For 80 years we have been working for the well-being of people in disadvantaged areas, but they have rarely been asked how they expect a suitable and valuable public space to be. With our project, we create public spaces that, apart from roads, pavements and quality access, promote safety, comfort, life and the local factor of each territory. We innovate in the way in which the inhabitants of a sector transform their environment, beyond the rootless perception of the "experts".
The public entities of the city that are in charge of improving the road accessibility conditions of the disadvantaged neighborhoods act under the studies and road designs of professionals with different technical approaches, who in turn are governed by the technical and specific regulations of the control entities and established construction processes. For years that has been the order of things, but it has fallen short - it is incomplete, because it lacks the vision and aspiration of the final beneficiary: whoever inhabits those spaces. By means of tools from social studies and design, and added to the experience and love of the professionals of the neighborhood improvement team of the Popular Housing fund, we have innovated the way of conceiving neighborhood public spaces for meeting, circulation, recreation, contemplation and formation.
We want those who inhabit and experience the territory to analyze it, imagine it and transform it incrementally; just as they have built their homes, their streets and their own lives. The population that benefits from these interventions are men, women, boys, girls and adolescents, older adults and the forms of animal and plant life that surround them. These communities have low purchasing power, sometimes disabilities, high vulnerability and few economic, educational, health and spatial opportunities. They are often people who have come to the big city in search of better opportunities and a more stable future. Who have built their homes, occupying peripheral spaces of the city, often close to risk areas and with precarious construction methods. Through the application of the entity's social management manual and co-design sessions with the inhabitants of all age groups in the neighborhood, this project is intended to find how local identity can inspire popular creativity and contributes to design proposals. Stories and conceptual narratives, drawings, models, photographic safaris and everything necessary for people to demonstrate the deficiencies in their streets are collected. Then, possible solutions and the collective imaginaries are developed to design urban alternatives: furniture, games, gardens, orchards, murals, gymnasiums, roofs, viewpoints and other pertinent ones.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
We have modified the scope and methodology of design, focusing on the active participation of people in the conception and effective transformation of the public space that surrounds them. In addition, we provide communities with creative, expressive, associative and practical tools, using concepts and methods from architecture, engineering, design, art, social work, playfulness and traditional crafts, which they can then use to solve the urban challenges of their context.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Thanks to this project, four Social Value Projects have been built in the Alto Fucha sector, on the eastern hills of Bogotá and along the Fucha River, which provide four neighborhoods with active and appropriate public spaces alive. In total more than 1000m2 have been co-designed in the context of this project.
This experience has been replicated in other 12 neighborhoods and it is expected that the initiative will be improved, adapted and applied in other regional and national institutions that have to do with the construction of public space in the country. It is not a radical innovation in the world or in the country, but rather an incremental innovation in our institution and in the sectors that we are involved in. We take reference from practices and methodologies such as tactical urbanism, urban acupuncture, placemaking, design thinking, social cartography and other tools that allow us to know the territory and co-create its improvement.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
- Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
- Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways
5 January 2023