Real-life experiences on the urban ground
Organized by: GCBA and METROPOLIS
Meeting point at 7:45 AM: NH City & Tower Hotel, Bolivar, 160
This experience had the aim of exploring various urban-transformation policies focussing on social inclusion and citizen participation. The Government of the City of Buenos Aires has determined to reduce the inequality that exists between the south and the north of the city, with the main objective of transforming the area through the Southern Zone Regeneration Programme. For this purpose, priority is given to activities such as: interventions to improve the living conditions of residents; increasing access to culture, mobility, and transport; strengthening security, health, and education.
Likewise, in order to achieve this transformation, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires has pursued the Integrated Urban Project which allows the public and private resources and efforts to be directed and co-ordinated towards a particular zone, tailoring the projects to the specific needs of that zone, in a way that involves community participation.
The following activities took place during the walkabout:
Tour of the tower and climb to the viewing gallery (at a height of 176 m), from where the main aspects of the Southern Zone Regeneration Programme were described in detail, along with the activities and the building works. From this high vantage point, it was possible to have a complete overview of the transformation of the area.
During this activity, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Head of the Council of Ministers; Daniel Chain, Minister of Urban Development; Marina Klemensiewicz, Housing and Inclusion Secretary, and Francisco Irarrazával, Deputy Secretary for Sports, explained the scope of the Integrated Urban Project for Comuna 8, which includes, for example, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which will boost the growth and human development of the people who live there.
Before climbing to the top of the tower, the participants were able to observe and interact with persons manning a number of stands:
- Inclusion and Development of Opportunities Nucleus (NIDO): this is a community team set up to promote social inclusion in the most vulnerable neighbourhoods though the development of their potential.
- Housing and Inclusion Secretariat (SECHI): seeks to promote urbanization and social inclusion in informal settlements, temporary housing units, and social housing blocks.
- Healthy Stations: these are places for the prevention of illness and the promotion of health, where nurses and nutritionists carry out basic checks with the aim of promoting healthy habits.
The guests were also able to observe and participate in some of the recreational activities that took place at the base of the City Tower. Out of these we may highlight those of an artistic nature (community painting) and sporting nature (basketball). This latter activity consisted in an exhibition of the 3x3 format, in which young people play in two teams with three players each. The demonstration was overseen by and received organizational support from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Soldati Housing Estate (CHS)
Located in the Comuna 8 neighbourhood, the second stop on the walkabout was the CHS, which covers 19 hectares and is composed of over 100 buildings (3,200 dwellings) with around 13,000 inhabitants. There it was possible to see the change that has been generated through the Social Housing Administration. Amongst the main transformations have been the water-proofing, rendering, and painting of the building blocks; the Metrobus station at Avenida Roca; the construction of the Social Centre, and the construction and refurbishment of squares, play areas, sports grounds and meeting and rest areas, which are inclusion portals of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, amongst others. During this stop, the guests were also able to view sporting activities (a football match) and musical activities (folk dancing).
Metropolitan Design Centre (CMD)
Visit and introduction to the policies which are developed there and a meeting with its direct beneficiaries. The CMD, which responds to the Creative Economy Department of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, was created in 2001, and its premise is to be a reference-point for design and innovation, promoting and strengthening the interface between the community of design professionals, businesses and institutions, and the system for the generation of value. This promotes creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit as pillars of the economic development of the city. This is of strategic importance to the city, which structures its efforts in this regard around the following key points:
- Promotion of the Creative Industries through Creative Districts: seeking to promote certain industries by prioritizing areas which have historically been relegated, mostly in the Southern Zone.
- Encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, in order to generate employment and reduce poverty through development based on innovation. For this purpose, there are policies such as the Training and Inclusion for Work (FIT) Programme, aimed at assisting people with employment difficulties by way of training and financial support. Work is carried out with non-governmental institutions in order to offer training in various trades, and entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged through subsidies for micro-ventures.
Those who attended were also able to enjoy a display put on in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, which showcased the work of the emerging designers, who likewise modelled with their creations. Furthermore, the audience was also able to watch the printing of the first 3D sustainable guitar in Latin America carried out at the CMD LAB. Also, they witnessed the dynamics of learning and work through some of the courses which were being held at that time. Lastly, the walkabout allowed them to view the exhibition space supplied to makers, manufacturers, hobbyists, artists, and artisans who are exploring new forms and new technologies.