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I N F O R M A L C O D E X A MULTI-SCALAR STRATEGY FOR THE INFORMAL BUENOS AIRES


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INFORMAL CODEX

A multi-scalar strategy for the informal Buenos Aires

Tesi di laurea Magistrale di:

Bianca Maria Teti matr. 797259 Relatore:

Prof. Michele Moreno

Politecnico di Milano a.a. 2014/2015 Scuola di Architettura e SocietĂ Corso di studio: Architettura 3


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CONTENTS Abstract .......................................................................................................................................................9 1

Territorial framework ...................................................................................................................13 1.1 Argentina ..................................................................................................................................23 1.1.1 1.1.2 1.1.3

1.2

Greater Buenos Aires ......................................................................................................41 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 1.2.5 1.2.6 1.2.7

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History ...................................................................................................................41 Urban Fabric ........................................................................................................49 Infrastructure ......................................................................................................51 Landscape .............................................................................................................55 The harbor question ..........................................................................................59 The south districts .............................................................................................63 Informal settlements .........................................................................................67

The journey ....................................................................................................................................73 2.1 Formal ....................................................................................................................................85 2.2 Informal ....................................................................................................................................89 2.2.1

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Geography..............................................................................................................23 Society ....................................................................................................................25 Informal settlements..........................................................................................29

Villa 31/31bis .......................................................................................................89

Inside Villa 31/31bis .......................................................................................................................97 3.1 Urban analysis ......................................................................................................................107 3.2 The informal code .............................................................................................................119 3.2.1 3.2.2

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Building typologies ............................................................................................121 Public space typologies ....................................................................................129

The informal society .......................................................................................................135

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The Project ....................................................................................................................................145 4.1 A methodologoy proposal ..........................................................................................163 4.1.1 4.1.2 4.1.3

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Transform .............................................................................................................171 Replace/Duplicate ..............................................................................................175 Maintain ................................................................................................................177

Urban strategy ......................................................................................................................181 4.2.1 4.2.2 4.2.3

Integrate .................................................................................................................181 Improve...................................................................................................................185 Connect..................................................................................................................187

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Manifesto

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Glossary

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Bibliography

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This work originates from the necessity of defining a set of tools useful for the urban and architectural planning in an informal context. Urban population is increasing constantly as well as slums extension. Since a significant part of this population lives in an informal context nowadays, it is not realistic nor possible to consider these settlements as anomalies of the urban fabric. The dichotomy between formal and informal turns out to be rather inconsistent considering the heterogeneity of the contemporary city, and it seems more a forcing of the urban literature than a tangible reality. Nevertheless, although a rigid taxonomy fits the complexity of the urban context badly, the classification of spontaneous contexts as irregular or illegal has often been an excuse to ignore and abandon such situations. The assumption of this work is the consideration of informal settlements as an integral part of a future metropolis and as a further element that a contemporary urban planning has to face. Hence the necessity of codifying these spontaneous contexts in order to recognize which tools are essential to their integration in a traditional city. The case study are the Villas Miseria of the city in Buenos Aires. The analysis process of these informal settlements, enriched by a direct experience and a visit of some villas, has been the starting point for the subsequent formulation of an planning method. Through the codification of the rules that govern the existence of an informal context, it has been possible to shape an urban strategy that works on different scales. The comprehension of the informal issue from an urban perspective is crucial and it is essential for the physical and social integration. The implementation of a metabolic process made it possible to develop a future setting for the city of Buenos Aires and an alternative to its chaotic growth. The project I’m going to illustrate is a scenario of integration between the formal and the informal city, with the intention of breaking up the rigid borders between these two categories and promoting a more democratic and sustainable urban evolution process.

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Questa ricerca nasce dall’urgenza di definire una serie di strumenti utili alla progettazione urbana e architettonica in un contesto informale. La popolazione urbana è in continuo aumento e con essa l’estensione degli slums. Dal momento che una parte significativa di questa popolazione vive oggi in un contesto informale, non è più realistico né possibile considerare questi insediamenti come anomalie del tessuto urbano. La stessa dicotomia tra formale e informale risulta piuttosto inconsistente alla luce dell’eterogeneità della città contemporanea, e pare più una forzatura della letteratura urbanistica che una realtà tangibile. D’altro canto, se è vero che le rigide classificazioni mal si adattano alla complessità del contesto urbano, è anche vero che il facile inquadramento delle realtà spontanee come irregolari o illegali troppo spesso fornisce un pretesto per il non-intervento e l’abbandono di tali situazioni. Il presupposto di questa tesi è la concezione degli insediamenti informali come parte integrante della metropoli del futuro e come ulteriore elemento con cui la progettazione urbana attuale deve confrontarsi. Da qui la necessità di codificare questi contesti spontanei, al fine di riconoscere gli strumenti essenziali alla loro integrazione nella città tradizionale. Il caso studio di riferimento sono le Villas Miseria della città di Buenos Aires. Il processo di analisi di questi insediamenti informali, culminato con l’esperienza diretta e la visita di alcune villas, è stato il punto di partenza che ha consentito la successiva elaborazione di un metodo progettuale. Tramite la codifica dei canoni che regolano l’esistenza del contesto informale, è stato possibile formulare una strategia progettuale a diverse scale di intervento. La necessità dell’inquadramento della questione informale a livello urbano è qui considerata un punto cruciale ed elemento imprescindibile dell’integrazione fisica e sociale. La messa in atto di un processo urbano metabolico ha consentito di sviluppare uno scenario futuro per la città di Buenos Aires e una possibile alternativa al suo caotico sviluppo. Il progetto qui proposto è una visione di integrazione tra città formale e informale, con l’intento di dissolvere i rigidi confini tra queste de categorie e favorire un processo di evoluzione urbana più democratico e sostenibile.

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TERRITORIAL FRAMEWORK

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River Plate waterfront in Costanera Norte Natural Reserve, Buenos Aires. Source:Author

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Houses of Boca districts, Buenos Aires. Source:Author

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Skyscrapers of Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Source:Author

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Faculty of Architecture, Buenos Aires. Source:Author

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1.1 ARGENTINA

Capital and largest city: Buenos Aires Official language: Spanish Bordering Countries: Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay Ethnic groups: 97% European, 3% Mestizo, Amerindian and Asian Government: Federal presidential constitutional republic Independence from Spain: 1810-1857 Area: 2 780 400 km2, 1,57% of water Population: 42 669 500 (2014 estimate) Gross domestic product: $563.138 billion, $13,271 per capita Currency: Peso Argentino ($, ARS) Time zone: UTC−3 Highest Point: Aconcagua 6,960 m Lowest Point: Laguna del Carbon -105 m

1.1.1 GEOGRAPHY The Argentine Republic (RepĂşblica Argentina) is a federal republic located in the Southern Cone in South America; it bounds to the north with Bolivia and Paraguay, to the northeast with Brazil, to the east with Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean, to the west with Chile and to the south with the Drake Passage. Argentina has an area of 2,780,400 km2, it is the eighth-largest country in the world and the second-largest in Latin America. Argentina is a federal constitutional republic; it is a federation of twentythree provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires. While provinces are divided into departments and municipalities, Buenos Aires Province is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided into a Federal District (the

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Faculty of Architecture in Buenos Aires, during elections (2014) Source: author

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“proper” city of Buenos Aires) and 24 communes. Argentina’s provinces are divided in 7 geographical zones regarding climate and terrain: his capital is situated in the region of Pampas, a massive and hugely fertile alluvial plain located in the center east. The maximum north–south distance is 3,694 km, while the maximum east– west one is 1,423 km. Argentina hosts one of the greatest ecosystem varieties in the world: fifteen continental zones, three oceanic zones, and the Antarctic region are all represented in its territory. This huge ecosystem variety has led to a biological diversity that is among the world’s largest. Argentina has also a wide climate diversity, ranging from tropical in the north to sub-polar far south. The north of the country. There are 30 national parks in Argentina; the parks cover a very varied set of terrains and biotopes.

1.1.2 SOCIETY Argentina has a population of 40,091,359 inhabitants (2010 census). Population density is of 15 people per square kilometer of land area, well below the world average of 50 persons. Life expectancy at birth is 77.14 years. As many other areas of new settlement and colonization, Argentina is a country of immigrants, a crisol de razas (melting pot), like Argentines usually say. Especially during the 18th and 19th centuries(1850–1955), Argentina experimented an huge immigration wave, with 6.6 million of incoming people, second only to the USA in the numbers of immigrants received. Therefore, most Argentines are descended from immigrants of this great immigration wave to Argentina, who came mostly from European countries especially from Italy and Spain; Argentines descend from multiple European ethnic groups with an Italian majority (55% of Argentines have Italian origins), followed by Spanish plurality. From the 1970s, immigration has mostly been coming from Latin-American countries such as Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. Many of these immigrants go to Argentina searching for a better future and they settle into the major cities often suffering the worse life-conditions; the Argentine 25


Drawing in the University of Buenos Aires: “those who want to study are more� Source: author

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government estimates that 750,000 inhabitants lack official documents. The official language is Spanish, spoken by almost all Argentines, but, due to the extensive Argentine geography, Spanish has strong variations among regions. The country is highly urbanized and the 92% of its population live in cities. About 3 million people live in the capital, Buenos Aires, which is surrounded by a conurbation, the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area, where there are approximately 10 million people ; with 13 million inhabitants, this is one of the largest urban areas in the world. The metropolitan areas of Córdoba and Rosario have around 1.3 million inhabitants each; Mendoza, San Miguel de Tucumán, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta and Santa Fe have at least half a million people each. The population is unequally distributed: about 60% live in the Pampas region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in Buenos Aires province. Today one of the most important sectors of Argentina’s economy is its industry and approximately one fourth of its workers are employed in manufacturing. Argentina’s major industries include: chemical and petrochemical, food production, leather and textiles. Energy production and mineral resources like lead, zinc, copper, tin, silver and uranium are also important to Argentina’s economy. Agricultural products include wheat, fruit, tea and livestock. Even if Argentina is very rich in resource, its wealth is not equally distributed. There are deep disparities in income and wealth in Argentina: in 2000, the wealthiest 10% of the population earned 36% of the country’s income, while the poorest 10% earned 1.5 percent of income. Moreover, a 36% of the population lives below the poverty line. Approximatively 8 million of people in the country work in the informal sector. In some areas of the country, the black market accounts for 60 percent of economic activity. The informal economic activities include personal service jobs (such as plumbers, electricians, domestic servants, etc) or small businesses, like unregulated shops and restaurants. According to Government estimations, there is a 11% of the population that cannot supply to basic food needs. In the rural areas, poverty rates are about 20 higher than in the urban ones. In the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area the poverty rate is 29,8%. A large portion of poor population is formed by women; they represent a large percentage of the low-skilled (and therefore lowpaid) population. Children also have higher rates of poverty than the national average. About 50 percent of children under the age of 14 live in poverty. 27


Graffiti in Villa Soldati, Buenos Aires Source: Author

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1.1.3 INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS

WHAT ARE VILLAS MISERIA Villas Miseria is the Argentine generic name for slum. The term was coined by Bernardo Verbitsky in his novel Villa Miseria tambiĂŠn es AmĂŠrica (Villa Miseria is also [a part of] the Americas, 1957). These shantytowns, grown up spontaneously, are constituted by small houses made of recovered materials, such as bricks, sheet tin, wood, basic concrete elements. They have been built from winding and narrow corridors; the streets are usually not paved and many internal passages connect different parts of the slum. Vehicles can barely have access to the villas, due to the irregularity of its fabric and to the narrowness of its streets, and even buses, ambulances or firetrucks are often unable to enter. Their morphology responds to the sum of individual inclinations, and not to an urban plan or project, unlike other urban land occupations that are planned and carried out at once (such as the so called settlements)[1]. Villas miseria are submitted to a continuous transformation process, which give them a flexible and variable connotation. Over time inhabitants improve their houses and expand them; new houses appear, others are destroyed; new families settle in, others are evicted. Villas have high population density, unlike other informal developments (like the settlements). They usually emerge in flooded or abandoned zones and, therefore, of low property value; however, there are some important exceptions, like Villa 31/31bis, an informal settlement situated in the very city center of Buenos Aires, on a very prized and valuable land. Throughout the consolidation of the city, some villas have acquired a more central location, while others have maintained their position in interstitial or marginalized areas, close to sources of contamination or flooding, out of reach of basic communications and facilities. They have little or no green areas or public spaces and private lots are virtually totally built, with no space left for courtyards or gardens. It often happens that 29


The Many Names of Informal Settlements Informal settlement” is a generic and technical term that tries to capture the many different features of those settlements that house many of the urban poor in developing countries. The name implies that the dominant feature of such settlements is their informality—the fact that they develop outside the existing legal and regulatory framework. They are sometimes called “unplanned” or “spontaneous” settlements, which is misleading, since many informal settlements are planned, albeit not in a conventional way, and are not at all spontaneous. There are two main types of informal settlements: squatter settlements and informal subdivisions. Typically, a squatter settlement is a chaotic, unplanned, “spontaneous” occupation; an informal subdivision is an informal commercial operation in which the entrepreneur—the informal sector land developer— provides a surveyed plot and proof of purchase, usually without any infrastructure or common space for public uses. Informal settlements have different names according to their countries. Here is a small selection from Latin America: Argentina—villas miserias Brazil—favelas or invasões (squatter settlements) and vilas (informal subdivisions) Chile—poblaciones callampas (squatter settlements) Colombia—barrios piratas (informal subdivisions) and invasions (squatter settlements) Costa Rica—precarios (squatter settlements) El Salvador—tugurios (squatter settlements) and colonias ilegales (informal subdivisions) Mexico—colonias populares (informal subdivisions) Paraguay—rancheríos pobres (squatter settlements) Peru—barriadas or pueblos jovenes (informal subdivisions) Venezuela—barrios de ranchos (squatter settlements). 30


the only large public space is the football field, guarded from intrusion and taken care of by neighbors. Villas infrastructure is first provided by the same neighbors, and conducted in a clandestine manner and only later it is subject of intervention by the state. Many facilities remain as originally provided by the residents, but some of them succeeded in receiving services from the privatized corporations during the ‘90s. Generally, the quality of service is hardly acceptable or bad. Currently, most of the residents are low-skilled workers (construction workers, shoemakers, tailors, maids, etc.) and they often have a direct relationship with the formal productive activities; other people are self-employed or they run little business in the same neighborhood. Some neighbors are urban recyclers (cartoneros). In past times, incoming families considered the villas as a temporary accommodation, and that is why these shantytowns rose as transitional habitats and still maintain an ephemeral appearance. However, since the ‘80s, these neighborhoods have been considered an alternative and relatively cheap place to live in the city, or the only possible way to obtain home ownership[2]. INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS IN ARGENTINA The most reliable data about informal settlements in Argentina come from reports made by TECHO, a non-profit organization present in Latin America & the Caribbean, which tries to overcome poverty in slums through the joint work of resident families with youth volunteers. A big survey between six provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA) was conducted by TECHO in 2013, since 60% of the population live in these areas; this report unveiled that in these seven areas there are 1.834 informal settlements where approximatively 532.800 families live. More than half (57%) of these settlements are located in Buenos Aires province, which hosts 40% of the Argentine population. Only in CABA, 73.300 families live in slums which are bigger and more densely populated. TECHO set three typologies of informal settlements with different features: villas, settlements and informal neighborhoods. They share the unauthorized occupation of the soil. Villas are characterized by an uneven urban grid, not divided into proper 31


Villa 31bis. Source: Author

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blocks; they neither have a formal access to basic services nor appropriate infrastructure, such as green areas, gathering spaces, streets, public facilities, bus stops and so on. The accesses are narrow and buildings tend to rise in height due to the scarcity of space. Their demographic density is very high and they are generally located in the nearby of production areas, railroads, waterfronts, etc. Settlements are neighborhoods whose urban fabric seeks to maintain the formal city grid and buildings are organized in plots and blocks. They still have no formal access to basic services, but they allocate bigger areas to greenery or public facilities. Population density is lower than in the villas. Informal Neighborhoods and Settlements are very similar in features; however, Informal Neighborhoods developed with government intervention in the form of allotting. Villas are mainly concentrated in bigger cities, and they tend to decrease in periphery in favor of Settlements. This is considered a positive tendency, since the process of regularization and improvement is easier and shorter in Settlements than in Villas, as they display a footprint of urban grid. In Argentina, 42% of the slums emerged during the last two decades, 24% of them during the last ten years; hence, the tendency of the slums to grow is evident. The different dimensions of the slums (from 10 to 1.500 families or more) have direct effects on their organization; the participation to social life is more direct in smaller slums, while in bigger ones it is mediated by delegates; bigger settlements count on a stronger presence of social organizations. Informal settlements often aggregate in conglomerates, including up to forty different neighborhoods. A family unit consists of parents and their children; in informal settlements more than one family units often share the same house: this is the case of young couples with children who decide to continue living with their parents or siblings with their own families who share the same dwelling. As families accumulate more money, they tend to invest in their homes by building more rooms and floors. A widespread tendency to expand the houses when a new family unit grows often leads to overcrowding which is one of the causes of inadequate hygiene, domestic violence and insufficient space for children development. 33


Costruction in Villa 31/31bis. Source: Author.

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The risk of overcrowding undoubtedly increases with the population growth. The population that settles in the villas generates pressure on the constructed spaces where there is virtually no urban land to fill. For this reason, inhabitants started to construct taller buildings, linked to the lack of rooms for rent. The constant increase of villas population led to a process of vertical growth. TECHO calculated that 15% of surveyed slums were removed during the year previous to the survey; eviction was carried out in half of the cases by the government, and in the other half by private landowners or neighbors. In addition, 26% of the surveyed families felt they were likely to be dislocated or evicted. Those who are evicted from villas have no choice but occupy any other place in the city. Eviction is part of the villas growth cycle: many citizens are forced to live in the villas because it is impossible for them to find a home on the formal market, and this is due to the lack of public housing projects of social interests and also to the nonexistence of State investments for the improvement of the neighborhoods. The lack of public services, such as water and electricity infrastructure, is one of the main problems of informal settlements. Most of the inhabitants would gladly pay for these services, and they demand them. Only the 26% of informal settlements in Argentina are provided with a proper electric system, while more than 60% of them have illegal power connections. There are also some slums completely without electricity. In the big cities, electricity companies only provide electricity within the limits of the informal settlements. In a big majority of the slums (65%) the sewage treatment consist in springs with no septic tanks, and only the 5% of the neighborhood are provided with public wastewater system. The 62% of the informal settlements are irregularly connected to the public water system. The main problems of these irregular connections are the water contamination, the low pressure, the insufficient availability of water during the summer and other problems connected with hygiene and dehydration. Moreover, the water dropping out the pipes often makes the dirty road muddy and constantly covered with filthy puddles. In the slums, the family depends on gas tanks for the heating and for cooking. Due to the insufficient gas provision during the winter, many families decide 35


Dump in Villa 31bis. Source: Author

“ In 2001, 927 million people lived in ‘slums’ or legally insecure housing identified by its poor condition. As a percentage, 15% of the world population lived in such housing. The legal status of housing affects the improvements that inhabitants are willing and able to make to their homes and neighborhood. If you might be moved on there is less incentive to improve a dwelling. Further, poorer people live in slums; poverty can reduce the ability to make home improvements. There are slums in almost all territories. South America is the region with the largest proportion of the population living in slums, at 26%, followed by North Africa, at 25%.” (Sasi Group and Mark Newman) 36


to resort to electric heating which provokes frequent overcharges on the informal electricity system followed by blackouts and at times even fire. More than an half of the settlements have no paved streets; therefore, during the storms, streets became inaccessible swamps and the flood risk increases. Public and private transports cannot transit across the settlement due to the dreadful conditions of the streets. Only a 30% of the Argentinean slums are provided with public garbage collection although the service is limited to few places in the settlements and it is irregular and inadequate. The lack of a regular collection makes the garbage dumps the major attraction from stray dogs which spread garbage in the streets. In those settlements unreached by garbage collection, neighbors apply alternative ways of garbage treatment, such as burnings which is very toxic for the inhabitants.

[1] The settlements or land invasions are collective occupations of vacant lots (mostly private), which were produced since the ‘80s in Buenos Aires suburbs. In these invasions, every family is assigned to a lot, there is enough space for streets, parks, health centers, schools, etc.; they form a neighborhood that responds to urban regulations but still is the result of an occupation carried out by the homeless. [2] Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011.

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formal city fabric of Buenos Aires

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Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires Source: NASA

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1.2 GREATER BUENOS AIRES

Population: 12.431.000 Description: Greater Buenos Aires Metropolitan area (city and 24 suburbs) Area: 3,680 sq km (1.420 sq mi) Percentage of national population: 34% Greater Buenos Aires (GBA) is the urban agglomeration which comprises the autonomous city of Buenos Aires and the adjacent 24 municipalities (partidos). The conurbation spreads south, west and north of Buenos Aires city and confines to the east with the River Plate. While the proper city of Buenos Aires (also called Federal District) contains less than one-fourth of the population of the metropolitan area (3.040.000 people), Greater Buenos Aires has a population of 12.801.365 citizens. The city is located at the northeastern edge of the lowlands known as the Pampas which is the agricultural heartland of Argentina. It is situated at the point where the Paraná River delta widens to become the Río de la Plata estuary. The city’s most prominent physical characteristics are the numerous small rivers that flow through its periphery. The center of the city lies on a bluff overlooking the Río de la Plata, and to the south flows a river, the Riachuelo which is the southern limit of the Federal District. The city is laid out on the floodplains of the rivers, virtually without significant elevations. 1.2.1 HISTORY Buenos Aires was founded twice: first by Pedro de Mendoza in 1532 and a secondly by Juan de Garay in 1580. The first settlement failed to prosper due to the hostility of natives population and the bad administration of resources. Like most of the Latin-American cities of Spanish foundation, Buenos Aires

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Plan of Buenos Aires, 1800 Source: fiu.edu

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was organized by an orthogonal grid with square blocks of 129 meter, divided by streets 10 meter wide. The first nucleus was build around Plaza de Mayo, the most ancient part of the city, and the grid was designed to expand endlessly. In front of Plaza de Mayo a fortress was built according to the urban principles of colonial cities. By 1778 it had a population of 24.205 inhabitants. The central blocks were assigned to important and wealthy families, surrounded by a belt of blocks allocated to churches and convents, while the peripheral blocks was dedicated to industrial and rural activities. The firs important evolution of the city took place in 1826, when some of the most important avenues were built: Corrientes, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Belgrano, Independencia. These radial axes paved the way to the city expansion, and marked the future of the urban form. Peripheral areas were consolidated and urbanized. The orthogonal grid was maintained, although its orientation started to vary according to the avenues. During the nineteenth century, many rural towns were founded in the countryside, and, although they didn’t belong to the city, their activities were closely connected to Buenos Aires. Thanks to its increasing economic power, Buenos Aires had become a modern city by 1860. Between 1855 and 1869 the population doubled and reached 187.000 inhabitants; due to the large number of immigrants the city received new impulse and grew exponentially. By the end of the century the industrial sector had become a key-factor of urban development. The biggest industries were situated in the south of the city, in Barracas and Avellaneda districts, due to the presence of the Riachuelo river and of good railways connections. The industrial characterization of the southern districts affected the environment and this was the reason why many wealthy families decided to move to northern districts. This trend increased between 1869 and 1871 due to two severe epidemics that affected the southern part of the city. The ancient city centre became the financial and commercial cluster. Different railways stations were built around the city centre: Retiro in the north, Miserere in the west, Constituciòn in the south connecting the central neighbourhoods with the peripheral ones. Between 1870 and 1880 Buenos Aires changed into a modern city: the central streets were completely paved, tramways started to circulate, hospitals and educational facilities were improved. The population growth and the 43


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diversification of the activities led to the consolidation of the suburbs; many people had to commute from the periphery to the city centre since the city remained monocentric. In 1880 Buenos Aires became an autonomous city. This led to a further improvement of urban services, such as electricity, water and sewer systems, institutional buildings and transportation hubs. In 1894 Puerto Madero was inaugurated, and many parks and leisure areas were established. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Buenos Aires had become one of the world’s greatest cities. In 1913 the underground became operative (first in Latin America). All the new transportation system developed radially, consolidating the current urban form. Its population increased massively between 1900 and 1950. Its location, with no physical obstacles and with a flat orography, was perfect for the unlimited urban growth. Transportation infrastructure investments have been a major driver of the spatial growth of GBA. First the city evolution was led by the expansion of the railway network which facilitated the access to the peripheral districts. Since 1905 cars had started to circulate into the city, and the streets were progressively adapting to the motorized circulation. In 1914 the population had overcome one million of inhabitants. The wealthy part of population continued to settle down in the northern districts, while the southern ones were inhabited by the working class. After 1930 the import-oriented economy experienced a deep crisis, and importations were substituted by local productions. Moreover, immigration had changed and European incomers had been replaced by internal immigrants seeking opportunities in the capital. Immigration from adjacent countries also increased. In 1946 the expansion of the industry reached its peak, with 400.000 workers employed. Industry expanded in peripheries, looking for wider areas. By 1970 Buenos Aires population had ceased to grow, while the suburbs continued to increase in inhabitants and only one third of the whole population lived in the central district. In the ‘70s the real estate market got rid of lower classes from the city center and its prices increased dramatically. In those years 45


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the low intervention of the government in urban planning and public activities in general led to an increasing gap between higher and lower classes as well as to the growth of poor areas in the city. The assignment of public services to private companies made the situation worse. After 1980, the construction and expansion of many of the highways connecting the conurbation with the city center, led to a decrease of city density and to the sprawl of the urban areas, by encouraging the use of private transportation. In those years poverty highly increased and informal settlements expanded continuously. Urban evolution of the Greater Buenos Aires area over the past 2 decades has been characterized by low population density, large territorial coverage, and an increasing gap between high and low income groups in the periphery. Development typologies have been mostly gated communities, slums and social housing projects that have failed to create urban cohesion. Between 1991 and 2001 people living in informal settlements doubled, and the society suffered a further polarization. Localized urban renewals (such as Puerto Madero) were insufficient to create the cohesion. In 2001 Buenos Aires population reached 12 million of inhabitants. Buenos Aires experienced an unusual spurt of spatial growth in the first decade of the 21st century. During the decade of 1990-2000 the extension of the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires grew less than 1%. However, during the following decade, the city grew faster, reaching a 39% in 2010; during this time population increased by an 11.8%[1]. The peripheral low-density is due to the construction of many residential gated communities during the last 50 years. Gated communities are characterized by low population densities and by the occupation of vast land disrupting the urban and environmental fabric. Gated communities are socially and spatially segregated from the urban fabric since the closed nature of their developments limits the access to non-residents; most of the residents of gated communities are high income people. Between 2000 and 2010, these gated communities have increased 39 km2. A large part of recent peripheral developments consists in informal settlements and social housing. Nowadays the central districts are experimenting a process of urban renewal. Neighborhoods as San Telmo, in the southern part of the city center, are under a process of renovation that often goes with gentrification. 47


View of Buenos Aires in 1860 Source: Wikimedia

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The spatial configuration of the city of Buenos Aires is the result of more than 400 years of development, and its expansion is deeply linked with the improvement of infrastructure. The outcome is the dynamic, complex and fragmented city of today. 1.2.2 URBAN FABRIC The urban fabric is the result of different stages of urbanization. The grid developed around the railroads which had originated from the spokelike morphology of the city. This configuration has always characterized the monocentric city of Buenos Aires. The prevalent typology of urban fabric is the square block which configures a weave of perpendicular and parallel roads; diagonal roads are a minority. The average size of a block is 474,2 sqm. The area of the very first urbanization (the city center and the northern and western areas) has a residential connotation and there the grid has a more regular pattern and the plots are smaller. The southern area is more industrial and presents bigger plots and blocks and an irregular urban grid. Infrastructure and parks are bigger and many are the housing complexes that do not follow the orthogonal structure of the city. The first urbanization established a pattern which have been adopted in all the later developments. The suitability of the chessboard for the endless expansion made this grid the perfect pattern for the rapid growth of the modern city. The orthogonal system ensured the morphological continuity between the old and the new one, the center and the periphery, the residential and the institutional. Moreover, the two-dimensionality and the abstract of the pattern seemed appropriate to cover the limitless flatlands of the Pampa. The city structure is a sort of transposition of the natural context in the urban morphology: like the Pampa, the infinite grid reproduces itself identically in all directions. The abstraction of the natural elements meant the supremacy of pure rationality over organicism. The grid was a cultural fact, and its unconditional perpetuation was the cause of lack of flexibility and pliability that we can see in the city of today. With different densities and orientation, the orthogonal grid is the greatest 49


First urbanization area: historical city grid of Buenos Aires. Source: Author

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common divisor between the city center and the suburbs. In some districts, mainly due to their industrial vocation, this rigid pattern crumbles. This is the case of the southern part of the city center, where almost all the central villas developed. Architecturally, the city can be divided into four residential styles. The most common is a structure that began as a single-family house along the street, with an interior patio or/and rows of small rooms. These houses are attached to one another to form an unbroken facade at the sidewalk. As population density increased in the early 20th century, this typology was broken up into smaller units and gave rise to a second style, a two or threestorey building , which was neither as wide nor as deep as its predecessor. The lots on which these houses were constructed defined the size of the first high-rise apartment buildings that now dominate the districts of Palermo, Recoleta, and Retiro. These high-rises were built one next to the other, and are widespread in the northern part of the city. The fourth residential style , which has become a significant aspect of the urban landscape since the 1960s, is the informal block that have come to constitute the type of housing in the metropolitan area for a significant percentage of population. The heterogeneity of these building typology are all forced to coexist within the homogeneity of the urban grid; this contradiction makes some districts appear schizophrenic and yet monotonous. 1.2.3 INFRASTRUCTURE The transportation system of the city of Buenos Aires not only serves its 3 million inhabitants, but also another 3 millions of people from the metropolitan area who enter the city every day to go to work. However, Buenos Aires’s suburbs lack the vibrancy and infrastructure of the city center. The public transport has a concentric configuration, primarily organized on the railways and on the underground. Nevertheless, the current public transport lacks coordination between districts, caused by the fragmentation of the administration. Most of the incoming workers arriving from the southern districts move across the city by train. Most professionals and other whitecollar workers commute to the city center by car or train from the northern 51


Infrastructures of Buenos Aires Source: Author

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zones. Blue-collar workers commute across town, from residential to industrial sections, generally by colectivos. The most popular means of transport in Buenos Aires and its surroundings is colectivo, or microbus, an Argentine invention, half the size of a typical city bus. Travellers hardly live more than one block away from the bus stop, and they often have an ample choice of buses. Despite this, the connection system is very slow as it stops continuously and it is often overcrowded; although it is a good way to move within the city center, it is rather inefficient on long distances. Bus lines are well distributed in the city center but they tend to be sparse and slower in the metropolitan areas. Avenida Rivadavia, the east-west axis of the city, has the greatest amount of bus lines in the city. The city is the terminus of every major railway in the country, with seven branches that connect the center to the suburbs. While the railroads reach almost every area of the conurbation, the underground (Subte) only circulates in the city center; hence the role of traffic junctions is very important. According to Marcelo Larraquy “The structure of the city is a prisoner of a rail system that is no longer consistent with the needs of the present.” This is because the railroads are obsolete and many of its branches have been abandoned in favor of the motorized infrastructure. The city counts six lines of Subte (underground). The busiest lines are the northern and the western ones. Buenos Aires has the oldest subway system in Latin America; its first line opened in 1913. The subway was designed to accommodate the city in the mid-20th century, but toward the end of the century it became inadequate to serve big metropolis fluxes. After the system was privatized in the early ‘90s, however, many stations have been refurbished and some lines repaired. The first new subway line, built after the 1940s, opened in 2007. Intermodal connections are crucial, since the majority of passengers have to take at least two different means of transport to get to their workplace. The principal function of these interchanges is to connect radial infrastructure with the concentric one. Buenos Aires’s highway system includes several expressways radiating from the city center to connect it with Avenida General Paz which circles most of the city, thus forming a spoke like pattern. Other main avenues connect Plaza de Mayo with outlying neighborhoods. 53


Green spaces of Buenos Aires Source: Author

“Buenos Aires is now entirely defined by lines of poverty and affluence, except where the state still preserves something public like a park or a cultural centre. Other ‘public’ spaces, like the new developments in Puerto Madero, are really restaurants and corporate-office clusters where noncorporate users find little hospitality or leisure facilities. The use of such space is consistently offered to the affluent; its public quality is quite nominal, because although there is no interdiction, there is no reason to go there either. […]” (Beatriz Sarlo, Cultural Landscapes. Buenos Aires from Integration to Fracture, 2008) 54


There are also electric suburban lines connecting the city to the towns of Tigre and Moreno. The international airport of Ezeiza, Don Torcuato airport, and El Palomar (a military airport), are located outside the city limits. They are connected to the city by expressways. Jorge Newbery Airport, the Buenos Aires city airport, lies within the Federal District and serves domestic airlines, as well as those that operate to and from neighboring countries. Buenos Aires has five port docks, all situated in Puerto Nuevo, in the northern part of the city center. It is a commercial and industrial harbor, specialized in the loading and unloading of containers. High-speed catamarans and passenger ferries go across the RĂ­o de la Plata linking Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo in Uruguay. 1.2.4 LANDSCAPE The distribution of public spaces in Buenos Aires is heterogeneous. There are two main typologies of green areas in Buenos Aires: the big urban park and the small public space. Urban park extension is bigger than the smaller ones, but they tend to develop in peripheral areas, therefore they are not accessible to all the population. They are mainly concentrated on the boundaries of the city, particularly the northern and the southern one. The smaller public spaces are more homogenous, but they are not abundant. In Buenos Aires only a 57% of inhabitants live less than 500 mts from a public space. From this point of view, Recoleta has the best proportion between population and public spaces. Another case is the Villas Miseria where the lack of public space is caused by to the tendency to occupy every free land in the site. The southern district suffers a higher degradation of public spaces; there is a close relation between low value of land and decay of public space. Moreover, even if the southern part of the city has a big urban park, poor families can hardly afford to go to parks and leisure centers. There is a clear deficiency in the extension and in the disposition of the green areas of Buenos Aires. There are three big green space systems in the federal city which apparently are not connected to each other. 55


Southern urban parks along Riachuelo’s waterfront, Buenos Aires. Source: Author

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The first one is located in the southern part of the city, limited by Riachuelo to the east and to the south, the Luis Delepian highway to the north and Villa Lugano to the west. This green system is composed by the Indoamerican Park, the City Park, the Roca Park sport complex, Lugano Lake, Regates Lake, the Jos茅 Jurado golf club, the Hermanos Galvez racetrack and others sport complexes. Many of these spaces are gated and accessible only with permission. It is a large extension of vegetation where different neighborhoods with distinct economic characters converge and which include various sport facilities used by different classes of population. The riverfront connects all the different green areas. The second green space system is located on the eastern edge of the city. It is a natural reserve called Reserva Ecol贸gica Costanera Sur and it borders with Puerto Madero to the west, the River Plate to the north and to the east, the Argentinian Naval Complex to the south; it is very close to the Boca district. It consists of 350 hectares; its soil is made of debris of buildings demolished during the construction of the 25 de Mayo highway which were amassed in the river and covered with vegetation. Many projects of new neighborhoods were proposed for this land but the crumbly nature of this recovered soil does not allow any construction. In 1986 it was declared a natural reserve; it hosts protected flora and fauna and it acts as counterpart for the southern industrial district which drains directly into the River Plate. There is no connection between the first and the second green space system, but the common presence of the water and the need to purify the polluted industrial districts make the creation of a green corridor between them beneficial. The third green space system is located in the north-western part of the city. It includes: the University Campus of Buenos Aires, Costanera Norte natural reserve, Antonio Vespucio Liberti monumental stadium, the River Plate sport complex, many football fields and tennis courts, golf courses, different sport complexes, the Palermo Argentinian racetrack, the German Riding Club, the Galileo Galilei planetarium, Tres de Febrero park, a zoological garden, a botanical garden, Holanda square, the Jorge Newbery International Airport. Close to this heterogeneous complex, there is a smaller green space system which includes Plaza Francia, Carlos Thays park and Plaza de las Naciones Unidas. It hosts the Faculty of Law and it borders to the north with the railroads of Retiro station. It separates the Retiro district from Villa 31/31bis. 57


Puerto Nuevo and Puerto Madero Source: author

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The more favorable proportion between built space and green areas characteristic of the northern districts is due to the socio-economical level of the population. The southern districts, after the migration of the wealthy families to the north caused by the epidemic, were populated by poorer families and the tendency was to occupy all the available space. Moreover, the spread of industry in those districts made apparently unnecessary the presence of public spaces. By linking this third system to Costanera Sur natural reserve the continuity of a green belt around the city center is ensured as well as it provides a larger amount of green areas and makes the river enjoyable for the population. 1.2.5 THE HARBOR QUESTION Buenos Aires’ port is divided in two sectors: Puerto Madero situated in the south, and Puerto Nuevo in the north. Puerto Madero, the oldest area, was built between 1887 and 1904, but, after decades of abandon and degradation was converted, in the nineties, in a residential area and now is one of the wealthiest neighborhood of the city. Puerto Nuevo was built between 1911 and 1935 and is still working mostly as an industrial harbor, with a small part dedicated to passenger ferries. Between 1909 and 1915 was also built the Retiro Railway Station, where arrived raw materials from all over the country to be exported through the harbor. The friction between the harbor and the city became evident after 1945, when the city started to grow unstoppably toward the harbor occupying al the areas that had been reserved for a future expansion of Puerto Nuevo. The urban growth led to the rise of big public infrastructure such as hospital and social facilities, which entailed an increase of the flow of people in the area. Since all the railway lines that came from the south of the country had to cross the streets in front of the station, the area became soon congested; the decline of the use of train due to the increased truck volumes changed the scheme of traffic without solving the problem of the transit. The congestion became wider every year, as the city grew toward the north the harbor and the railway station got narrowed by the city with no areas to expand in. In 1956 the Administración General de Puertos (AGP), the General Administration of Harbors, which owned all the harbor’s installation except 59


An ancient crane in Puerto Madero Source: Author

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the industrial harbors was founded. The AGP managed to concentrate all the loading and discharging operations in Buenos Aires, taking all the powers away from La Plata, Rosario y Bahìa Blanca. This decision increased the cost of distribution enormously, since goods had to arrive in Buenos Aires and then be transported to their destination. In 1972 the JICEFA (Junta de Investigaciones Científicas y Experimentaciones de las Fuerzas Armadas) developed a project for the general plan of Puerto Nuevo, that took into account the container, a new technology. This project was not apply, and that is why in 1980 the harbor was totally unprepared to deal with the huge amount of containers that landed the city; they were discharged anywhere, with no cranes able to move them and all the port operations were chaotic and inadecuate. In 1980 new powers were conceded to privates, so the loading and discharging operation became wider and the traffic congestion around Puerto Madero decreased. This led the municipality to consider the opportunity to convert the valuable area around Puerto Madero into a residential neighborhood and gradually dislocate all the harbor activities to a new area far from the city center, as it has been done in many other large cities. Because of the resistance of the AGP, this plan was not put into practice until 1989, when it was decided to develop only the Puerto Madero area (that by then it had nearly lost its port character) and to maintain the Puerto Nuevo area for port activities. The requalification worked well, the area became a wealthy residential district and it lost its dangerous and degraded connotation completely. In 1994 Puerto Madero’s terminals were leased to private companies, which rapidly replaced the obsolete machinery introducing container’s terminals, cranes and transporters. They also renewed the roads in the area and nearby, and for a short time it seemed that the harbor could work efficiently in its location. Puerto Nuevo became a containers specialized port and it meant that all the “non-contained loads” landed in other ports, such as Campana, initially relieving the overloading of the area. But it soon became clear that a dislocation was necessary, since such improvements would increase rapidly the economy, and therefore the arrivals and the traffic, bringing the area to a new collapse. In 1998 the volume of containers reached such an incredible amount that it became clear that the problem was still unsolved. At present, this problem is still crucial in the urban debate and it is difficult 61


“[…]There are six laws that call on the city government to “urbanize” these neighborhoods. As of 2015, none of them have been properly implemented. The most recent bill in 2009 was set to improve Villa 31, also minutes from Puerto Madero, bordering the famous Retiro train station. That law gave the city government 180 days to start implementing urbanization policies in Villa 31. But six years later, according to newly-elected delegate, Dora Mackoviak, little has changed. […]This year (2015, N.d.A.), the amount of money allocated from the city budget for urbanization is the lowest in recent history. […]” (The Other Buenos Aires: Villas and the Struggle for Urbanization, Kate Rooney, 2015) 62


to understand why the authorities do not displace the port to the near area of Campana/ZĂ rate. An important factor that makes this area appropriate for increasing the harbor activities is its good connection with the rest of the country by railroads. Campana receives every year a huge amount of raw materials from all over the country by train, unlike Buenos Aires, where such materials arrive inefficiently by other routes. The problem of the rail connections of Buenos Aires is that freight trains circulates on the same railroads of the passenger trains. Since the aims of passenger trains is to increase the speed, decrease the intervals between trains and improve the public transportation system, the necessities of the slow cargo trains clash inevitably with them. This leads both to a slowdown of the public transport and a restriction of the freight traffic. The situation is different in Campana-ZĂ rate, where the harbors can rely on direct connections to the central system of freight railroads. Moreover, these ports include wide cheap lands, unlike Puerto Nuevo that is located in the very city center. Beyond these considerations, it is important to point out that that Buenos Aires harbor is now a physical limit to the city, preventing the inhabitants from the access to the river. Areas that could be attractive boardwalks are now completely unreachable, clogged by polluting trucks that makes the traffic slow and chaotic. Between the waterfront and the railroads, wide areas are completely abandoned, some are fenced and inaccessible, others ruined and dilapidated. In this scenario lies Villa 31/31bis whose inhabitants try to gain ground between railways and containers. 1.2.6 THE SOUTH DISTRICTS As stated previously, the city of Buenos Aires grew concentrically from the area of the first urbanization. During the first decade of the 20th century, the southward urbanization was generated by the creation of a new railway system branch. The urbanization was blocked by the Riachuelo river which was diverted in 1935 assuming the current shape. Contrary to the centre growth, the southern areas developed slowly and were the destination of contaminant installation such as dumps. 63


Villa Soldati and the housing complexes of the southern districts. Source: Author

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The southern districts of Buenos Aires have been incorporated in the urban fabric lately. The tardy inclusion in the system of basic services and infrastructures made these areas relegated and cut off from the rest of the city. In this context, the features of its urbanization process are still in contrast with the consolidated fabric of the city centre or of the northern districts. The physical exclusion of these areas inevitably led to a social gap between the northern and the southern districts. The latter present higher levels of illiteracy, less basic satisfied necessity, and worse dwelling conditions. The proximity of the industries situated along the Riachuelo river made the environment polluted and unhealthy. It is not surprizing that almost all the villas miseria of the Federal Capital are concentrated in these areas. During the ‘70s, when the military government opted for the eradication of the villas, these districts were filled with blocks of social housing which aimed to respond to the demographic pressure. These interventions were intended to consolidate the urban fabric in the southern part of the city, but finally they created other segregated neighbourhoods. Apart from the insufficiency of these measures, they failed completely in improving the quality of life of the evicted; the huge complexes of apartments soon became new gettos where the dissatisfaction of the dwellers led to frequent struggles with the police. Moreover, the planning of new neighbourhoods in the south of the city were carried on without considering the compatibility of these industrial lands with the residential use and this caused the bad environmental conditions in which many people still live today. Private initiative played an important role in the development of the southern districts, since the land-owners claimed persistently for urbanization and in many neighbourhoods the same dwellers supplied the lacking services or infrastructure. Nowadays, the lack of willpower of urban politics obstructs the realization of many projects proposed for the southern areas. These projects show the necessity of dismantling those industries that contaminate the area and the river and suggest the development of more sustainable commerce, services and small scale industry. Moreover, they plan the urbanization of villas miseria and their integration in the city. It’s also necessary to upgrade those residential complexes that are now obsolete and crumbly. Villas are mainly concentrated in the south part of the city and they count more 65


The wall hiding Villa 31/31bis, Buenos Aires. Source:Author

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than 30 years of urban dynamics and social growth. 1.2.7 INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS The urban conurbation of Great Buenos Aires is home to a third of Argentina’s population, with some 13 million citizens living in the sprawling metropolis. A significant proportion of these currently have limited or no access to formal housing. In the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires there are 624 villas miseria. Informal settlements are home to 250.350 families in the Great Buenos Aires. A large part of the increase in slums has occurred in the periphery of the city, where settlements are on average 43.8 km away from the city center. Furthermore, social housing has also been largely located in the periphery of the city; it has been created agglomerating developments around the large automobile infrastructure, rather than around transit services. The 50 % of the inhabitants are immigrants belonging to bordering countries (Paraguayans, Bolivians and Peruvians). In 2005, the 25% of this population were tenants (Cravino, 2006), but in 2010 the percentage of tenants reached 40% of the population of these neighborhoods. Contemporaneously, a room rental in slums boosted to 600%, at a speed rate over the inflation. With few exceptions, villas miseria lack sewer systems, roads, reliable electricity, and hospitals. This absence of infrastructure is more than controversial. In Buenos Aires at least, it’s technically illegal. The villas, originally named “misery slums” or “emergency slums”, where first created during the ‘30s, although this phenomenon expanded in the ‘40s, during the intense internal migrations. These migrations were the consequence of two simultaneous processes: the collapse of the countryside’s economies and the process of industrialization which were to replace the imports, and took place mainly in the capital city and its suburbs. This context provided a series of conditions favorable for the development of the metropolis, such as subsidized public transportation, the possibility to become owners of urban land and the extension of infrastructure networks funded by the Government. Nevertheless, these conditions did not prevent the rising of informal neighborhoods, named “villas” right from the start. While many immigrants came from bordering 67


The well-defined borders of Villa 2124, Buenos Aires. Source: Author

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countries in the ‘60s, in the ‘90s most of them came from all over the country[3]. SEGREGATION: FORMAL VS INFORMAL The rejection of the slums from the formal city has no simple causes, and it is the result of complex mechanisms. There are a lot of interests behind the formal-informal dichotomy. Although the reality actually presents shades or nuances, it is very difficult for slums to escape the hegemonic paradigm that opposes informal settlements to the so called formal city. For example, State interventions repeatedly tend to invest in the urban infrastructure of the consolidated areas, creating a vicious cycle oriented to strengthen this dichotomy, by perpetuating the process of legitimacy of some neighborhoods and de-legitimization of others. This socio-spatial differentiation leads the same inhabitants of the villas to consider themselves different and belonging to a diverse social category. For instance, in the villas it is common to talk about an inside and an outside when referring to the neighborhood. In government agencies the word villas is often used in opposition to neighborhoods. Any of these designations strengthen the formal-informal social categorization. The villas are representative spaces of a socio-spatial differentiation, and the people living there are stigmatized for belonging to a territory affected negatively in social terms. Villas are the consequence of lack of housing policy and the failures of housing market and States regulations which create economic and social barriers that hinder the access of the poor not only to urban land but also to city housing. Different bodies of the government share with the local population the idea of separating the formal neighborhoods from villas. In fact, many of the proposed establishment programs intended to transform the villas into neighborhoods. In the villas, residents who carry on the fight for their rights often give speeches that could be synthesized in “we want a neighborhood, not a villa”; again it is assumed that they are different[4]. Moreover, formal neighbors of the Buenos Aires metropolitan area usually cross different sectors in their daily routes, but rarely (or never) pass through the villas, which are symbolically and ideologically closed spaces. Although there are some areas in the slums with basic services, such us main roads or community facilities (mostly made with State intervention), villas remain 69


“Fight for an adequate dwelling”. Source:Author.

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totally excluded from formal itineraries. Villas are neighborhoods without prestige, with negative identity, seeking legitimacy like any other neighborhood. They are fragments of city with a status of anti-city. Its inhabitants seek to remove the “villa” negative label and assign the “neighborhood” one. But even when their urban or architectural condition changes, the stigma and the status are not automatically modified. For this reason, many settlements (informal neighborhoods that mimic the ways of the formal urban neighborhoods) of Buenos Aires suburbs, although they do not have any notable difference with their environment, they often bear the stigma of the villa. The formal community assigns negative identity to the people living in the slums, and this has to change. The urban integration of informal settlements should aim at dissolving any physical barriers that, in addiction to spatial segregation, may strengthen social exclusion. Elements like infrastructure, which are conceived to link and put in contact different parts of the city, can generate spatial exclusion. Public spaces inside the villas should be improved in order to attract people from the so-called formal city; this way they can become gathering spaces for socialization and contribute to demolish the social prejudice. If cities are areas of coexistence par excellence and manifestation of the multiplicity of humanity, informal settlements often testify the negation of this plurality. Many megacities are suffering extreme levels of social exclusions, both physical and theoretical which can have serious urban and social consequences and affect directly the life of many people.

[1] Tatiana Peralta Quirós, Shomik Raj Mehndiratta, Accessibility analysis of growth patterns in Buenos Aires, density, employment and spatial form, 2014. [2] Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011 [3] Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011 [4] Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011 71


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2

THE JOURNEY

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Main square of Villa 31bis. Source:Author

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Under the viaduct, Villa 31/31bis. Source:Author

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Villa 31. Source:Author

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House under the viaduct, Villa 31/31bis. Source:Author

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I travelled to Buenos Aires on 23rd September and stayed there until 8th October 2014. This is a city that has fascinated me for a long time, and I was thrilled to walk through the areas I had analyzed and mapped, to get to know its multicultural population and traditions, with its wide rift between the haves and the havenots . When I planned my journey, I thought that at most I would have a quick tour through the slums with one of those organizations that show tourists run down inner-city areas, leveraging people’s compassionate feelings to earn some money. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised to have the opportunity to tour informal settlements with people living there, to enter their houses and to have long talks with them; it made me understand their needs and what it feels like to struggle for an acceptable dwelling, and also realize how much our lives have in common despite living in such different places and conditions. Before leaving, I got in touch with some locals and some others working in villas miseria; they made me really enjoy the city and made it possible for me to visit the informal city, which it would have been impossible to visit without them. In those two weeks I had the opportunity to visit most of the city center, some peripheral neighborhoods and two villas miseria. It has been a great experience and a priceless opportunity to develop a project which I am deeply passionate about.

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The Thinker by Rodin, Plaza del congreso, 1880 Source: Author

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2.1 FORMAL the city Walking through Buenos Aires streets for the very first time, one is pervaded by many different feelings. My very first impressions were greatness and decadence. Greatness of a bygone golden era and decadence of a society that is struggling to survive the economic crisis. Going past beautiful ancient buildings now abandoned and overrun by vegetation, high-rise shining skyscrapers, overcrowded open air markets selling every kind of artisanal goods, I had the sensation that the city has been going through a succession of splendor and anguish. A closer look reveals that prosperity and poverty coexist in Buenos Aires, and only a few meters divide a wealthy neighborhood from a poor one. In the city center, beautiful monuments, modern museums, big malls and lush parks give the city a sort of Parisian atmosphere. Wonderful yachts are docked in Puerto Madero, pedestrian streets are full of shops and bars, hurried businessmen enter majestic buildings. By and large, we can say that the northern districts are wealthier than the southern ones, but it has not always been like this. That is why southern neighborhoods such as San Telmo and Constituci贸n are full of great old buildings which give them an aristocratic look. Moreover, southern districts are now affected by a process of gentrification, and this urban renewal increases the attractiveness of these quarters which are becoming trendy and stylish. The currency fluctuation is highly unpredictable, and the difference of exchange rates between legal and illegal change is rather big; people and tourists are used to changing money illegally, and people try to hoard US dollars which are a stronger and safer value. Cars traffic is astonishing. The rigid perpendicular urban grid makes the circulation slow and chaotic. Many old streets have become too narrow and are no longer able to handle the traffic and vehicles are parked everywhere.

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Skyscrapers of Puerto Madero Source: Author

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Buses hurtle too close to the sidewalk and everybody honks. Air and noise pollution are high. Moving by public transport, I noticed that some areas, especially in the city center, are well connected by Subte (the underground) while many others (peripheral) are totally excluded; residents told me that the underground is useful for those who live and work in the microcentro (the very city center), while most of the population have to make do with buses that are too slow and overcrowded. I was surprised by the difference between Buenos Aires by day and Buenos Aires by night. During the day the city is busy and lively, people are rushing everywhere and the activity is intense. By night many neighborhoods become empty and silent, and the busy workers are replaced by a crowd of cartoneros (garbage collectors) who carry out the task of sorting through the trash to collect plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, metal and wood, anything that can be sold to recycling companies. They form a whole section of society made of informal workers. Although I felt safe most of the times, local people don’t feel that way and warned me against muggings; they told me to keep an eye on bags and backpack all the time, not to use my mobile phone in the street, and to watch out for approaching motorbikes.

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Houses in Villas 31/31bis Source:Author

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2.2 INFORMAL the villas During my journey to Buenos Aires I had the opportunity to visit two villas miseria: Villa 31/31bis and Villa Soldati. Before living for Argentina, I was put in contact with Virginia, a lady who does voluntary work in some informal settlements. She is a dance teacher and helps the community by giving young girls free dance classes; she told me that such activities are very important for young people, since they help them to boost their self-confidence and creativity. Moreover, recreational activities distance youngsters from drugs and criminality. Virginia is especially involved in activities among Paraguayan community in villas miseria: in Villa 31/31bis and Villas Soldati most of the dwellers come from Paraguay, and she contributes to their integration by maintaining their identity and supporting their traditions and their original language, guaranĂŹ. 2.2.1 VILLA 31/31BIS I met Virginia in Retiro station and we walked to Villa 31/31bis through the Bus station. The railway station is a beautiful building of the early 20th century, fronted by the big park of Plaza San MartĂŹn. Full of travelers and workers, it is one of the nerve center of the city. The informal settlement is not visible from the railway station or from the park. In Villa 31/31bis surroundings, industry, transportation infrastructure, tourism, extreme wealth and extreme poverty converge, yet they are forced to exist in segregation from each other. We entered the villa by the eastern access, from the feria (the marketplace). The first thing I noticed was a multitude of stands crowded with people selling almost everything, crowd. Then we walked through one of the main streets to reach the center of the settlement.

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Walking through Villa 31/31bis with Virginia and Alexadra Source: Author

“Neighborhood spaces of the villas maintain a contradictory relationship with the formal city: they are a part of the city, but considered physically and socially different spaces. They are part of the city without the status of a city, considering not only their social status, but their legal and normative status as well.� (Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011) 90


What really impressed me was that an alternative city was in front of me. I expected to see to shacks and shanties but I was surprised to walk along three or four storey buildings in a town that was so similar to many formal neighborhoods I had visited before. There were many services and facilities such as medical clinics, dentists, internet bars, nurseries and all kind of shops and commercial activities. It gave me the impression of a well-organized community and, apart from the unpaved streets and floating cables, it could have been any working-class district of the city. I were rather taken aback by the buildings: they had a concrete structure that almost reached five floors, some were rustic and unrefined while many of them were colorful and well looked after. Even the houses built under the viaduct had balconies with plants and flowers on the window, and painted with bright colors. The density of the edification was amazing with were very narrow streets and the blocks under the viaduct were the most incredible. At first sight the similarity between Villa 31/31bis and Boca district was clear. It was the same picturesque environment, made of small houses and shops and tiny lively streets. This increased the perception of being in a parallel city, so distant and hidden from the so-called formal city and yet it looked so similar. I was introduced to some friends of Virginia’s who live there and had the opportunity to visit their houses. The first person I met was Maria, a lady whose house is next to the main square (the very centre of the settlement) and who invited us to her house for a drink. She works as a tailor, but at that time she was not working due to an arm injury after a fall. She was worried about not being able to work as she was not earning any money and she needed it for her children’s education. She had no health insurance and she had to pay for a doctor; she was impatient to resume her work again, but she had to wait until her arm had fully recovered. Her house were tiny and full of objects. There was a small port at the entrance with some plants, and a few steps leading to the main room. The room were approximately 20 sqm and hosted a table with a sewing machine and many tools for Maria’s job and a computer where her daughter was doing her homework. The house were provided with internet connection, they had a television set, a radio, a phone and mobile phones. In the same room there was also a bed where Maria slept with her daughter and another table for their 91


Villa 31 from the highway Source:Author

“[…]The solution is not fixing a lane or putting cement and covering a hole, and that’s it. That’s not urbanization. […]because the officials come in, they make promises at election time, they come round to buy some votes, and then they disappear and the problems remain.[…]” (The Other Buenos Aires: Villas and the Struggle for Urbanisation, Kate Rooney, 2015) 92


meals. At the backside there was a tiny window and a toilet. Maria’s daughter were attending the primary school, one of her sons were a singer and a guitarist and he had already recorded a CD while her second son wanted to attend a secondary school to learn technical drawing . Maria feared she couldn’t afford his the secondary school. She told us how his husband had built their house, little by little with recovering materials, expanding vertically to accommodate their children and to rent out some rooms. She also said that they shared the resources with their neighbors to build common walls. When we left Maria, Virginia introduced me another dweller, Alexandra, an important member of the community. Alexandra is an activist of Villa 31/31bis who dedicates her life to fight for settlement’s rights. She is the leading of the organization of Descamisados, a social movement that claims for villeros’ rights. They are involved in protests and petitions, have deep knowledge of their civil rights and know enough of law and administration to be able to deal with the city government and to demand its intervention. Alexandra expressed her frustration for the failure of their protests, but she felt positive about the future and she said that she had already obtained some improvement. She is the mother of three children and a widow: her husband died at his workplace, but his family did not receive any economic compensation for their loss. As a consequence, she has to work in clubs at night and she leads a very busy an stressful life: she has a night job, she takes care of her children, she leads a social movement and on top of this she provides an after school service in her house, where neighbor kids come in the afternoon to do their homework. She provided me with maps and data of the villa. There is a quite good codification of Villa 31/31bis: there is cartography (although in the official maps the settlement does not appear in the official maps), a census and a cadastral survey have been done and several books on the issue have been written. Citizen are pretty aware of the history of the settlement and of the importance of their social fight. Alexandra told me about the problem of the value of the land. Villa 31/31bis is located in a highly valued area which are craved by speculators who want to convert the area in a luxury district like Puerto Madero. She told me that the neighborhood has already provided with most facilities (hold by the 93


The bridge over the highway and the wall in Villa 31/31bis Source: Author

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same dwellers) but they desperately need public services such as electric and water drainage systems, garbage collection and all those services that only the municipal government can give them. So far they have managed to pave some streets with dwellers’ resources, to arrange some sewer pipes and to illegally connect the houses to the electric system. We had a complete tour of the settlement. We walked through the blocks under the viaducts, we visited the old part of the settlement (Villa 31), we saw the abandoned post office and the container deposits. We crossed a metallic bridge over the highway to reach the Mugica Chapel which is now isolated from the neighborhood after the construction of the viaduct in 2006. Alexandra showed us the wall which is being built along the highway and she told us that the municipal government claims that it will protect the dwellers from the noise of the road, but that everybody knows that the reason for it is to hide the settlement from the tourists and travelers. Some neighbors complained with Alexandra about my taking photos and told me to stop taking them. She explained to me that their mistrust came from their fear of being denounced for illegal activities. They categorically refused to let me take photos of a building site where an irregularly draining system was being connected. In Villa 31/31bis I met caring people ready to help me with my research, in the hope that the debate on informal settlements will make citizens aware of the segregation the villeros have suffer all their lives.

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3

INSIDE VILLA 31/31BIS

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Shops in Villa 31bis. Source:Author

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Houses under the viaduct in Villa 31. Source:Author

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Passage in Villa31. Source:Author

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Houses under the highway, Villa 31. Source:Author

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View of Retiro Station and Puerto Nuevo, 1929 Source: Wikimedia

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3.1 URBAN ANALYSIS

HISTORY The history of Villa 31 is tightly connected to the vicissitudes of the harbor area of Puerto Nuevo. At the beginnings of 20th century, the fast growth of Argentinean economy made necessary the construction of a new harbor situated in northeastern littoral of Buenos Aires, planned to handle a huge amount of raw material and merchandize and also a big quantity of immigrants (most of them coming from Europe). The construction of the new harbor, Puerto Nuevo, started in 1911 and it became operative in 1919. Many immigrants, arrived during the immigration wave at the end of the 19th century, were employed in the construction. It was built on new infill land taken from the River Plate, and it slowly replaced of all the other city ports to become one of the most important infrastructural nodes of the country. The project contemplated, in addiction of the construction of docks and port machinery, wide blank areas for the future building of government quarters. However, a project for new institutional district was never realized, despite the great number of proposals for university campuses or juridical complexes. The first state authority established in Puerto Nuevo was the General Administration of State Railways in 1930. The 1929 economic crisis had disastrous consequences for many countries all over the world, and Argentina was no exception. The lack of employment brought many of these immigrants to extreme poverty, and by 1931 the government decided to convert the abandoned sheds of the harbor area into refuges for indigent immigrants. In 1932 a first settlement was built in the place of those refuges, made of precarious houses of recovered material (mainly corrugated iron), organized

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Villa Desocupaci贸n in 1932 Source: Wikimedia

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around two little alleys. The government also made some old coaches available to families. The new neighborhood was first named Villa Desocupación which means Neighborhood of Unemployment and then Villa Esperancia, Neighborhood of Hope. However, in 1935, the same government changed attitude and demolished those shelters evicting the immigrants; since they could not go back to their homeland, they had no choice but to find other places where to live, moving from one precarious settlement to another. Immigration was still strong, and, beside the European incomers, many people arrived from the near countries. At those times some Villas Miseria already existed, but they were concentrated in the southern districts and mainly in the countryside, so they were not perceived as a problem. On the other hand, the harbor area was situated in the very city center, which made the informal settlement rather visible. Despite the eviction, Porto Nuevo area was repopulated in the ‘40s by a group of Italian immigrants, and it was named Barrio Inmigrantes, Neighborhood of the Immigrants. By 1950 there have been at least six different built-up areas on the site, inhabited by European and Latin-American incomers and by locals working in the railways. In 1956 the National Commission of Housing counted 21 villas in the city of Buenos Aires, populated by 33.920 people; in the metropolitan area, 78.430 people lived in informal settlements. For the first time the issue of the villas miseria was faced seriously, and a project of eradication was proposed with the objective of recollocate the inhabitants into new housing complexes. However, in seven years this plan built only 214 houses for 1.284 people. In 1958 the first public authority was established with the task of dealing with villeros (villas dwellers); thanks this organization they could ask for improvement, electricity and water systems. Despite the construction of many popular houses by the government during the ‘60s, Villa 31 grew exponentially, to an extend that its existence could no longer be denied. With the visibility the discrimination increased as well, since the wealthy population badly tolerated the existence of such settlements situated only few meters away from their rich districts. For the “formal” population, villas are sites of unhealthiness and criminality. In the ‘70s intolerance radicalized even more. It was during those years that 109


Graffiti of Carlos Mujica in Villa 31/31bis Source: Author

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Carlos Mugica was identified as the defender of the neighborhood. He was a catholic priest, member of a wealthy and influent family, who decided to legitimize the existence of Villa 31 by establishing there a parish (the church of Cristo Obrero) and by encouraging the newborn religious community to cooperate and fight against poverty. Establishing a church there was a revolutionary statement in a period when both the government and the clergy pretended to ignore the reality of informal settlements. By that time Villa 31 had reached a population of 16.000 inhabitants. In 1974 Carlos Mugica was murdered by a far-right fanatic. The ‘70s were also the years of the military dictatorship, where the attitude of the government towards the villas got worse and aimed to eradicate those settlements. Such violent actions regard to the issue of informal settlements were sadly popular among Latin-American governments, who pretended to solve the problem by demolishing the entire neighborhood and deporting its inhabitants. Evictions in Villa 31 started in 1971 and lasted all the decade of the ‘70s, with peaks of exacerbation in 1976, when the military government demolished a great part of the neighborhood and dwellers were forced into trucks and deported to the periphery of the city. By then, more of the 40% of the inhabitants had been moved to a new housing complex, called Conjunto Habitacional de Ciudadela; as people had been forced to live there, it became a site of violence and of frequent struggles with the police. With the World Cup of 1978, the mass medias focus their attention on the injustices perpetuated into the villas. Evictions lasted until 1983, when the courts prohibited the destruction of houses. In 1996 the government started the construction of a new branch of the highway (Autopista Illia) that had to connect downtown districts to the northern ones. The viaduct was built right over the settlement, some houses were demolished but many others were just covered. Instead of dismantling the settlement, the government chose to give to the prejudiced dwellers a housing subsidy. This palliative solution didn’t avoid insurrections of the evicted, and episodes of violence and struggle occurred during its construction. The project of the new highway was part of a bigger plan, Proyecto Retiro (unrealized), that sought to re-urbanize 75 hectares in the port and train tracks area, including the lands where Villa 31 laid. This project consisted 111


The viaduct in Villa 31/31 bis Source: Author

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in the realization of a new multimodal area of the city, with hotels, a major transportation hub, luxury housings among other ambitious proposals; the aim was to requalify the harbor area on the model of Puerto Madero, the ancient port of Buenos Aires. This project obviously assumed the eradication of Villa 31/31bis with the intention of gentrify an area of such high market value. By 2000 a new government had purposed the building of new houses and the consolidation of Villa 31; this plan encountered the strong opposition of those speculators who aimed to put their hands on those lands. It was also affirmed that those houses would create functional problems into the harbor area. By those years Villa 31 had expanded and a new neighborhood had been created, in even more precarious conditions than the old one; it was named Villa 31bis. In 2006 Villa 31/31bis expanded furthermore, and new areas were taken to the railroads. In 2009 the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires imposed the urbanization of Villa 31/31bis on a project of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Buenos Aires. In 2014 they started to build a wall to separate the settlements from the highway giving safety as the reason for building but in fact it was for hiding Villa 31/31bis from the travelers. Nowadays, the future of Villa 31/31bis depends on the change in the balance of power between the City Government, the Country Government and the Justice. GEOGRAPHY Villa 31/31bis lays on the north-eastern boundary of Buenos Aires, and it occupies a trapezoid area of 39 hectares. It borders with the Retiro railway station on the south, with Puerto Nuevo on the north, with Illia highway on the west and with the bus terminal on the east. The size of Villa 31/31bis has varied in time, reaching its widest and smallest extension during the ‘70s: in the early ‘70s the neighbor’s extent doubled its current size, but during the military dictatorship at the end of the decade, it was almost completely demolished. It is one of the few villas situated in the north of the city, and it is certainly the biggest and more populated, with more than 30.000 inhabitants[1]. Its peculiarity lies in its location, which is in the very city center next to the wealthiest districts 113


Villa 31/31bis and Retiro district. Source: Author

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of the city. Villa 31/31bis is surrounded by important infrastructural hubs, such as the railway and the bus stations, the harbor, a national airport, many historical parks, the university campus and some institutional buildings. However, the community does not benefit from this infrastructure. The terminal bus station from where long regional routes outside of the city depart, the port which handles the container ships transit, and the railroads which take people in and out of the city; the flights are not affordable by the villa dwellers. Transportation that could improve the mobility to and from the “formal” city is significantly lacking. No public buses cross the neighborhood and people have to walk out of the villa to get to means of transportation. The existent infrastructure divides rather than connecting. Since its beginning, the neighborhood has been seen as a poor sight in the area, contrasting with the luxurious skyscrapers of the surroundings. It has been accused of being the main obstacle for the development of the northern infrastructure, thus its eradication has always been considered necessary. Its spatial segregation depends on its location, crushed between the harbor and the railroad and crossed by the highway. Villa 31/31bis is close enough to be object of high attention from the media, but hidden enough to be ignored by the population and by the official maps of the city. It has always been the scapegoat for every urban problem and presented by the media as a sort of heterotopia, a space of otherness which is neither here nor there, unknown and stigmatized, whose disturbing proximity causes intolerance and diffidence among the “formal” population. The neighborhood has developed on a land owned by the national government, and the majority of the buildings have been built on railway plots, and few of them on harbor lands. Although the land is owned by the national government, the city government has the right to regulate this space from the urban point of view. This duality has caused the stagnation of the conditions of Villa 31/31bis, since the two governments are passing the bucket of the responsibility for the urbanization. Villa 31 is the historical northern part of the settlements which expanded southward creating a new area called Villa 31bis. Villa 31 and Villa 31bis are divided by the highway whose viaduct limits the north-south porosity greatly. Villa 31/31bis is divided into ten different areas: Güemes, Inmigrantes, YPF115


Pa d re Muj ica c h a pel po l ice

field N.7

a ban d o ned po st o ff ice

COMUNICACIONES

ARCA De NOÉ canteen vi r gen d e l u jan field

el cam pit o c l ub pl a y g r o und e va n gel ic chu r ch o f CUEVA ANDULAM

YPF DEPOSIT

EVANGELIC chu r ch

CRISTO OBRERO

BICHITO DE LUZ nur se r y

PULGARCITO canteen

iNMIGRANTES

SAN CAYETANO canteen f o o t bal and tennis field

THE SECONDARY WALL SCHOOL

GUEMEZ field

pl a y g r o und

QUARTIERE CHINO FIELD

nur se r y

me d ical clin ic

GUELMES c h a pel

CRISTO OBRERO nuer se r y

CRISTO REINA NURSERY

po l ice

MEDICAL CLINIC N.21

CHINO GUEMEZ

VIRGEN DEL VALLE CANTEEN

PLAYON OESTE A.D.R.A. CHURCH CAACUPE CHAPEL

FERROVIARIO LITTLE SQUARE CRISTO REINA CHURCH ISOLATO 101 SQUARE

PLAYON FIELD FEDERAL POLICE COMMISSARIAT

PLAYON ESTE

CHURCH

Piaz z a d el Me r c a t o CAMPO d el Me r c a t o

RETIRO BUS STATION

POLICE

SAN MARTIN

MEDICAL CLINIC N.25

Geography of Villa 31/31bis. Source: Author

STAZIONE TRENI RETIRO

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Autopista, Comunicaciones, Cristo Obrero, Chino, Playón Oeste, Ferroviario, Playón Este, San Martín. Güemes is the most densely populated area bordering with the bus station; it includes the marketplace which is the main entrance to the neighbourhood. Here the buildings are the tallest, reaching up to five storeys, and the alleys and passages are very narrow. There is virtually no public space. Inmigrantes is the original nucleus of the settlements, where the first immigrants settled down, and it is the northern part of the villa. Since it is isolated from the rest of the neighbourhood, it has developed a proper identity. YPF-Autopista is located on the north side of the highway; here the houses grew under the viaduct or beside it, endorsing their structure to the its big concrete pillars. Comunicaciones developed around the old postal building. It has a lower density and more regular plots resembling a peripheral residential areas. Villa 31bis has a major and more homogeneous density of population, and the buildings there reach up to four storeys. Since its formation, it has grown constantly and its southern part has always been trying to occupy railway space, southward. In the western part of the settlement, isolated from the blocks by the highway, there is the Cristo Obrero Chapel, where Carlos Mugica preached. In the seventies was situated in the centre of the neighbourhood but after the evictions remained detached and far away.

[1] Census of 2010. Inhabitants of Villa 31/31bis consider this estimation unreliable, since a lot of people living there illegally didn’t appear in the census and many families didn’t declare their tenants

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Aggregation of informal typologies.

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3.2 THE INFORMAL CODE constructive and spatial typologies Although the term “informal� evokes the idea of a context without order and rules, informal settlements have their own typologies of building and public space, maybe more spontaneous than the formal ones but still well recognizable. Villa 31 was raised on the blueprint of abandoned railroads, and that explains the elongated shape of most of the blocks, which go from 50 mts up to 800 mts. The shapes of the blocks, as in most of informal settlements, depend on the context: they are molded by pre-existing buildings and infrastructures, filling abandoned areas and adapting themselves on the morphological specificity of the site. In Villa 31/31bis the blocks generally have a tight rectangular shape, due, as we said, to the presence of abandoned railroads, and they assimilate the stretched structure of the surrounding urban fabric. Most of the materials employed in the villa are recycled and recovered, often from the building sites where the inhabitants work. This lends the environment a heterogeneous and picturesque appearance, similar to Boca’s, and it makes it peculiar and pleasant. The constructive techniques are traditional, and most of the buildings have a solid structure; this depends on the fact that most of the male population work as masons in the formal city, so they are expert builders. The structure of the buildings is usually made by a frame of reinforced concrete and bricks walls and ceilings of concrete and polystyrene; many of the buildings are painted with vibrant colors, others are left rough. The floors are usually connected by an external metallic staircase, or one on top of the other in case of more floors. Other metallic elements, such as fences, balustrades, grating, little pillars, are largely employed, as they are cheap and easy to find. For the same reason, metal sheets are also widespread; they serve as roofing, porch, partition and, sometimes, house wall. The windows are usually small and barred for safety reasons, and the opening depends on the available window frame and just like every complementary

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Single-storey house. Source: Author.

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element, the window frames are recovered. Therefore, the buildings’ facades are asymmetric and uneven, and no house is identical to any other. Since there is no water supply system, water is pumped on the roof of the buildings where it is stored in plastic tanks which are typical of the townscape like the water pipes on the facades. Cables are everywhere, as a tangled web fluctuating in midair; along the streets several poles reach the main electric cables, connected to every single house by a precarious system. 3.2.1 BUILDING TYPOLOGIES a) RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS Although the shape and the dimensions of the blocks can considerably vary, there is a basic modulus which almost every building in the villa adopts. This minimum cell is a box whose dimensions waver between 4x4x3 mt and 4x8x3 mt; the shortest side of the plan is usually the façade, and the buildings tend to extend inward the block, in order to distribute equally the accesses to the street. The average modulus is therefore a room of 24 sqm which its inhabitants multiply vertically as soon as they can afford more materials. Single-storey house It’s the very basic dwelling, the minimum accommodation for a family. It consists in a single room which hosts all the utilities of the house; all the residents share the same space, in which there is usually a small kitchen, a big bed, a small table where the family eat and the women often work during the day and one or two closets. The windows are small and often barred, and so is the door, to prevent robberies and intrusions. The roof of a single-storey house can become a terrace for extra space or hanging clothes. Due to the demographic increase, this typology is uncommon nowadays, since most of the buildings have already added two or more storeys. However, the oldest part of Villa 31 still conserves some single-storey houses, which stand as vestiges of the past when there was more available space, lower concentration of people as well as less-advanced construction techniques.

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Double and multistorey houses. Source: Author.

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Double-storey house This typology is typical of Villa 31 (the oldest part of the villa) and of the smallest blocks on the edges of the settlement. In Villa 31 these houses take up an almost completely formal aspect, making the neighborhood look picturesque and traditional. The upper modulus is usually larger than the lower one, to allow the family to have a small balcony or a terrace; occasionally there’s a garage or a storehouse on the lower level and the family live on the upper one. The floors are connected by an external metallic spiral staircase, rarely by an internal one. The double-storey building is not necessary own by the same family; if two different families live in, the external staircase leads to a small entrance. This is also the case where the owner of the house is renting the upper level to a tenant. This typology is very often associated to a small commercial activity on the ground floor.

Multi-storey house While there are no more than three-storey buildings in Villa 31, the four or fivestorey buildings are typical of Villa 31bis, the newest part of the settlements. As already mentioned, this depends on the reduction of the available space, the growth of population and the improvement of construction techniques. If low houses can have a mixed structure, multi-storey buildings are all made by a concrete structure and brick walls, while the ceiling structure has concrete beams and polystyrene slabs. The dimensions of the modulus tend to grow in the upper levels so to have more space to live in without occupying too much street-space. Balconies and terraces are widespread and most of them are grated. The real danger of this typology is the instability of the narrow spiral staircases which are superimposed up to 5 levels. If a multi-storey building is owned by a single person or family, one or two floors are likely to be rented. It is also common that the ground floor is occupied by a commercial activity or a storehouse. Most of these high buildings have their own structure, but the ones that grow under the viaduct are attached to the big concrete pillars of the highway; the same viaduct is used as a roof, and families living there feel safer even if it is very noisy and gives out rather strong vibrations. 123


Commercial activities. Source: Author.

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b) COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS Commercial activities are located on the ground floor, rarely on the first one. Inside the villa there are almost every kind of shops and restaurants, and other facilities as internet bars or private clinics. The only missing shop is the pharmacy, since you need a license to open one. Shops and restaurants use to have a porch on the street, with tables or merchandise on display; these porches are not only a place for business, but also gathering spaces where friends meet, exchange news and strengthen relationships. These porches are usually made of metallic sheets supported by thin metallic or wooden pillars; by night, all the goods return inside the shop which is locked by grating. The owner of the shop usually lives on the upper level. During the day the commercial streets are crowded mostly with women, since men work in the formal city and come back home only at night; women take care of children and their home usually work inside the villa. There are also many commercial activities that take place outside: there are a lot of kiosks and stands in the plazas or along the main streets. On the western side of the villa, next to the bus station, there’s the feria, an open air market that takes place once or twice a week.

c) PUBLIC FACILITIES Despite very few services (hardly any) provided by the city government to the informal settlements which are nearly ignored, the public realm in Villa 31/31bis is fairly organized. Although its dwellers have limited resources, they have a strong sense of community and they supply the formal social security with private initiative and individual efforts. This is why there are only a few buildings exclusively dedicated to social activities, as they often take place at home. Nevertheless, we can recognize some different typology even for public buildings; they all share the location on the ground floor, and are the point of contact between the public and the private realm.

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Caacupe Church. Source: Author.

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Canteen There are at least four canteens in Villa 31/31bis, visited by students, workers or poor people. They measure two or three modulus, and they lay on the ground floor and they may also function as community center. They are often run by women who cook and distribute meals. They are usually single-storey buildings, but they can also have more than one floor or lay under a house. Kindergarten Kindergartens are widespread and they play an important role in the town. Many of them have a fenced playground, where the children can safely play in the open air; others are just a big bare rooms where the kids can play and enjoy recreational activities. They are made of two or three modulus, on the ground floor and some of them can get up to two stores; they have a tin ceiling and they are painted with bright colors and with cartoon pictures. They are ones of the few building with large windows and doors, even if they are grated. After-school activities There is not a specific building for after-school activities; usually a woman offers to take care of neighbor kids during the afternoon in exchange of little money. Children stay in the supervisor house which has a large living room and they do their homework there until their parents come to fetch them. This service is very important in the villa, as many families send their children to school but they do not have time to help them with the homework; nevertheless, many families are strongly convinced that education will ensure their kids a better life, so after-school activities are highly valued and needed. Church and community centers Religion is a very important aspect of everyday life in the villa, and there are many churches and chapels in town. Apart from weekly masses and annual festivities, there are a lot of other religious events that take place in the church, where people often go; the neighborhood patron saint is venerated with devotion and there are a lot of celebrations in his honour. Moreover, Church has often played a crucial role in the development of villas, rising awareness in the citizens with volunteer activities, charity events and by 127


Right: a plaza in Villa 31 Below: slums streets open into a plaza Source: author

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participating actively in villas’ life. This is the reason why almost every church has become a community center, where the poor, those in troubles or excluded communities can find help. The church is a large building made of prefabricated materials, generally concrete, with a simple façade and a large porch. It often has an outdoor space for open air activities, with a playground or a small garden. Quite often the church is situated in a square or next to a big public space, so people can take part to celebrations even if there is not enough space for everybody inside. Porch walls are often decorated with colorful murals, with religious scenes or characters, painted by inhabitants and sometimes by children.

3.2.2 PUBLIC SPACE TYPOLOGIES Streets In informal settlements, where people struggle to find a place to live and buildings tend to occupy every empty area, space for circulation is usually minimized. Villa 31/31bis is no exception: streets are very narrow, and only few of them can be driven. The streets width goes from 2 to 10 mts, although there are a lot of alleys only 1,5 mts wide. The inhabitants complain about the problem with circulation and especially about accessibility by ambulances or firetrucks in case of emergency. The widest avenues become commercial streets, and shops invade public space with their products or stands. Streets are also gathering spaces and, by day, they are crowded with people standing and talking to each other’s; whilst this is a sign of a lively and communicative society, it also makes it hard for cars manoeuvers . Many streets are dirty, only few of them are paved (mostly in the oldest part of the villa); a couple of streets even have drainage system arranged by inhabitants.

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Right: a passage in Villa 31. Below: urban fabric of Villa 31. Source: author

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Passages Due to the lack of space, a lot of passages go through the blocks allowing people to reach their house or to go from one street to another without walking all the way around. These passages are almost impossible to map, since they are open or closed depending on the changes of configuration within a block; the flexible nature of informal buildings entail the mutability of the passages system. Passages use to be 2-3 mt wide and 3 mt high, even if the dimensions can considerably change. Passages often open up into inner courtyards creating a dense system of patios or little openings to allow light and air to enter.

Plazas In Villa 31/31bis plazas assume the same rectangular and elongated form of the blocks. They seem an enlargement of streets, the resulting space of two blocks drifting apart. They are also the result of the intersection of two or more streets. Many plazas exhibit simple urban furniture, such as benches or tables, and sometimes also vegetation which is almost absent in Villa 31bis; on the other hand public space in Villa 31 have trees. Plazas often include playgrounds, which is usually fenced; if there are tot-lots or football pitches, plazas are usually paved. It seems clear that neighbors make an effort have a more enjoyable and safer public space, especially for their children which spend a lot of time in the open air. However, unpaved plazas with no furniture or playgrounds often become messy car parks, sites where clogged construction materials or garbage sit there to be used or cleared out.

Football pitches Soccer is by far the most popular sport among young people, and football pitches are widespread. Almost every plaza has a football ground, many of them are fenced and paved. Many blocks open up to make room for soccer fields which can have various dimensions depending on the surrounding buildings.

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Football pitch in Villa 31/31bis. Source: Author

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Other areas There are also some areas situated on the edge of the informal settlement which are not part of formal city and have not been occupied yet by villa miseria. These areas end up being garbage dump, unhealthy areas at the back of the houses, a rough ground with stagnant water and dangerous rubble. In Villa 31/31bis these areas are mostly placed between Chino neighborhood and the railroads which are still functioning.

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Graffiti in Villa 31bis. Source: Author

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3.3 THE INFORMAL SOCIETY

In villa 31/31bis there are more than 40 000 people living there. The 51% of the inhabitants are foreigners: 23,9% form Paraguay; 16,6% from Bolivia; 9,8% from PerÚ (La Naciòn, 2013). The 90% of inhabitants actually have a job and most of the people living in the neighborhood work in the formal city. The 15 to 20% of the people find jobs within the Villa 31 based on small businesses or providing services into the villa; they are mostly women. As a result of my visit of slums of Buenos Aires, I can delineate the main aspects of social life into informal settlements: - Most of villas dwellers are immigrants. Many incoming people who arrive in Buenos Aires looking for opportunities are excluded by the real estate market and have no choice but to live in slums. The segregation of foreign communities in informal settlements is the failure of urban politics in integrating the incomers in the city dynamics. These immigrants are forced to take to a life of illegal practices: they have no property of their houses, their job is not recognized or safeguarded, and they are completely ignored by the public apparatus. Segregation is a vicious cycle in which segregated communities are the catchment areas for unscrupulous exploiters who are interested in maintaining those communities in desperate conditions. - Informal dwellers have a strong sense of community and they are now more aware of their condition and their rights. Many informal communities are strongly politicized and support political parties in the hope of receiving consideration. However, they have been tricked too many times by politicians who are not really interested in their struggle but see them as a source of votes or as an instrument to increase their popularity.

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Cement mixer in Villa 31. Source: Author

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- Both the country government and the autonomous city government pass the buck to each other regarding the responsibility for the urbanization of the villas. The few investments of the city government for the improvement of the informal settlements only aim at votes in the election. In Villa 31/31bis this pretense was even rather ridiculous: during last political campaign some of thr streets were paved but without draining system; now ,when it rains, those streets are full of puddle and impassable. - Informal communities have a clear division of roles: while men are working in the city, women remain into the villa to take care of the family and of the house. If women work, it is in the same villa. This is the reason why social activities depend nearly always on women, who not only have to handle the social realm but they also are responsible for the fight for the rights of the villeros. Women are an active part of the community, and are aware of their rights and of their condition better than men. - Since most of the male population work in the formal city as builder, villas buildings are pretty solid and skillfully made. Families expand their houses little by little, as long as they can afford it. The construction materials come from building places where men work, and they subtract them brick by brick. - Religion is an important part of the life of many villeros. It gives them the strength to go on and the hope for a better future. Many times the church provides services when the government is insufficient such as charity actions and social aids. Figures like Carlos Mugica are venerated in informal settlements and the political and religious enthusiasm is often similar among the informal communities. - People who live in the villas do not want to be moved away from their district. Eviction has proved to be useless demonstration of violence, and deportation of the villeros in peripheral areas of the city has achieved nothing but the creation of new segregated communities, in which isolation and dissatisfaction has given risen to further violence and criminality. - The sense of ephemeral impedes real improvements in informal settlements. 137


Vertical growth of Villa 31bis. Source: Author

138


Dwellers know they could be evicted any time, and this makes their living very precarious, as if they are on the verge of having to leave their home. This attitude highlights the need of the dwellers for the property of their houses and lands - Villas dwellers understand that mapping the site is very important to obtain the recognition of their existence by the formal city. Their invisibility on official maps makes them feel completely ignored by citizens and tourists. Their integration with the city passes through their inclusion in cartography and in the land registration. - Problems as drug addiction and criminality could be defeated by involving the population in social activities or in the improvement of the settlement. Such activities would take people away from addiction and make them feel active parts of the community. This is the reason why criminal organizations are interested in maintain informal settlements in desperate conditions, since they constitute an important part of their market and they are the perfect place for recruitment. - Villas inhabitants understand the importance of education. A lot of young people attend schools and have the ambition to improve their lives by education. Many of them are looking for a way to escape from the villas and to establish themselves in the formal city, but there are also young people who decide to live in the neighborhood to improve it with their skills.. According to Cravino[1], the causes of the population growth in the villas are: - The new generations that were born in the villas need more houses and territory. These families can only find a place to live in the same villa where they were born and where their parents live or in similar places. - The process of evictions of occupied houses increased (in a legal or administrative way) in the last decade, while some retaining policies (such as hotel accommodation for the homeless) were dismantled and no alternative choices given. This forced people to move to other villas. - The evictions of small and poorly organized villas caused the growth process in bigger ones where evicted people move into. 139


House in Villa 31bis. Source: Author

140


- The little government subsidies are just enough to rent a room in a villa, while there are hundreds of vacant houses property of the government. - Maintaining migration networks, particularly from bordering countries (such as Paraguay and Bolivia) and Peru. - Families that could not maintain their house in the formal city (both owners and renters) chose to move into informal settlements. Cravino makes a deep analysis of the ownership dynamics within the villas. The villas emerged with the occupation of urban land by families, mainly public, between the 30´s and 60´s. They were evicted by military governments (1976-83) but they were repopulated with the advent of democracy. Over that time the land occupation was based on reciprocity relations, it was still freed from payment relations. The running out of available land together with the demographic pressure over slums due to the economic crisis and the immigration led by half of the 90’s to the emergence of rooms rental known as inquilinatos. This form became the entry door to slums, since the tenants concentrated in saving up to become owners of a house in the same slum. Nowadays slum incomers no longer become owners after being tenants. The reason of this transformation in the processes of inhabiting slums is due to the inexistence of a housing market inside slums able to absorb the demand of tenants. The urbanization policies have not been efficient[2]. Until a few years ago, the rent was the gateway to the villa, because renters thought they would save enough money to buy a house in the slum and change their status from renters to owners (owners of the building, but not of the land, since they would still live in an informal settlement). At present, living in a villa has become, more or less, a stable way to live in the city (but without exit options) since there are no more massive evictions like in past decades (with some exceptions). The renter-owner cycle starts to run low due to the large number of renters that never get the chance to become owners. At the same time, urban infrastructure services, built mostly by the same neighbors, have been showing signs of collapse: constant blackouts, overflowing sewers, limited water of uncertain quality, poor illumination, reduced garbage collection service and even less safety. Housing trajectories have mutated deeply in recent decades. Before the mid90s, those who came to a villa usually went to live with relatives’ house or 141


Builder in Villa 31bis. Source: Author

“Among the poor, women are often on the frontlines. Because they are concerned with the survival of their home and of their neighborhood, they prove themselves to be innovative and committed. These voices from the field are calling forth a new culture of rights and responsibilities to be shared among all social actors—from the poor themselves to local political leaders—so that they may all coexist and interact in more democratic cities.” (Ivo Imparato and Jeff Ruster, Slum upgrading and participation: lessons from Latin America, 2003)

142


countrymen; over time, they built a new house in the slum, occupying a vacant lot making the neighborhood population grow. Then, when there was no more land to occupy, the process of vertical growth and densification began with the construction of taller buildings (which now can reach up to six stories), mainly for rent. People had the opportunity, after several years of saving, to become owners of a house in the slum. This could happen when tenants were 10 or 15% of the slum population, as there was a constant turnover of incoming people and those who moved out to return to their home town or to go elsewhere in the city. Today we can estimate that 40% of the population lives as tenants. Therefore, it is impossible for them to have a chance of becoming owners (in addition, as the demand increases, so does the prices) and there will never be enough houses for sale for all the tenants who aspire to buy one.. The strong rental pressure pushed thousands of families out of their houses, multiplying the occupations in the formal city and in the villas. Squatters are always tenants who cannot afford to buy a house in the villa or to pay the increasing costs of the rent[3]. This is the reason for the various occupations in the adjacent areas of Villa 31bis.

[1] Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011. [2] Ibidem. [3] Ibidem.

143


144


4

THE PROJECT

145


Masterplan

146


147


Masterplan

148


149


Informal fabric

150


Informa l Urba n

Infras tr uc ture

Figure

Ground

Le cture

151

Public


Formal fabric

152


Forma l Urba n

Infras tr uc ture

Figure

Ground

Le cture

153

Public


Geography

154


Ge ogra phy Urba n

Infras tr uc ture

Figure

Ground

Le cture

155

Public


Informal

Formal

Integration between informal-formalgeography 01

02

05

01

100m

156


Ge ogra phy

157


14 floors 12 floors 10 floors 8 floors 6 floors 4 floors 2 floors

Occupation diagram smaller and fragmented open spaces

larger courtyards

158


14 floors 12 floors 10 floors 8 floors 6 floors 4 floors 2 floors

yards court r e g r la

smal

ented fragm d n a ler

s space open Density diagram

159


Residential building

160


161


Landscape system

162


163


The ambiguity of formal/informal categorization in Buenos Aires urban fabric. Source: Author

164


4.1 A METHODOLOGY PROPOSAL

Informal settlements in terms of urban planning, always raise many questions. It is not clear yet which part slums play in city dynamics, and despite many recent studies about this issue, there is still some reluctance to face it at the urban scale. This work arose from the urgency to define a methodology for a urban project able to approach efficaciously the informal realm, from a multi-scalar perspective. The crucial questions that orient my research are: - What does the term informal actually mean? How to approach a context that has virtually no rules or order? Is it possible to recognize a code or pattern that regulate an informal system or that emerges from it? - Are the informal settlements a problem to be solved? Should they be considered a neglected piece of the city to be replaced by a rigorous urban plan? Is it possible to think about shantytowns just as one of the contemporary ways of living, and therefore focus on how to improve them rather than how to eliminate them? - How should we operate to achieve integration between formal and informal city, by preserving and enhancing those differences that are constitutive of the urban complexity? How to strengthen a sense of community while assuming heterogeneity as a key-element in the city-make process? - Which role should nature and landscape play in an urban project within a highly anthropized context?

165


Continuity of green belts

“This question of cross-scale then becomes essential to envisioning the application of interventions within the site. Scale here refers both to the dimension of size and time. The scale of the “now” calls upon projects that require quick action such as do-it-yourself projects, temporary installations, and they tend to be of small sale. The scale of the “later” on the other hand refers to planning processes that requires a lot more time for its maturation and therefore fall into the realm of the “ideal” urban plans. To be able to articulate and reorganize the existing textures within informal settlements in order to catalyze productive change requires urbanism and architecture to act in complex ways that reflect on a holistic approach. Urban, Architectural, Ecological, Social, Economic, and Cultural territories need to be considered in the application of these urban strategies.” (Carolina Uechi, Urban interventions: architecture as a mechanism of inclusion, 2014) 166


- Which is the right scale to analyze and understand the informal settlements and finally to include them into the city eco-system? Trying to give an answer to these issues means working on different strategies at different scales. This paper aims to configure a multi-scalar method which goes from the establishment of a territorial landscape system to the definition of an architectural typology, working on formal and informal urban patterns. My research lies on the principle that the comprehension of the informal issue cannot be separated by a large-scale urban analysis and redefinition. Although there are many significant small-scale projects which achieve important improvements, we consider that the real core of this issue is urbanism rather than architecture, infrastructure rather than buildings, territory rather than plots. Every piece of the city involved in the project has to undergo a critical metabolic process which changes the configuration of the context in order to establish a new ecosystem. Different actions are employed on different components at different scales, in order to envision the city change and evolution. By this perspective, informal settlements are no longer considered as accidents spoiling the city development, or seen as anomalies of the urban realm, on the contrary they are active features of it. Formal and informal are rigid attributes that badly fit the heterogeneity of modern metropolis, but their dichotomy will subsist if informal identity continues to be denied and denigrated. Urban plans will respond efficiently to slum issues if they work on the formal and informal realm in order to integrate them, rather than intervene on shantytowns with the intention of “solve� them. My purpose for a project methodology is layered into three main metabolic strategies: 1. Maintain: action of preservation of the the urban form in its morpho-genetic features, through functional shifts or changes oriented to improve the city fabric by maintaining its nature. 2. Replace/Duplicate: action of redefinition of an area, by replacing some elements or parts with external insertion or by reproducing the existing 167


I II

III

The three scales of the project

01

25

km

“Make great plans, realize small ones: comprehensive ideas nourish particular ones. By designing the city, the architect comprehends the building, the room, the chair. Each architect should design the whole city, and more than once. Then these designs should be put aside, and eventually forgotten.� (Lebbeus Woods, Radical reconstruction, 1997)

168


morphology to strengthen the continuity within the urban grid. 3. Transform: action of radical change of one or more key-elements of the urban structure, that is the transformation of connections and relationships within the city components. The change shall be oriented to encourage sustainable dynamics and to renew portions of territory. I have worked on different strategies at three different scales: 1. Neighborhood: it is the scale of the informal settlement, of its spatial and architectural morphology, of its problematics and needs. 2. Urban context: it is the scale of the portion of city in which the neighborhood develops. At this scale urban continuity and environmental quality shall be ensured. 3. City: it is the scale of the whole urban realm, with its macro-systems and dynamics. It is the frame which ensures the functioning of the strategy at smaller-scales. At each scale there are three main categories, where the change will take place: - urban fabric - infrastructure - landscape

The strategic resolution can be summed up as follows: [MAINTAIN – neighborhood scale] Upgrade undeveloped areas of the city such as informal settlements. - Urban fabric: maintain the morphology of the site and its spatial and architectural typologies. Redesign certain areas to allow circulation (and thus integration) and to improve public space, as well as preserving the identity of the neighborhood. - Infrastructure: provide basic facilities and services and improve the existing ones. Requalify the existing net of infrastructures and arrange new ones to allow the transit of public and private vehicles through the neighborhood. - Landscape: improve the quality of public space and green areas to ensure a 169


Maintain

Replace/ Duplic at e

Replace/ Duplic at e

Replace/ Duplic at e

Tr ansfor m

“This question of cross-scale then becomes essential to envisioning the application of interventions within the site. Scale here refers both to the dimension of size and time. The scale of the “now” calls upon projects that require quick action such as do-it-yourself projects, temporary installations, and they tend to be of small scale. The scale of the “later” on the other hand refers to planning processes that requires a lot more time for its maturation and therefore fall into the realm of the “ideal” urban plans. To be able to articulate and reorganize the existing textures within informal settlements in order to catalyze productive change requires urbanism and architecture to act in complex ways that reflect on a holistic approach. Urban, Architectural, Ecological, Social, Economic, and Cultural territories need to be considered in the application of these urban strategies.” (Carolina Uechi, Urban interventions: architecture as a mechanism of inclusion, 2014) 170


better quality of the environment and to encourage social relations. [REPLACE/DUPLICATE – urban context scale] Integrate informal neighborhood in the so-called formal city. - Urban fabric: ensure the continuity between formal and informal city by molding the new grid on both urban fabrics. The result will be a block that embodies their features combining them, in order to avoid ruptures or discontinuities. - Infrastructure: design a new net of infrastructure that is inclusive rather than exclusive, which allows a fluid transit through the different parts of the city. Overcome that infrastructure which contributes to spatial segregation by displacing them or providing them with soft public infrastructures. - Landscape: create a big system of lineal parks which to act as connectors between the consolidated city and the informal one, stimulating new relationships between the two areas. Design green infrastructure that, to improve environmental surroundings of informal settlements, and to attract people from all over the city thus encouraging the social integration of slum dwellers. [TRANSFORM – city scale] Establish a new relationship between the city and the water. - Urban fabric: allow the spontaneity of nature morphology to break the rigidness of the consolidated orthogonal urban grid. - Infrastructure: move away the infrastructure (such as the industrial harbor) that causes friction and detachment within certain areas, and congests the circulation. Improve alternative nautical infrastructure by designing a new net of landing that, to attract tourist fluxes, and establish new relationship between different parts of the city. - Landscape: ensure the continuity of the big green corridor that coincides with the waterfront, establishing a closer relationship between the city and the river. Create a system of big urban parks to requalify polluted areas thus making it possible to enjoy the riverside.

171


Green corridors’ continuity

172


4.1.1 TRANSFORM In the process of city renewal, transforming means radically changing the urban structure of a portion of land. This change affects the nature of the context and its connections with the surroundings. This transformation of the city syntax aims to redefine urbanity in terms of sustainability and ecology, with the objective of improving the environment by changing its identity. Space, energy and substratum participate to a new ecosystem, different in scale and magnitude. This new identity of the site comes from the transformed structure of the urban context which interacts with the historical city fabric as a new reference , a landmark. From the previous analysis, it appears clear that Villa 31/31 bis, and thus the port area in Retiro, call for fundamental transformation. The impasse of its condition is the result of the interstitial nature of the portion of land where the villa arose. Crashed between the railway and the port, Villa 31/31bis is an “other space�, neither belonging to the city nor to the periphery. It is a hidden reality that the city has chosen to ignore, to such an extent that a highway was built right over the people’s houses. The issue of the port area does not lie in the existence of Villa 31/31bis, unlike many have suggested. The malfunctioning of the urban structure is due to the friction between the Retiro station and Puerto Nuevo, whose incompatibility is congesting the area. Moreover, placing one of the most important port of the country in the very city center, causing an amount of traffic that the area is unable to assimilate, is at least controversial. The intention of changing the character of the area radically comes from these considerations. The transformation is articulated in several points: - To move away the port from the city center to peripheral areas, more appropriate to handle the nautical transit and the distribution of merchandise and containers to the backcountry. The magnitude of this procedures cannot fit in the centric area of Retiro which, since the construction of Puerto Nuevo at the beginning of the 20th century, has revealed to be inadequate to assimilate 173


Moving the port from the city center.

174


such traffic. The adjacent area of Campana-Zàrate, located on the north of the metropolitan area, seems to be more suitable for port activities. - To create a landscape system in the port area. The green belt which flanks the waterfront from the north to the south is interrupted in Retiro. The port area borders to the north with the big parks of Núñez and Palermo and to the south with the natural reserve Costanera Sur. The project intends to transform the port docks into an archipelago which will be a continuation of the existent natural reserve. This intervention will improve the environment and, by creating a system of islands, will make the waterfront accessible to the population while preserving it from future urban sprawl. All the port machinery will have to be dismantled, while the historical institutional buildings (such as Casa de la Moneda, Edificio Libertad, Edificio de Ferrocarriles etc.) will be maintained and inserted in the landscape system. Some significant industrial buildings (Usina Doctor Carlos Givogri, Central Termoeléctrica Puerto Nuevo and Terminal de granos Terbasa) will be maintained as well, since they are memory of the history of the site; they will be ruins of an industrial past reconquered by nature. - To create a new relation between the city and the river. Buenos Aires lacks of a proper riverfront, as the city has its backs to the River Plate. This attitude makes the city introvert, denying any contact with the natural element; that is why urban citizens are hardly aware of the river, and recognize Puerto Madero basins as the city waterfront. In the suburbs the consideration of the river is different, and districts such as Tigre, in the Delta area, show how beneficial a close relation with the environment can be. This transformation aims to change the relation of Villa 31/31bis with the surrounding city, switching its role from interstitial to central. The villa will no longer be a space of otherness but an integral part of the city fabric and the center of new developments. This change of identity will affect positively not only the settlement, but the urban context as a whole.

175


Duplicate the existing grid to ensure integration.

176


4.1.2 REPLACE/DUPLICATE The action of replacing and duplicating refers to the city-making in continuity with the context. Destinations, uses and relations are re-defined by the repetition of existent configurations, ensuring a seamless urban fabric. The syntax of previous morphology is preserved and repeated in order to ensure integration between parts. In the context of Villa 31/31bis, it is absolutely necessary to achieve continuity between the so-called formal city and the informal settlement. This morphological continuity in the city fabric implies also a substantial integration of the social realm: the informal city is no longer the “other place”, it becomes part of the urban heterogeneity belonging to the “recognized” city without losing its spontaneous identity. In order to reach the integration through repetition, the project aims to: - Continue the formal urban grid of Retiro toward Villa 31/31bis, maintaining the orthogonal fabric recognized as structural of the city. The continuity of the traditional urban configuration is fundamental in order to integrate the informal urban fabric in the dynamic of the city. The villa is surrounded by infrastructure which isolates it from the rest: this interstitial character shapes deeply its morphology, its blocks and streets. The new grid will allow people to cross the villa without perceiving interruptions and without noticing limits. One of the main obstacles for slum integration is the identification of specific borders of the settlements, which makes people avoid the area. The aim of the project is to dissolve these borders. The railways constitute the main obstacle between the formal and the informal city: the intention is to partially bury the railroads in order to overtake this barrier. - Duplicate the informal morphology to preserve the identity of the settlement. The continuity of the formal urban grid does not mean the suppression of the spontaneous identity of the site. Instead, the project aims to reproduce the informal morphology which is preferable to the rigid traditional block, as it is more porous and it encourages social activities. Informal public space 177


Integration through the landscape system.

178


typologies, such as fragmented open spaces, football pitches, passages are reproduced in the new development. The small block is preferred to the bigger one, as it intensifies the vivacity of the neighborhood. - Introduce self-construction in the new development. Auto-generation is the principal feature of the informal settlements; villa dwellers are often capable builders, and many recent experiences in informal settlements (such as Elemental residential project by Alejandro Aravena, Iquique, Chile 2004) demonstrate that taking advantage of this resource is a great opportunity. The introduction of self-construction will preserve the picturesque identity of the site while allowing families to expand their houses according to their resources. The replacing/duplicating metabolic strategy acts to a lower scale and affects the urban grid and secondary infrastructure. Since the removing of informal settlements and relocating its dwellers in other city areas has been proved ineffective and prejudicial, the project aims to develop the city around the slum by preserving and reproducing both formal and informal morphologies.

4.1.3 MAINTAIN Maintaining means preserving the urban existent morphology in its features, and improving it in time. It is an immediate action that interest every urban context, and it takes place especially at the small scale. The genetics of the context remains unaltered and the intervention respects the syntax on the urban form. The very first needs to supply in Villa 31/31bis are urbanization, basic services and public space. Assuming that in an desirable future the city will take care of the primary facilities, the project provides better quality of the public spaces inside the settlement and proper infrastructure. Maintaining strategy aims to: - Enlarge the existent public space in the villa. The compactness of the informal 179


Maintaining operations

0 100

200

500m

180


settlement lacks of publice spaces, which are often too small and deteriorated. The intention is to multiply the quantity of thes areas and to improve the existent ones, by maintaining their fragmented and scattered character. The most ruined buildings will be replaced by tot-lots and little green areas which will give breath to the narrow alleys. The multiplication of this small public spaces will encourage furthermore the socialization of the neighbors and give quality to the built environment. - Increase the amount of services in the settlement. Public facilities are fundamental in developing realities. Until now the community has took charge of all the necessities of the villas dwellers. The long branches of park that connect the formal city with the archipelago will host services and facilities which will act also as attractors for formal citizens. If the villa become place of social events and leisure activities, it will improve furthermore the integration and interchange between the neighborhoods. - Improve the circulation in the villa. In informal settlements circulation is always problematic. Since buildings arose spontaneously, too little space is left to the streets and transit is often impossible. While many passages and streets are maintained pedestrian, it has been necessary to open larger street across the settlement to allow the transit of ambulances, fire track and public transport, a part from private vehicles. To allow the circulation across the villa also means to make it passable by everybody and therefore to exorcize the stigmatization that makes villas miseria prohibitive areas. The maintaining strategy in the form of urban acupuncture contemplate smallscale interventions to transform the larger urban context. These practice will preserve the substantial morphology of the settlement and will act within the informal code, adopting its methodology and its expressions.

181


Tr ansform

Replace/D upli c ate

Maintain

Inte g r ate

Improve

C onne c t

Metabolic strategies

0

1

2

5km

182


4.2 URBAN STRATEGY

The project for Villa 31/31bis aims to establish a methodology of intervention that can be adopted, with the proper adjustments, to every informal settlements in Buenos Aires, since this work comes from a global analysis of the informal issue along with the awareness of the peculiarity of the site. This project is part of an urban strategy which includes the whole city, and it belongs to a multi-scalar system which defines different plans of intervention for different scales. At the larger scale the project deals with three main targets: integration, improvement, connections.

4.2.1 INTEGRATE Integration is the main purpose of this project. Integration between formal and informal city cannot be achieved by focusing on a specific area only, but it requires a more complex urban strategy which considers the city in its whole. Beyond a response for the immediate necessities of informal settlements which are compelling and need to be granted immediately, a project should be a scenario for the future, a long term strategy that seeks to establish a methodology for an eventual coalescence. What does integration mean? First of all it is the creation of a cohesive community which recognizes itself as part of the same system while respecting its inner differences and heterogeneity. A heterogeneous system doesn’t have to be fragmented and disjointed. Integration means that there are no longer segregated areas which host a significant part of the population, excluded by the urban city and ignored by urban politics. Integration means dismantling the stigmatization that identifies

183


Integrate

184


informal settlements as dangerous and hopeless neighborhoods: criminality and violence that actually exist in slums are highly strengthen by this prejudice. Physical segregation is the prelude of social exclusion. Inaccessible areas are destined to become ghettos, where only dwellers can enter. This impedes the chance of socialization and integration almost completely, and prevents the empathy of the citizens and the claim for a change. Nowadays informal settlements are delimitated by specific borders, sometimes by physical intentional barriers (such as the wall in Villa 31/31bis) and this leads the population to recognize some parts of the city as prohibitive. There are several strategies than we can employ to achieve integration: - The creation of a multi-scalar infrastructure that not only serve certain areas of the city bypassing some others. To create a net of capillary yet efficient connections which allows everybody to reach every part of the city. To improve that infrastructure wich connect rather than segregate. - To create a net of public services and facilities that serves not only the local community but also the surrounding neighbors. Educational, leisure and social facilities are the places where population interact, and so are the parks and public spaces. - By improving the public spaces the project will achieve an integrated public realm. Public space should be a connector through the different neighborhoods and not a buffer zone that “protects� the formal city from the informal one. The case of Villa 31/31bis is exemplar: the big parks of Retiro, fenced and strictly regulated, act as buffer zone and are recognized as the edge of the city, beyond which there is nothing. Instead, public space should be a link between communities where they meet and get to know each other by sharing the same recreational area. Integration passes through the three metabolic actions mentioned before: - Transform: change radically those elements which are an obstacle to the urban cohesion, by transforming the structure of their syntax and giving them 185


Improve

186


a new role. - Duplicate: recognize which aspects of different parts of the city encourage integration and repeat them creating a hybrid system that blurs the borders between formal and informal. Maintain: improve the existing urban fabric by preserving its original features and respecting its morphology, in order to preserve its identity in the process of integration.

4.2.2 IMPROVE Besides integration, the project aims to improve the quality of both formal and informal city. The traditional city fabric counts on established services but it totally lacks flexibility, a fundamental feature in creating an inclusive system. The improvement of the traditional city fabric can overcome such rigidity by applying an organic landscape system. This will led not only to a better environment but also to a comprehensive urban structure. Improving allows to enrich a site with strong and highly recognizable elements which act as landmarks and strengthen the identity of the context. This way, landscape act as significant ground of the urban syntax. By improve and environment we can achieve its sustainability, from every point of view: natural, social and economic. The functioning of this ecosystem ensures equilibrium between parts, and the inclusion of everybody in the city making. By creating a green corridor in the southern part of the city, along Riachuelo river, the project aims to achieve: - The requalification of the polluted river, as until now it has been used as a draining system by the industry it is saturated of effluents. The establishment of a park will recreate an ecosystem and contribute to the cleaning of the areas. - The redevelopment of the riverfront which will be accessible to everybody 187


Connect

188


and the creation of a recreation area, dedicated to sporting and leisure activities such as cycling for people to enjoy. The rehabilitation of the role of the river which has been a privileged infrastructure in the past but it has been recently converted into an inaccessible landfill. - The creation of a touristic attraction that will improve the quality of the surroundings areas and boost a new economic impulse. Southern districts will lose their connotation of dangerous, degraded and undistinguished areas. The park will replace abandoned industrial fabric and will give a better use to those crumbling blocks. Industry that is still productive will have to be more efficient and to create a synergy with the natural element to further reduce their impact on the ecosystem (the project proposes strategies such as vertical industry, water treatment, renewable energy plants etc.). The park will also act as a buffer zone for absorbing floods that endanger the informal settlements located next to the river. Floodable green areas will protect surroundings neighborhoods. Improved informal settlements can also become attractors for people looking for authentic scenarios of Buenos Aires. From this point of view, Boca is an exemplar case: although it is still a problematic neighborhood, it has become an icon of the city and it has taken significant advantage from tourists fascinated by its colorful buildings, local handicraft, picturesque environment. On the other hand tourism has also compromised its authenticity. If tourist attractions are to spread all over the south of the city, visitors will not be a threat to the identity of the settlements, nevertheless the neighbors will still have benefit from them. 4.2.3 CONNECT Infrastructure is crucial in the integration process. The inclusion or exclusion of certain areas depends almost completely on its connection with the surroundings. The great majority of informal settlements is not included in public transport routes and lacks paved roads. In Buenos Aires, as in many other cities, many slums arose in the proximity of big infrastructure, on lands 189


Total

190


not designated for residential use and that nobody is likely to claim. Settlements like Villa 31/31bis are surrounded by main infrastructure, but they don’t benefit from it at all, on the contrary it is the principal cause of its exclusion. The role of infrastructure in the informal question has to change significantly: - Infrastructure should be connector rather than divider: in order to convert infrastructure into tools for democracy, it is fundamental to stratify the urban synapses. - Multi-scalar connectors should be designed to ensure the access to the city center to everybody, while developing new centralities. The monocentric structure of the city of Buenos Aires makes the public transportation slow as well as the negligence toward certain areas. A polycentric structure will improve the dynamism of such areas and reduce the gap between the city center and the suburbs. - Public transport and affordable infrastructure are crucial in the democratic process and should be improved especially in problematic areas. The growth of private transport and the large city investments in highways have been responsible for the supremacy of some districts over some others. In Buenos Aires there is an extensive network of railroads but many of them are abandoned. By revitalizing those connections the project will not only link southern districts with the city center, but it will also give them new impulse and place get them out of their current subordinate position. - The need for sustainability advocates the improvement of alternative transportation infrastructure such as bike paths and nautical itinerates. The widespread of small landings along the River Plate and the Riachuelo will establish a new relationship between the city and the water. Boats will no longer be a touristic diversion only but they will be used by the citizens as in happens in the Delta area in the north of the city.

191


192


5

MANIFESTO

193


Manifesto

194


195


Historical grid

196


Peatona Paths

197


Green Pathsd

198


Landscape system

199


Morphology

200


Total

201


202


6

GLOSSARY

203


Nolli Map of Rome, 1748.

204


ACCESSIBLE accessible (adj.) “1. easy to approach, enter, use, or understand [...] 3. obtainable; available. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Accessibility can be defined as “the potential of opportunities for interaction”, the opportunities that are available to individuals. The understanding of accessibility that begun as a simple notion of a link between transportation and land use has grown in complexity and now provides a very accurate representation of urban relations. [...] the key elements of accessibility are: the spatial distribution of opportunities, the mobility provided by the transportation system, the temporal constraints of individuals and activities, and the individual characteristics of people.[...]” (Tatiana Peralta Quirós, Accessibility analysis of growth patterns in Buenos Aires, density, employment and spatial form, 2014) 205


Small block diagrams Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Greate American Cities, 1961.

206


BLOCK block (noun) [C14: from Old French bloc, from Dutch blok; related to Old High German bloh] “[...] 5. a form on which things are shaped or displayed [...] 9. a large building of offices, flats, etc. 10. a. a group of buildings in a city bounded by intersecting streets on each side b. the area or distance between such intersecting streets [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“To generate exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts four conditions are indispensable: 1. The district, and indeed as many of its internal parts as possible, must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two. 2. Most blocks must be short; that is, streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent. 3. The district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce. This mingling must be fairly close-grained. 4. There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people, for whatever purposes they may be there.” (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961)

207


Diagrammatic analysis, 26’10 South Architects, 2009

208


CODE code (noun)

[C14: from French, from Latin cōdex book, codex]

“1. a system of letters or symbols, and rules for their association by means of which information can be represented or communicated for reasons of secrecy, brevity, etc. [...] 4. a conventionalized set of principles, rules, or expectations [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

code (verb) “1. to translate, transmit, or arrange into a code [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“A code is like an ideological prospect, constantly shifting its position of view, costantly being produces, constantly seeking to compare itself to the conceptual possibilities of other codes. And architecture is therefore not confined to its own narrow idiolect of design, but rather transcodes between design and non-design, throwing discursive forces into multi play.” (Michael Hays, Architecture Theory Since 1968, 2000)

209


Neighborhoods of Villa 31 building themselves a water drenage system. Source: author.

210


COMMUNITY Community (Noun) [C14: from Latin commūnitās, from commūnis common] “[…]2. a group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic, or other characteristics in common.[...] 5. common ownership or participation.” (Collins English Dictionary)

“There are two ways of organizing social space. The first aims at a single, predetermined objective. It is authoritarian, rational, and reductive. It corresponds to the desire to control events and people on the part of those whose task it is to conceive, organize, and produce [...] Some people like this. It corresponds to a wish to manipulate and be manipulated. The other way of making social space [...] is a living process which imparts only key centers of activity in a clear spatial configuration and with an intensity of form and meaning that favors (and expresses) what we believe essential: living relationships and activities that spring from diversity, unexpected initiatives, and above all, that something in social man that leads to the creation of community.” (Kroll, Anarchitecture in The Scope of SocialArchitecture, 1984)

211


Archizoom, No Stop City, 1970

212


CONTINUITY Continuity (Noun) “1. logical sequence, cohesion, or connection. 2. a continuous or connected whole[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“We pursue the parametric design paradigm all the way, penetrating into all corners of the discipline. Systematic, adaptive variation, continuous differentiation (rather than mere variety), and dynamic, parametric figuration concerns all design tasks from urbanism to the level of tectonic detail, interior furnishings and the world of products. Architecture finds itself at the mid-point of an ongoing cycle of innovative adaptation – retooling the discipline and adapting the architectural and urban environment to the socio-economic era of post-fordism. The mass society that was characterized by a single, nearly universal consumption standard has evolved into the heterogenous society of the multitude. The key issues that avant-garde architecture and urbanism should be addressing can be summarized in the slogan: organising and articulating the increased complexity of post-fordist society. The task is to develop an architectural and urban repertoire that is geared up to create complex, polycentric urban and architectural fields which are densely layered and continuously differentiated.” (Schumacher, Parametricism Manifesto, 2008)

213


Jana Stýblová, Often Minimal, 2013

214


CORRIDOR Corridor (Noun) [C16: from Old French, from Old Italian corridore, literally: place foR running, from correre to run, from Latincurrere ] “1. a hallway or passage connecting parts of a building. 2. a strip of land or airspace along the route of a road or river.[…]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“1.Long area of lad.[…]” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English)

“Infrastructure, no longer belongs in the exclusive realm of engineers and transportation planners. In the context of our rapidly changing cities and towns, infrastructure is experiencing a paradigm shift where multiple-use programming and the integration of latent ecologies is a primary consideration. Defining contemporary infrastructure requires a multi-disciplinary team of landscape architects, engineers, architects and planners to fully realize the benefits to our cultural and natural systems.” (Gerdo Aquino, Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA, 2013)

215


House in Villa 31bis; on the background skycrapers of Retiro. Source: Cia31bism107’s Blog

216


DEMOCRACY Democracy (Noun) [C16: from French démocratie, from Late Latin dēmocratia, from Greek dēmokratia government by the people] “[…] 2. a political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members. 3. the practice or spirit of social equality.[...] 5. the common people, esp as a political force.” (Collins English Dictionary)

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. (Aristotle, Politics)

“[...] To believe in a democratic culture is to oppose a mentality of submission or dependency. To rethink social solidarity is to leave behind the pessimism of poverty, defending the dignity of the poorest in partnership with an active citizenry in multicultural, tolerant 21st century cities. To build these cities is a courageous challenge. It is also our human duty.” (Françoise Lieberherr-Gardiol, Slum upgrading and participation: lessons from Latin America, 2003) 217


L谩szl贸 MoholyNagy, Photogram, 1924

218


DEVELOPMENT Development (Noun) “1. the act or process of growing, progressing, or developing.[...] 4. an area or tract of land that has been developed.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“The debate over the word ‘development’ is not merely a question of words. Whether one likes it or not, one can’t make development different from what it has been. Development has been and still is the Westernisation of the world.” (Latouche, In the Wakeof the AffluentSociety: An Explorationof Post-Development, 1993)

“With the timely arrival of development, the term ‘progress’ was subsequently applied only to what the self-designated First World had already achieved and to the infinite potential conquests still to be secured through its economy, science and technology, and not yet available to the rest of the world. The Third World had to develop first – before even thinking about real progress. The term ‘development’ would be one in a series of words to describe – and rally people to – the ever more elusive path of progress. Only a path, not an arrival – and one, for that matter, that would be proved utterly inadequate.” (Truman)

219


Jana Stýblová, Often Minimal, 2013

220


DUPLICATE Duplicate (adjective) + plicāre to fold]

[C15: from Latin duplicāre to double, from duo two

“1. copied exactly from an original.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

Duplicate (Noun) “[...] 5. something additional or supplementary of the same kind[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Baudrillard says that a simulation threatens the difference between the true and false, the real and the imaginary. Every duplication of a simulated object creates more simulation without the possibility of returning to representations. If a story is built on falsity it cannot regain its truth by continuing to duplicate a false rendition of truth. When symbol is taken out of its context and broken down into miniaturised cells and parts and things that cannot be controlled and can be reproduced infinite times from there, the dimension of simulation ignites. A symbol tries to take the characteristics of something and reproduces them to make a clone of the entire object. The problem is that no symbol can ever completely represent the original. In the same way, the visual environment broken down into manageable parts to be described and represented can never completely capture the context and the experience of the original. The use of multiple signs and recurring signs creates a space where the real image can no longer exist, according to Baudrillard. This recurrence over time makes the real no longer distinguishable from the simulation.” (Kevin Paul Mahan, It Was and It Isn’t, 2008)

221


Oteiza, Desocupaci贸n De La Esfera, 1958

222


ECOLOGY Ecology (Noun) [C19: from German Ökologie, from Greek oikos house (hence, environment) “1. the branch of biology dealing with the relations between living things and their environment. 2. the set of relationships between organisms and their environment. 3. the act or policy of calling for protection of the air, water, and other natural resources from pollution or its effects.” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English)

“[...] 3. the study of the relationships between human groups and their physical environment.” (Collins English Dictionary)

“As environmentalism became a matter of political consensus dominated by professional environmentalists, ecology lost its subversive edge. Environmental science departments mushroomed in academia [...] but it was not a subversive ecology that questioned fundamental values of economics, consumer habits, and techno-scientific control. It represented an engineering mentality in which problems of waste, pollution, population, biodiversity and the toxic environment could be solved scientifically.” (Rachel Carson, Silent Spring: A Brief History of Ecology as a Subversive Subject, 1960)

223


Jana Stýblová, Often Minimal, 2013

224


EXCLUSION Exclusion (Noun) “1. the act or an instance of excluding or the state of being excluded [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“[...] Thus, social exclusion is a very contested concept, not least of all because of the considerable slippage between its colloquial and analytical, or political meaning and application. There is a neo-liberal perspective that sees social exclusion as an unfortunate but inevitable side effect of global economic realignment. This perspective emerges from debates on the moral and cultural causes of poverty and social disadvantage.” (Jo Beall,Owen Crankshaw, Susan Parnell, Uniting a Divided City, 2002)

225


Jana Stýblová, Often Minimal, 2013

226


FABRIC Fabric (Noun)

[C15: from Latin fabrica workshop, from faber craftsman]

“[...]3. a structure or framework . 4. a style or method of construction. 5. (rare) a building.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“The edge of a city cannot be redesigned within a basic typological repertoire but instead the evolution of the traditional urban fabric should be considered together with the architectural models that have been used to design urban connections, investigating especially the contextual deformations applied to these models.” (Alessandro Camiz, New Urban Configurations, 2014)

227


Shape 47, Cal Dean, 2013

228


FORMAL formal (adj.)

[C14: from Latin formālis]

“1. of, according to, or following established or prescribed forms, conventions, etc. [...] 7. regular or symmetrical in form. 8. of or relating to the appearance, form, etc, of something as distinguished from its substance. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“[...] 7. made or done in accordance with procedures that make sure something is valid or proper. 8. of, relating to, or emphasizing the organization, form, or shape in the parts of a work of art, writing, or music. [...]” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English)

“[...] In architectural speech, the formal stands for the buildings that have been designed by architects and the parts of cities that have been planned. The ‘informal’, on the other hand, is all the rest: the buildings and parts of cities that have developed without the participation of architects. In architecture, then, informal is a derogatory term used to dismiss anything that escapes the realm and control of the architect. Therefore, it can be affirmed that the term formal represents a spatial abstraction created in order to disavow other forms of space conceived within or outside it. As a result, so-called formal space aims at the elimination of differences, even its own internal differences and the historical conditions that gave rise to them, in an attempt to present itself as homogeneous and confirm its legitimacy. [...]” (Felipe Hernández, Peter William Kellett, Lea K. Allen, Rethinking the Informal City: Critical Perspectives from Latin America)

229


Palermo district, Buenos Aires, Source: Author

230


GENTRIFICATION Gentrification (Noun) “a process by which middle-class people take up residence in a traditionally working-class area of a city, changing the character of the area.” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Gentrification was initially understood as the rehabilitation of decaying and low- income housing by middle-class outsiders in central cities. In the late 1970s a broader conceptualization of the process began to emerge, and by the early 1980s new scholar- ship had developed a far broader meaning of gentrification, linking it with processes of spatial, economic and social restructuring.” (Sassen, The Global City: New York, London and Tokyo, 1991)

“If we look back at the attempted definitions of gentrification, it should be clear that we are concerned with a process much broader than merely residential rehabilitation […] As the process has continued, it has become increasingly apparent that residential rehabilitation is only one facet [...] of a more profound economic, social, and spatial restructuring. In reality, residential gentrification is integrally linked to the redevelopment of urban waterfronts for recreational and other functions, the decline of remaining inner-city manufacturing facilities, the rise of hotel and convention complexes and central-city office developments, as well as the emergence of modern “trendy” retail and restaurant districts [...] Gentrification is a visible spatial component of this social transformation. A highly dynamic process, it is not amenable to overly restrictive definitions.” (Smith and Williams, Alternatives to orthodoxy: invitation to a debate. In Gentrification of the City, 1986)

231


Los Angeles, X-Urbanism, Mario Gandelsonas (1999)

232


GRID grid (noun)

[C19: back formation from gridiron]

“[...]8. any interconnecting system of links [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“[...] 2. a network of evenly spaced lines running up and down and left to right, for locating points on a map, chart, building plan, or aerial photograph by means of a system of coordinates. [...] 8. any interconnecting system of links. [...]” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English)

“The grid also allowed for the abstraction and standardization critical for the development (and assimilation) of cast iron construction in architecture. Out of Durand were born the forms of the arcades, exhibition halls, and railway stations of the mid century as well as the public monuments of a hegemonic bourgeoisie.” (Vidler, The Idea Of Type: The Transformation of an Academic Idea 1750-1830, 1977)

233


Fernando Zobel, Untitled, 1961

234


HARBOR Harbor (Noun) [Old English herebeorg, from here troop, army + beorg shelter; related to Old High German heriberga hostelry, Old Norse herbergi] “1. a sheltered port. 2. a place of refuge or safety.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

Harbour (Verb) “[...] 3. (transitive) to give shelter to. 4. (transitive) to maintain secretly.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disppointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

235


Sculpture Pavilion, Aldo Van Eyck, 1966

236


INCLUSION Inclusion (Noun) “ 1. the act of including or the state of being included. 2. Something included. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“ [...] the relationship between two sets when the second is a subset of the first.” (Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English)

“[...] Inclusion is about empowering the marginalized. Inclusion is looking at the disadvantaged groups, normally women, young people nowadays, the youth. In many of the developing countries, 60 per cent of the people are below 30 years old. So if you do not really have clear soci-economic policies to include them, to provide them with livelihoods, to provide them with education and vocational training, how will they improve their lot? Inclusion is about also distributing national wealth because, regrettably of course, under rapid globalization and liberalization there has been a tendency for economic growth accompanied by inequality.[...]” (Anna Tibaijuka, Interview with Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director)

237


Pablo Palazuelo

238


INFORMAL Informal (adjective) “1. not of a formal, official, or stiffly conventional nature. 2. appropriate to everyday life or use.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“1. not according to prescribed or fixed customs, rules, ceremonies, etc. [...]” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English)

“[...] In many parts of the world, the site of new informality is the rural/urban interface. Indeed, it can be argued that metropolitan expansion is being driven by informal urbanization [...] Informality at first glance seems to be a land use problem and it is thus often managed through attempts to restore “order” to the urban landscape or to bring it into the fold of formal markets. However [...] it can be argued that the more fundamental issue at stake in informality is that of wealth distribution and unequal property ownership, of what sorts of markets are at work in our cities and how they shape or limit affordability. In this sense, the study of informality provides an important lesson for planners in the tricky dilemmas of social justice. [...] To deal with informality therefore partly means confronting how the apparatus of planning produces the unplanned and unplannable. [...] Informality can be seen as a pattern for urbanization instead of versus formal sector, providing a promising resource instead of a catastrophe.” (Roy, Urban informality: toward an epistemology of planning, 2005)

239


240


INFRASTRUCTURE Infraestructure (Noun) “1. the basic structure of an organization, system, etc. 2. the stock of fixed capital equipment in a country, including factories, roads, schools, etc, considered as a determinant of economic growth.” (Collins English Dictionary)

“1. A substructure or underlying foundation; esp., the basic installations and facilities on which the continuance and growth of a community, state, etc. depend, as roads, schools, power plants, transportation and communication systems, etc.” (American English Dictionary)

“You cannot separate the buildings out from the infrastructure of cites and the mobility of transit.” (Norman Foster) “What defines a modern city? When I was 12, I saw a picture of Brasilia in Time and it triggered me to be an architect. It sugges­ted that through architecture you can control cities. But cities are reaching a new scale and a level of organisation where architecture has to recede in terms of its claims. Infrastructure is much more important than architecture.” (Rem Koolhaas)

241


Crossroads, Tassia Bianchini, 2014

242


INTEGRATE Integrate (Verb) [L integratus, pp. of integrare, to make whole, renew < integer] “[...] 3. to amalgamate or mix (a racial or religious group) with an existing community.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“1. to make whole or complete by adding or bringing together parts. 2. to put or bring (parts) together into a whole; unify. [...] 4. to remove the legal and social barriers imposing segregation upon (racial groups) so as to permit free and equal association. 5. to abolish segregation in; desegregate (a school, neighborhood, etc.)[...]” (American English Dictionary)

“The approach of the “Situationist” in architecture [...] consists of pre-occupying oneself with the first object one comes across, at random and carefully noting its personal characteristics in order to be able to integrate it into a general context without destroying it or reducing it to a semi-abstraction. “ (Sadler, The Situationist City,1999)

243


Double Torqued Ellipse II, Richard Serra, 1998

244


INTERSTITIAL Interstitial. (adjetive) “[...] 4. occurring in the spaces between organs, tissues, etc[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“1. of, forming, or occurring in interstices. 2. situated between the cellular components of an organ or structure.[...]” (American English Dictionary)

“Existing urban forms can be used to inform greater architectural understandings beyond the reuse of a single building. An index of the smallest interstitial places leads to an interconnected understanding of the space between houses. The smallest organisations of space expand their influence back out to affect the urban, with interstitial void acting as a basis for a new understanding of Metabolism.” (Thomas Schröpfer, Ecological Urban Architecture: Qualitative Approaches to Sustainability, 2012) 245


Head, Alberto Giacometti, 1928

246


MAINTAIN Maintain (Verb) [C13: from Old French maintenir, ultimately from Latin manū tenēre to hold in the hand] “1. to continue or retain; keep in existence.2. to keep in proper or good condition. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Place serves as an external memory for people’s place-related aspects of their self-identity, called place identity. The function of place-identity is to regulate (stabilize and develop) people’s self-identity [...] This regulating function of place for people’s identity is crucial, because self-identity is a very unstable and at the same time existential cognitive construct constituted by social interac-tions and thus threatened by external changes (in relationships, resources) or internal changes (in confidence, anxieties) [...] Places, and especially residential places, are suited to serve as external memories of people’s place-related identity because they form the sceneries of people’s (everyday) social interactions.” (Marcel Hunziker, Matthias Buchecker and Terry Hartig, Space and Place – Two Aspects of the Human-landscape Relationship, 2015)

247


Chillida, A peu pell libre, 1994

248


METABOLISM Metabolism (Noun) [C19: from Greek metabolē change, from metaballein to change, from meta- + ballein to throw] “1. the sum total of the chemical processes that occur in living organisms, resulting in growth, production of energy, elimination of waste material, etc. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Metabolism is the name of the group, in which each member proposes further designs of our coming world through his concrete designs and illustrations. We regard human society as a vital process - a continuous development from atom to nebula. The reason why we use such a biological word, metabolism, is that we believe design and technology should be a denotation of human society. We are not going to accept metabolism as a natural process, but try to encourage active metabolic development of our society through our proposals.” (Lin, Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement, 2010)

“Our constructive age [...] will be the age of high metabolism. Order is born from chaos, and chaos from order. Extinction is the same as creation [...] We hope to create something which, even in destruction will cause subsequent new creation. This something must be found in the form of the cities we were going to make – cities constantly undergoing the process of metabolism.” (Noboru Kawazoe, Proposals for a New Urbanism, 1960)

249


Pablo Palazuelo, Untitled, 1991

250


PARK Park (noun) [C13: from Old French parc, from Medieval Latin parricus enclosure, from Germanic; compare Old High German pfarrih pen, Old English pearruc paddock] “1. a large area of land preserved in a natural state for recreational use by the public. 2. a piece of open land in a town with public amenities.[...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“[...] 3. an area of public land; - an area in or near a city, usually laid out with walks, drives, playgrounds, etc., for public recreation; -an open square in a city, with benches, trees, etc; -a large area known for its natural scenery and preserved for public recreation by a state or national government.[...]” (American English Dictionary)

“You can neither lie to a neighbourhood park, nor reason with it. ‘Artist’s conceptions’ and persuasive renderings can put pictures of life into proposed neighbourhood parks or park malls, and verbal rationalizations can conjure up users who ought to appreciate them, but in real life only diverse surroundings have the practical power of inducing a natural, continuing flow of life and use.” (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961)

“Objects in a park suggest static repose rather than any ongoing dialectic. Parks are finished landscapes for finished art.” (Robert Smithson)

251


Levels of participation, Goethert (1998)

252


PARTICIPATE Participate (Verb) to take]

[C16: from Latin participāre, from pars part + capere

“1. (intransitive) often foll by in to take part, be or become actively involved, or share (in)” (Collins English Dictionary)

“1. to have or take a part or share with others (in some activity, enterprise, etc.) [...]” (American English Dictionary)

“Participation is a process in which people, and especially disadvantaged people, influence resource allocation and policy and program formulation and implementation, and are involved at different levels and degrees of intensity in the identification, timing, planning, design, implementation, evaluation, and postimplementation stages of development projects.[...]” (Ivo Imparato and Jeff Ruster, Slum upgrading and participation: lessons from Latin America, 2003)

“Participation is essential for sustainable development. If stakeholders help make decisions at all stages of the Project cycle, then development problems are more Likely to be understood in their entirety and solutions are likely to be more effective. However, participation is not a panacea; it cannot substitute for sound technical and financial project design.” (Inter-American Development Bank, Why Is Participation Important?, Resource Book on Participation , 1997)

253


Chillida, Homenaje a J.M.Barrandiarรกn II, 1994

254


PERIPHERY Periphery (Noun) peri- + pherein to bear]

[C16: from Late Latin peripherīa, from Greek, from

1. the outermost boundary of an area. 2. the outside surface of something. [...] (Collins English Dictionary)

[...] 3. surrounding space or area; outer parts; environs or outskirts.[...] (American English Dictionary)

“How do we transform the periphery? It’s not just about form, it’s about content. The real trouble is that these urban peripheries are monofunctional, they’re all about just one mode, production or business or housing. But after the city’s big explosion, now we’re seeing it start to implode. I like the idea that sustainable growth is about implosion not explosion.” (Renzo Piano)

255


Eduardo Chillida, The Basque Liberties Plaza, 1980

256


PLAZA Plaza (Noun) [C17: from Spanish, from Latin platēa courtyard, from Greek plateia; see place] “1. an open space or square, esp in Spain or a Spanish-speaking country. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

1. a public square or marketplace in a city or town; -an open area, usually paved, between a building and the street or another building, often having statues, shrubs, etc. [...]” (American English Dictionary)

“A good plaza starts at the street corner. If it’s a busy corner, it has a brisk social life of its own. People will not just be waiting there for the light to change. Some will be fixed in conversation; others in some phase of a prolonged goodbye. If there’s a vendor at the corner, people will cluster around him, and there will be considerable two-way traffic back and forth between plaza and corner. […] The area where the street and plaza or open space meet is key to success or failure. Ideally, the transition should be such that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. New York’s Paley Park is one of the best examples. The sidewalk in front is an integral part of the park. An arborlike foliage of trees extends over the sidewalk. There are urns of flowers and the curb and, on either side of the steps, curved sitting ledges. In this foyer you can usually find somebody waiting for someone else — it is a convenient rendezvous point — people sitting on the ledges, and, in the middle of the entrance, several people in conversation.” (William H. Whyte, The social life of small urban spaces, 1980)

257


Fontana, Spatial Concept, 1949

258


POROSITY Porosity (Noun) [C14: from Medieval Latin porōsitās, from Late Latin porus pore2] “1. the state or condition of being porous.2 (geology) the ratio of the volume of space to the total volume of a rock.”

“Porosity is a transversal and transcalar concept: ecological, concerning mobility and social issues, epistemological. The porous city is a common image on which exchanges among disciplines, actors and individuals can be built. [...]” (Pickett, Resilience in Ecology and Urban Design: Linking Theory and Practice for Sustainable Cities, 2013)

259


Courtyard in Villa Soldati. Source: Author

260


PRIVATE Private (adjetive) [C14: from Latin prīvātus belonging to one individual, withdrawn from public life, from prīvāre to deprive, bereave] 1. not widely or publicly known.[...] 3. not for general or public use.[...] 7. of, relating to, or provided by a private individual or organization, rather than by the state or a public body.8 (of a place) retired; sequestered; not overlooked.[...] (Collins English Dictionary)

“A city street equipped to handle strangers, and to make a safety asset, in itself, our of the presence of strangers, as the streets of successful city neighborhoods always do, must have three main qualities: First, there must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects. [...]” (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961)

261


Paul Klee, Beflaggter Pavillon, 1927

262


PUBLIC Public (adjective) [C15: from Latin pūblicus, changed from pōplicus of the people, from populus people] 1. of, relating to, or concerning the people as a whole. 2. open or accessible to all .[...] (Collins English Dictionary)

Public (Noun) [...] 8. the community or people in general. 9. a part or section of the community grouped because of a common interest, activity, etc (Collins English Dictionary)

“Public space is the city.” (Oriol Bohigas)

“Architecture is about public space held by buildings.” (Richard Rogers)

“The least a democratic society should do is offer people wonderful public spaces. Public spaces are not a frivolity. They are just as important as hospitals and schools. They create a sense of belonging. This creates a different type of society – a society where people of all income levels meet in public space is a more integrated, socially healthier one.” (Enrique Penalosa)

“The measure of any great civilization is in its cities, and the measure of a city’s greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and squares.” (John Ruskin)

263


Cretto, Alberto Burri, 1989

264


REPLACE Replace (Verb) “1. to take the place of; supersede. 2. to substitute a person or thing for (another which has ceased to fulfil its function); put in place of .3. to put back or return; restore to its rightful place.” (Collins English Dictionary)

“The city is constantly changing (even to stay the same), it is a city that does not necessarily hold together, a city that is both little and large (since the idea of scale is replaced by the idea of partially connected networks), a city that is... a set of diverse, interacting, practical orders in which the interaction is more important than the other.” (Nigel Thrift, Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect, 2007)

265


Erbil, Iraq.

266


SETTLEMENT Settlement (Noun) [...] 2. the establishment of a new region; colonization. 3. a place newly settled; colony. 4. a collection of dwellings forming a community, esp on a frontier.[...] (Collins English Dictionary)

“The worst enemy of modern architecture is the idea of space considered solely in terms of its economic and technical exigencies indifferent to the ideas of the site. Indeed, through the concept of the site and the principle of settlement, the environment becomes the essence of architectural production� (Gregotti, The Settlement Principle, 1979)

267


Masouleh, Iran.

268


SLUM Slum

[C19: originally slang, of obscure origin]

1. a squalid overcrowded house, etc. 2. (often plural) a squalid section of a city, characterized by inferior living conditions and usually by overcrowding. 3. (modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of slums. (Collins English Dictionary)

“We could define the slums as mass urbanizations (or auto-urbanizations), result of the occupation of vacant urban land producing irregular urban forms. [...]”. (Maria Cristina Cravino, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, 2011)

“[...]Slums and urban poverty are not just a manifestation of population explosion and demographic change, or even of the vast impersonal forces of globalization. Slums must be seen as the result of failed policies, bad governance, corruption, inappropriate regulation, dysfunctional land markets, unresponsive financial systems, and a fundamental lack of political will. Each of these failures adds to the load on people already burdened by poverty. It further constrains the enormous opportunity for human development that urban life offers. Strategies to deal with slums need to consider much more than the provision of housing and physical services. They involve governance, political will, ownership and rights, social capital and access. Not to forget planning, coordination and partnerships. Success in managing slum growth is not an accident. It requires sound urban planning that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. It also requires innovation both in institutional performance and in inclusive policies.[...]”

(Statement by Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT on the occasion of the high level segment of the Tripartite ACP/ EC/UN-HABITAT conference in Nairobi, Kenya, 10 June 2009) 269


Chillida, Rumor de lĂ­mites IV, 1959

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SPONTANEOUS Spontaneus ( adjective) sponte voluntarily]

[C17: from Late Latin spontāneus, from Latin

1. occurring, produced, or performed through natural processes without external influence. 2. arising from an unforced personal impulse; voluntary; unpremeditated .3. growing naturally; indigenous. (Collins English Dictionary)

“Spontaneity is the origin of all cities.” (Jorge Lestard)

“[...] A living city will provide places for play and wildness that could even encourage their spontaneous eruption. With the conquest of urban restructuring by irrational rationalism, situationists were faced with a significant challenge to their early projects for maintaining the existing city as a dynamic, unified and diverse place of mystery and spontaneity, well suited to the perpetual play of drifting. Each subsequent event of so-called urban renewal, or the structuring of new cities and peripheries, further diminished their field of operation by dulling the city.” (Nathaniel Coleman, Utopias and Architecture, 2005)

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Break Wall, Eyal Gever, 2012

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TRANSFORM Transform (Verb) [C14: from Latin transformāre, from trans- + formāre to form] 1. to alter or be altered radically in form, function, etc. 2. (transitive) to convert (one form of energy) to another form. (Collins English Dictionary)

“The interrelationship of landscape and the city has undergone a formal and philosophical transformation over more than five hundred years: from landscape and the city during the Renaissance, to landscape in the city during the 19th century, to city in the landscape in the 20th century, and, finally, to landscape as the city in our time. This transformation, from an urbanism conceived as physically distinct from its surrounding agricultural and wild natures, to one of a boundless horizontal spread, has weakened the cultural idea of the city as the center of community life and turned nature intı a pictorial setting.” (Micheal Dennis, Alistair McIntosh, Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents: Dissimulating the Sustainable City, 2013) 273


Urban-Think Tank, housing prototype for South African slums, 2014

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TYPOLOGY Tipology (Noun) “1. the doctrine or study of types or of the correspondence between them and the realities which they typify. [...]” (Collins English Dictionary)

“[...] 2. a systematic classification or study of types [...]” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English)

“I mean by this word type, the first attempts of man to master nature, render it propitious to his needs, suitable to his uses, and favourable to his pleasures. The perceptible objects that the Artist chooses with justness and reasoning from Nature in order to light and fix at the same time the fires of his imagination, I call archetypes.” (Ribard de Chamoust, L’Ordre François trouvé dans la Nature, 1783)

With the freeing of geometry form classical form to become pure technique, and the acknowledgement of “style” as a coherent system of decoration, style was now seen as clothing for an otherwise “naked” object. As for type, the notion of constitutional form thereby became the more significant, as something completely separable from the outer surface and only recognizable in the inner workings of plan and distribution.” (Vidler, The Idea Of Type: The Transformation of an Academic Idea 1750-1830, 1977)

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House in Villa 31. Source: Author

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VILLA MISERIA Villa Miseria (noun) “Is a type of shanty town or slum found in Argentina, mostly around the largest urban settlements. The term is a noun phrase made up of the Spanish words villa(village, small town) and miseria (misery, dejection), and was adopted from Bernardo Verbitsky´s 1957 novel Villa Miseria también es América (“Villa Miseria is also [a part of] the Americas”).” (Wikipedia)

“But as always, there is a reverse side of the medal. The urban problems, [...] (like the increasing proportion of slum housing), deserve more attention in researches about global cities. The city of Buenos Aires for example, has a very clear (and shocking) inequality. Very rich neighborhoods are located right next to enormous slums. Villa 31 is the best example, located in one of the most expensive parts of the city, next to the business district, the train station and port of Buenos Aires. In researching global cities, this lower part of society is too often left out.” (S.R. Weeda, The slums of Buenos Aires - Global connections on a local scale, 2010)

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Waterfront on the River Plate. Source: Author

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WATERFRONT Waterfront (noun) “1. the area of a town or city alongside a body of water, such as a harbour or dockyard.” (Collins English Dictionary)

“Cities seek a waterfront that is a place of public enjoyment. They want a waterfront where there is ample visual and physical public access – all day, all year - to both the water and the land. Cities also want a waterfront that serves more than one purpose :they want it to be a place to work and to live, as well as a place to play. In other words, they want a place that contributes to the quality of life in all of its aspects – economic, social and cultural”. (Umut Pekin Timur, Remaking the Urban Waterfront, the Urban Land Institute, 2012)

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Bendiner-Viani, G., 2002, Guided Tour: Villa 31. Buenos Aires, Argentina, disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory: Vol. 11, Article 5, City University of New York, New York. Bertaccini, T., 2014, Le Americhe Latine nel Ventesimo secolo, Feltrinelli, Milano. Bois Y., Krauss R., 2003, L’informe, Bruno Mondadori, Milano. Borthagaray, A., 2009, ¡Ganar la calle!, Infinito, Buenos Aires. Brillembourg A., Klumpner H., Mitchell S. , 2011, Captain Pan-America: ReThinking Urban Ecology, “Last Round Ecology, SLUM Lab, Sustainable Living Urban Model”. Chiesa, A., 2013, Ecological Urbanism. The eco-systemic framework of “informal” processes of urbanization, Planum . The Journal of Urbanism, n.27, vol.2/2013, Planum, Milan. Conti, A., An Approach to Urabnism in Argentina. Urban types and their evolution over four hundred years., Ensenada. Contin, A., 2015, Questo - Metropolitan Architecture, Maggioli Editore, Milano. Cosacov, N. (and others), 2011, Barrios al sur: Villa Lugano, Villa Riachuelo, Mataderos, Parque Patricios y Villa Soldati a través del tiempo, Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Buenos Aires. Cravino, M. C., 2011, Structural transformations of slums in Buenos Aires, Annual RC 21 Conference 2011, Session: Slums, ghettoes, and the internal periphery of the global urban. Didi-Huberman, G., 2004, Ninfa Moderna. Saggio sul panneggio caduto, il Saggiatore, Milano. Eisenman, P., 2003, Blurred Zones, Monacelli, New York. Eisenman, P., 1999, Diagram Diaries, Universe, New York. Farinelli, F., 2003, Geografia. Un’introduzione ai modelli del mondo, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino. 283


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Fernández Castro, J., 2010, Barrio 31 > Carlos Mugica - Posibilidades y límites del proyecto urbano en contextos de pobreza, Instituto de la Espacialidad Humana, Buenos Aires. Fernández Galiano, L. (curator), 2014, The Architect is Present, Fundación ICO/Arquitectura Viva, Madrid. Garfinkel, E., 2013, The urban slum as a model for sustainable development: case study: Villa 31, Honors Junior/Senior Projects. Paper 85, Northeastern University, Boston. Goytia, C., Another path? The consolidation of informal settlements in Buenos Aires through the co-production of services, London School Of Economics And Political Science. Gregotti, V., 2008, Il territorio dell’architettura, Feltrinelli, Milano. Guallart, V., 2008, Geo Logics - Geography Information Architecture, Actar, Bercelona. Gutiérrez, R., 2014, Buenos Aires - Evolución urbana, 1536 - 2000, Cedodal Librería Concentra, Buenos Aires. Haas T., Olsson K., 2014, Emergent Urbanism: Urban Planning & Design in Times of Structural and Systemic Change, Ashgate Publishing, Gothenburg. Hensel M., Menges A., 2007, Morpho-Ecologies: Towards Heterogeneous Space In Architecture Design, AA Publications, London. Hernández F., Kellett P.W., Allen L. K., 2010, Rethinking the Informal City: Critical Perspectives from Latin America, Berghahn Books, Oxford. Huyssen, A., 2008, Other Cities, Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Globalizing Age, Duke University Press. Imparato I., Ruster J., 2003, Slum upgrading and participation: lessons from Latin America, The World Bank, New York. Khalil, H., 2010, New Urbanism, Smart Growth and Informal Areas: A Quest for Sustainability, , Cairo. Lehner, J. M., 2013, The Inner Void. Urban Brownfield Transformation and 285


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Popular Contention , Paper presented at the International RC21 Conference 2013, Berlin. Peralta Quirós T., Mehndiratta S. R., 2014, Accessibility analysis of growth patterns in Buenos Aires, density, employment and spatial form, The World Bank Group, Washington. Pírez, P., 2002, Buenos Aires: fragmentation and privatization of the metropolitan city, Environment&Urbanization, Vol 14 No 1. Roy, A., 2007, Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning, Journal of the American Planning Association. Shane, D. G., 2005, Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modeling in Architecture, Urban Design, and City Theory, John Wiley & Sons. Uechi, C., 2014, Urban interventions: architecture as a mechanism of inclusion, University of Maryland, College Park. Verbitsky, B., 2003, Villa Miseria también es América, Editorial Sudamericana, Buenos Aires. Vidler, A., 2006, Il perturbante dell’architettura, Giulio Einaudi, Torino. Viganò, P., 2010, The metropolis of the twenty-first century: The project of a porous city., OASE: Architectural Journal. Woods, L., 1997, Radical reconstruction, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. Zevi, B., 1998, Il manifesto di Modena, Canal & Stamperia Editrice.

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Other sources: Angel, S., From Centrality to Dispersal, 2012, http://urbanizationproject.org/blog/from-centrality-to-dispersal#.VW9Zt8_ tlBc Edwards, D., A Roof for Every Family? The Housing Crisis in BA, 2010, http://www.argentinaindependent.com/socialissues/urbanlife/a-roof-forevery-family-the-housing-crisis-in-greater-buenos-aires/ Larraquy, M., Buenos Aires 2030: Los desafíos de la ciudad futura, 2014, h t t p : / / w w w. c l a r i n . c o m / e d i c i o n - i m p r e s a / d e s a f i o s - c i u d a d futura_0_1102689843.html Rooney, K., The Other Buenos Aires: Villas and the Struggle for Urbanisation, 2015, http://www.argentinaindependent.com/socialissues/urbanlife/the-otherbuenos-aires-villas-and-the-struggle-for-urbanisation/ Tella, G., Procesos de segregación: Buenos Aires fragmentada, Buenos Aires, 2012, http://www.guillermotella.com/articulos/procesos-de-segregacion-buenosaires-fragmentada/ Zibechi, R., Autonomy in Buenos Aires’ Villa 31, Montevideo, 2013, http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/9886 Map of informal settlements in Buenos Aires, http://www.mapaasentamientos.com.ar/pages/map.php Hacia el Día Mundial del Hábitat 2011. Declaración de Cochabamba, Cochabamba, 2011, http://hic-al.org/eventos.cfm?evento=1119&id_categoria=7

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Interview with Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, 2010, http://www.un.org/apps/news/newsmakers.asp?NewsID=20 Statement by Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT on the occasion of the high level segment of the Tripartite ACP/EC/UN-HABITAT conference in Nairobi, Nairobi, 2009, http://mirror.unhabitat.org/content.asp?cid=6839&catid=649&typeid=8 Urban Slums, 2006, http://www.worldmapper.org/posters/worldmapper_map187_ver5.pdf Argentina - Poverty and wealth, http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Americas/ArgentinaPOVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html Complejidad del tejido urbano de la ciudad de Buenos Aires, http://www.arquba.com/monografias-de-arquitectura/complejidad-del-tejidourbano-de-la-ciudad-de-buenos-aires/

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This work originates from the necessity of defining a set of tools useful for the urban and architectural planning in an informal context. Urban population is increasing constantly as well as slums extension. Since a significant part of this population lives in an informal context nowadays, it is not realistic nor possible to consider these settlements as anomalies of the urban fabric. The dichotomy between formal and informal turns out to be rather inconsistent considering the heterogeneity of the contemporary city, and it seems more a forcing of the urban literature than a tangible reality. Nevertheless, although a rigid taxonomy fits the complexity of the urban context badly, the classification of spontaneous contexts as irregular or illegal has often been an excuse to ignore and abandon such situations. The assumption of this work is the consideration of informal settlements as an integral part of a future metropolis and as a further element that a contemporary urban planning has to face. Hence the necessity of codifying these spontaneous contexts in order to recognize which tools are essential to their integration in a traditional city. The case study are the Villas Miseria of the city in Buenos Aires. The analysis process of these informal settlements, enriched by a direct experience and a visit of some villas, has been the starting point for the subsequent formulation of an planning method. Through the codification of the rules that govern the existence of an informal context, it has been possible to shape an urban strategy that works on different scales. The comprehension of the informal issue from an urban perspective is crucial and it is essential for the physical and social integration. The implementation of a metabolic process made it possible to develop a future setting for the city of Buenos Aires and an alternative to its chaotic growth. The project I’m going to illustrate is a scenario of integration between the formal and the informal city, with the intention of breaking up the rigid borders between these two categories and promoting a more democratic and sustainable urban evolution process. [Bianca Maria Teti]

I N F O R M A L C O D E X A MULTI-SCALAR STRATEGY FOR THE INFORMAL BUENOS AIRES


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