbolic continuity in their public spaces.

If we question Urban Planning Tools and their role in Public Space management, it is true that the city has a variety of public spaces, from the streets and squares, although the desert still exists, parks and gardens try to domesticate the aridity of the region or the waterfront walk lanes with hard floors and exuberant colors… From 1998 the city is an object of several urban studies aiming for the renovation of its historic center and waterfront, which have allowed changes on the city face and the coastal edge improved population accessibility to the sea, decontamination of coastal areas, building of incorporated cycling paths, artificial beaches and remodeling of Municipal Spa, as well as constructing footpaths in the historic center refurbishment of the Paseos, Plazas and other foundational meeting spaces. At the port area, the first private project, a Mall and its large ‘plaza’ emerged.

Today a set of urban plans is in force – the “Communal Regulatory Plan” of 2002 altered and updated by other plans, of 2004 / 2005. Plans that motivate interventions in city’s public spaces so as to dynamize and valorize the territory, attracting public and activities. They are generally obsolete plans even before their implementation, due to their formulation time and the rigid structure they propose to deal with problems of urban design and public space. But in this first urban renewal phase in Antofagasta with spaces damaged and abandoned due to lack of maintenance, the need for economic spaces sustainability is now foreseen, giving rise now to a second regeneration (2013-2022) that recognizes the lack of a “Master Plan Study and Management Plan for Public Spaces and Green Areas”.

It is in this general picture that we can reflect on PSSS relevant evaluation concepts, their adaptation to realities, which in some aspects are different from what is now mainstream in the culture of public space evaluation.

Danae Esparza and Selene Camargo, awarded with the Extraordinary Doctoral Award of the University of Barcelona

In the incomparable setting  of the central main hall of the University of Barcelona, the Extraordinary Doctoral Prizes were awarded (04/19/2018). These prizes are awarded the best doctoral thesis of each of the current doctoral programs at the University. Continue reading Danae Esparza and Selene Camargo, awarded with the Extraordinary Doctoral Award of the University of Barcelona

On the w@terfront: 2 more issues in RACO

Núm. 60/3 Bon Pastor. Civic remembrance (I)

water60_04_01-1.jpgThe spatial memory system in the neighborhood of Bon Pastor (Barcelona). Study of the White Center

Antoni Remesar, Bibiana Crespo



Following the development in 2011 of the Mural of Remembrance in Baró de Viver (Barcelona) the adjacent district of Bon Pastor, showed interest on having a symbolic and artistic element of similar characteristics. However, from the beginning, Bon Pastor neighbours expressed the idea that writing their remembrance should not be displayed on a linear support, but should be distributed by the territory. The research group of the Polis Research Centre started a participatory process (not completed nowadays) within the framework of cooperation agreements between the Centre, the Neighbourhood Association and the local authorities of the Sant Andreu district. At the same time, the theme of this “memory system and space” became a topic to be developed by one of the interdisciplinary and international teams of students of the Master Degree in Urban Design: Art, City , Society of the Universitat de Barcelona. This article presents the progress carried out.

Continue reading On the w@terfront: 2 more issues in RACO

On the w@terfront: 2 news issues

vol 60 nr. 2 . Urban cohesion Improving connectivity between Baró de Viver and Bon Pastor (II)


Industrial estate: enhancing urban cohesion with sustainable criteria

André Luis Berri, Typhanie Cosmao, Miguel García, Paula Pinilla


Contemplating the territory as a network of social relations that transcends geographical boundaries and / or administrative, can approach conceptual schemes that complicate the territory, especially when it is perceived through participant observation and various secondary sources such as primary, the need to connect neighborhoods to achieve a closer territory, compact and sustainable land use planning, in which the polygon is bound no longer as a physical and social border, but as joint bridge between Bon Pastor and Baró de Viver.

Therefore, the industrial area of Barrio Bon Pastor and its strategic location, is a pretext to bring Baró de Viver and Bon Pastor closer. Closer involves knowing both physical barriers and social and hence make urban socio interventions that would mitigate levels of spatial partner and project into a scenario that make visible their practices and implications for the productive and commercial sector for the city segregation, as that tends accessibility and therefore connectivity between Baró de Viver as Bon Pastor and these while the rest of the city.
An intervention in the public space of the industrial estate involves binging and converge both residential dynamic and productive that allows viable processes of urban regeneration, with the premise of urban cohesion, can encourage the scheme of inverted mobility, where the priority is pedestrian, bicycle lane followed, public transport and therefore the private motor transport. In addition to this initiative to prioritize non-motorized mobility, it aims to link through practical design and actions that promotes energy efficiency, as the introduction of arboreal individuals and other local plant elements contribute their textures, smells, colors not only reconfigure the space, but serve to filter the environment, friendlier landscape change and comfort, but additionally granted the estate developments around sustainability.
These urban changes shall aim to maintain the productive and industrial structure as one of the objectives of the Municipal Action Plans, but improving its public space to facilitate urban connectivity and therefore the social and urban cohesion between the two neighborhoods assuming the transition of the industrial estate as a space that commitment to environmental efficiency.

Industrial Estate. “sewing the territory”
Flavia Andolfi, Norka Gouro, María Celeste Pereira, Ma. Fernanda Rojas

This paper explains the process of urban improvement of the Industrial Estate located in Bon Pastor, a neighborhood that is located in the District of Sant Andreu, next to Baró de Viver. To better understand what is the current situation at the urban level we have to go back in time to the year 2004, when for the first time interventions of urban regeneration begin under the Law of Neighborhoods, a law that seeks to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants from Barcelona. These interventions are programmed through comprehensive intervention plans that respond to the local and specific needs of each neighborhood. Due to this, many conflictive areas of Barcelona have been improved, and what is proposed in this dossier, is the urban improvement proposal of the Bon Pastor Industrial Estate, particularly isolated from the territory that surrounds it.
The current situation reflects the need to implement a series of measures to improve the public space; analyzing the problems that define which are the opportunities and potentialities of the territory, for example, how the width of facades of the industries and also of the roads would allow remarkable interventions.
The objective of the project is to “sew the territory”, physically connecting it with the network of public spaces of the adjacent neighborhoods through an integral improvement of the horizontal and vertical planes of the Industrial Estate. Another key point of the proposal is accessibility, taking into account that Design For All has contributed to make Barcelona a city accessible to all, good practices are also taken into account for its application in the area.
The proposed changes are intended to maintain the productive and industrial structure of the polygon by boosting its urban connectivity and transforming it into a bridge between neighborhoods, which aims to renew it with criteria of environmental sustainability where citizen participation is fundamental.

Vol 60, nr 3 . Urban Cohesion. Besòs River Walk

water60_03_00011.jpgPaseo de Ribera. A connection space (2016)

Robinson Balcazar, José Manuel Nieto Aravena, Orlando Sánchez Armería


Baro de Viver and Bon Pastor are two of the seven neighborhoods that make up the San Andrés district of the city of Barcelona. These neighborhoods are the result of the evolution of a series of urban processes that have as their beginning the migratory waves to Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century, with the achievement of the problem of social housing at the beginning of the same century and the construction of social housing estates commonly called “cheap houses”.
These settlements were built in 1929 by the architect Xavier Turull, and located in the peripheral areas of the city in isolation without any connection to services and equipment.
Over time, these neighborhoods have experienced a series of processes that have intensified their peripheral and marginal status in the rest of the city. At present, the residential areas of Baró de Viver and Bon Pastor are immersed in areas whose use is predominantly industrial, contributing to the deterioration of the public space and the neighborhood. Added to this, there are a number of projects such as the Ronda Litoral and the road junction of La Trinidad, which increase their condition of segregation and isolation.
Within the framework of the urban design project management workshop, the aim is to address these problems, elaborating proposals for public space, which contribute to improving the condition of the same, and which favor connectivity between the neighborhoods and the city.

Paseo de Ribera. A belvedere for the city

Carla Díaz, José Antonio De Gracia, Thyago Dantas, Laura Cedrés


This paper describes the design process of the public space of the Ribera del Besòs Riverwalk, in the stretch between Barò de Viver and Bon Pastor neighborhoods in the Sant Andreu district. The antecedents of the neighborhoods are exposed, their current situation, the problems detected, the development of the project, the final result obtained supported with plans, sections and views.
From the very beginning a very clear space of rupture is detected in the territory: the existence of the Litoral round interrupts the continuity of the urban fabric with the margin of the Besòs river. This produces a certain segregation of neighborhoods with respect to the rest of the city, due to the fragmentation of the urban fabric that forms barriers in certain sectors and prevents fluid access to the riverbank.
Taking this as one of the main points to improve, we propose a public space design project based on a walkway where three spaces are distinguished:
INTEGRATION SPACE. It is intended to give an answer to the rupture in relation to the city-river relationship, covering the Ronda del Litoral through the creation of a walk that is both visually and spatially related to the river and that allows the union between both margins as well as along the river.
SPACE OF CONTINUITY. A linear, directed and dynamic turn is proposed, which accompanies the flow of the river and connects the existing public spaces. In this way a link of spaces that form a readable urban structure is created and perceived through pedestrian mobility, spatiality and landscape

MULTIPROGRAMATIC SPACE. It seeks to achieve an environment where you can walk, observe nature, go by bicycle and practice various recreational, urban and residential activities