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

Cover Page

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

Cover Image

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.

From Densely Filled Vistas to Empty Piazzas. City Images Interpreting the Oscillating Dynamisms of Urban Reality

By -Zoltán Somhegyi DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2021.63.4.01


Cover Page

Abstract

Cities have been inspirational for the creators of visual art works long since, first as mere secondary, additional motifs to indicate the “urban” environment of the main scene, then as subject-matters in their own right. Those images could depict both imaginary and actual cities of the past and of the future, including mythological and Biblical locations, documenting distant lands and fantasizing on the appearance of utopian cities. In some of these aspects, the history of city representations shares significant similarities with the history of landscape depictions. 


In the present paper, however, I aim to focus on a curious and particular detail in this pictorial tradition. Following and further investigating a brief reflection by Michel Makarius from his 2004 book on Ruins, I would like to compare the visuality and aesthetic effects of dense and empty cityscapes, of which two classical examples could be the capriccios – imaginary views of cities completely filled with aesthetically pleasing elements, including magnificent remnants of the Antique heritage – and representations of cities in which their emptiness is highlighted to such extent that the observer tends to assume that the real subject-matter of the image is not the city, its buildings, forms and physical components but exactly its being “empty”. 


These “extremities” on the broad range of cityscapes, i.e., the densely-filled and the extremely depopulated are, however, not merely historical sub-genres of long-gone centuries. These typologies have survived to this day, in various versions and with diverse accents; what’s more, they seem to be more relevant than ever in understanding not only the nature of these artistic representations and their aesthetic references, but also in learning more of our contemporary reality itself. It is enough to think of the numerous ways in which artists approach the convoluted issues and challenges of urban life today, with the classical references and visual vocabulary in mind, either unconsciously creating occasional parallels or using them as explicit forerunners to their own works. The density of the global megapolises are represented in artistically novel ways often with socially critical overtones, while the images of empty cities – not long ago, for example, during the recent pandemics and lockdowns – are again resulting in aesthetically inspiring and insightful works incentivizing us to reflect on the oscillating dynamisms of our present urban realities. Therefore, it is particularly beneficial to observe such renderings of our cities and hence to raise more our awareness of the multiple global issues that are often very strongly manifested in the everyday life in large metropolises. Pieces of art thematising the extreme forms of city life can become very efficient ways of constantly reminding us of our duties of taking care of both our cities and our life.

Keywords

representations of cities; dense cityscapes; empty cities; aesthetics of urbanity

Citizens-based Assessment of a Renovation Facilitating Policy in Urban Deteriorated Areas: An Ordinal Logistic Regression Model

By Saeed Najd Ataei Sarkarabad, Elahe Rezaei, Kyoumars Habibi

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2021.63.2.01


Cover Image

Abstract

This study tested which latent factors exist that could significantly impact the citizens-based performance assessment of the Neighborhood Renovation Service Office (NRSO) which is a renovation facilitating policy. Two hundred residents of Urban Deteriorated Areas (UDAs) in
Fallah & Yaftabad neighborhoods, were interviewed by questionnaires. To analyze the outcomes of the questionnaires, first, an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) for identifying underlying factors for assessment of the mentioned policy and subsequently Ordinal Logistic Regression
(OLR) for modeling the factors concerning performance assessment were employed.


The residents who had more familiarity with the plans and policies evaluated the renovation office performance more positively. Also if NRSOs want to be assessed as more effective in their intervention they need to empower their interacting community’s socioeconomic factor.
The OLR model showed that the sense of place is another significant underlying factor in this regard. However, residency duration despite converging as a factor in EFA did not show any significant impact based on the OLR model.

Keywords

citizens-based assessment; renovation facilitating policy; Neighborhood Renovation Service Office (NRSO); Urban Deteriorated Areas (UDAs); Ordinal Logistic Regression (OLR)

“Mataró Ideal City” by Jordi Henrich, wins the contest for Centre Development Strategic Plan

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”. Continue reading “Mataró Ideal City” by Jordi Henrich, wins the contest for Centre Development Strategic Plan

Public space: the use of vertical and air planes

Journal of a Gadabout (14) by Dr. A. Remesar

The public space is structured in four planes: that of the ground, the vertical (not exclusively of facade); the plane of the air and a fourth plane that can be called zenital. The most studied is the horizontal plane, built from infrastructures, elements of urban service (lighting, vegetation, signage, etc.) and interfacing with urban systems (water, electricity, gas, etc.), with the omnipresent elements of paving. (see)

The study of the vertical plane is reduced to the analysis of the facades, although the vertical containment of public space goes beyond the facades. (see)

Continue reading Public space: the use of vertical and air planes

Francoist symbols in Barcelona

Journal of a Gadabout (13) by Dr. A. Remesar

In Decembre 2007 it was approved the LAW 52/2007, of December 26, by which rights are recognized and extended and measures are established in favor of those who suffered persecution or violence during the civil war and the dictatorship. This Law is known as Law of Historical Memory. Continue reading Francoist symbols in Barcelona