Nueva Vista Bella Vista

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On Saturday January 9th 2016, the Streetscape Territories Bellavista Workshop was closed by a presentation in the neighborhood. This event consisted out of three parts: first, the participants distributed images at different locations in the neighbourhood, each one illustrating proposals for urban intervention. These on site representations configured an ad hoc itinerary for the inhabitants to discover while passing through the neighborhood. Second, the participants invited neighbours and local stakeholders to participate in writing down their wishes for this neighborhood on the pavement in front of the Oveja-Tomé textile manufacturing cluster, under the title “Nueva Vista / Bellavista”. At the same time, postcards were handed out to the gathered crowd, inciting all interested parties in sharing the prsented new ideas for the neighborhood. The last part of the event consisted out of a formal presentation of the reading and proposals for the area. The event, organised by CEDEUS, was closed by a lunch with all participants and local stakeholders.

The workshop that lead to this presentation for urban renewal for the Bellavista Tomé neighborhood, was set up as a way to provide policymakers and inhabitants with an alternative and new reading of this area and pinpointing the challenges but above all the potentials this neighborhood embodies. The approach was therefor not to use traditional urbanistic instruments (zoning, density, program, infrastructure etc) to read the complexity of this area but rather highlight the spatial qualities the neighborhood is characterised by. This reading consisted out of making a list of types of space to analyse, discuss or propose interventions. The overarching goal of this reading (containing a strong designerly attitude from the beginning) was to make proposals for the neighborhood based on its variety of streetscapes, as these are able to define models for social cohesion, the needed productivity,  a coherent accessibility and permeability and sustainable models for mobility.

The following list of types of spaces was recognised, mapped and discussed among and outside the group and presented as such during the final event.

OPEN SPACE: open space that is not occupied by buildings (defined by their footprint), that includes urbanised as well as natural surfaces. In the case of Bellavista we recognise the waterfront as a system of open spaces, the cerros as topographic elements, the fluvial areas in the interior part, together with roads, sidewalks, squares and parks as significant open spaces. Topography played an important role in the configuration of open space in the area.

PUBLIC SPACE: space of public property that is not defined by any access restriction. This corresponds to spaces where one can enter or walk around freely: from the streetscapes till the sport fields. No special treatment or attention is given to these spaces by the municipality.

COLLECTIVE SPACE: urban space that contains different levels of access restriction but that is defined by a high level of collective use, without taking into account property structure (public or private property), neither interior/exterior distinctions. The main squares, the “sedes”, small shops, the school, local facilities or service buildings and their outdoor spaces and the vegetable gardens are the main collective spaces in the area. The manufacturing area is not considered actually a collective space and its surrounding spaces are missing comfort and connections with the neighborhood, as they are mainly defined by car traffic. The collective space of the beach is disconnected from the rest of the neighborhood.

RUPTURED SPACE: space that is separated or divided by buildings or other spatial elements, there is a presence of breaking/rupturing elements in space. In some cases, the space is ruptured by the Santas Beatriz buildings or the manufacturing cluster of Oveja-Tomé. En other cases, continuity or rhythm in space is changed by units like CESFAM or the school, converting these in buildings with an orientation mission and adding to the integrity the neighborhood possesses.

DELIMITED SPACE: space that is explicitly spatially delimited by borders, indicating different kind of boundaries, with limited access as a consequence. Examples are the fenced front or back gardens in the residential area, the Oveja-Bellavista manufacturing area or the topography limiting the access to the cerros. The beach area is also characterised by system of delimited space, one part delimited for passing vehicles and another part for leasure activities related to the beach.

GREEN SPACE: space that is defined by green landscape elements (trees, grass fields, flower gardens etc), independently if it is used as a garden or park. Green spaces are omnipresent along the fluvial areas, in the higher located cerros and at a smaller scale as part of streets, squares and parks. The green landscape elements have a rather natural character, adding to the identity of the neighborhood.

ORIENTATION SPACE: spaces that have an orientation function within the neighborhood and that physically articulate the different spatial segments or sequences. These spaces can be understood as rotating elements within the streetscape (like the bifurcations in the road system in the interior of the area, like the church)

CODIFIED SPACE: space that is defined by codes of possible/obliged/forbidden use, including clear indications/instructions laid out in space in an explicit way, independently from the fact that these spaces might be delimited or not. The (interior part of the) neighborhood does not include many of these spaces which allows a major flexibility in spatial appropriation by the community.

EXPECTANT SPACE: spaces to be developed, in stand by development, lacking a clear mission but possessing the potential of transforming the urban landscape. These spaces, like the open area at the north of the area or the litoral paths can be understood as opportunities for resilient and sustainable development (flooding, rising sea level, future productive areas, new connections).

SPACE OF MEMORY: spaces to which a specific historic value is linked through its monumental or modest heritage, recognised by the community and the users. The presence of facility buildings, the manufacturing area, reinforced by a strong collective memory add to the integrity of the neighborhood.

ORDINARY SPACE: space containing signs of ordinary use of space, of daily routines, mostly human activity in space. The bus stops, small shops and roads leading to the beach contain these ordinary qualities.

EMERGENT SPACE: space that is used in a way that was not initially planned, emergent or alternative use of space, leading to a strong identity. The perimetral spaces of the cerros, used for domestic agriculture have a high potential for this neighborhood.

INTERMITTENT SPACE: space with a highly ephemeral use, changing the impact on the neighborhood’s streetscapes on a regular basis, like the vegetable and fruit fair (organised one a week) and the parking spaces more intensively used during the weekend to go to the beach. These spaces have a high structural character for the area.

SEASONAL SPACE: spaces of which its use is dependent on seasonal dynamics like the beach (intensively used in summer, abandoned in winter). The impact and the level of possible absorption the neighborhood has related to these uses needs to be studied and discussed more carefully.

MOTION SPACE: space that is used and defined by movement (cars, buses, bicycle, pedestrian etc), space that has primarily a mobility function. Different intensities in use of these spaces in noticed, together with the increasing use and dependency of the car, which can be questioned. Often, these spaces rather block the collective and quiet use of space, rather than facilitate it.

IMMEDIATE SPACE: space that is characterised by an immediate perception of infrastructures or buildings, production of scale contrasts. The presence of three major (vacation) residential buildings, the nearness of the topography walls of the contrast in speed at the waterfront is significant.

AMBIGUOUS SPACE: space that obtained a multiple character and contains many overlap scenarios. These are not a vaguely defined areas (terain vagues) but have more then one simultaneous use that is not explicitly defined. These spaces contribute to the richness in open interpretation in the neighborhood. These spaces seem to be threatened by real estate developments and increasing explicit programming by the municipality.

INSULAR SPACE: isolated spaces in the neighborhood with low levels of proximity with surrounding areas or areas that can be understood as buffer spaces. The heterogeneous character of Bellavista Tomé is a result of this phenomena of appearing micro climates all over the area.

DOMESTIC SPACE: space that contains elements belonging to a domestic sphere, space defined by domestication tactics, presence of signs of introducing elements at a smaller scale in the neighborhood. The local shops in the street, the many small scale appropriations (for example laundry hanging in the street) reinforce the quiet and domestic character of the (interior) area. These spaces are essential for a dynamic but peaceful neighborhood where community and privacy coexist.

The above described alternative reading of space, articulated through different types of space and use, lead towards the formulation of urban proposals for the neighborhood’s future development, based on different conversations with neighbors and stakeholders. Here, five main images were defined to restructure Bellavista-Tomé, based on the following strategies:

1. Pedestrianising the collective spaces located in the interior part of the area, reducing the regional ly passing vehicular traffic to the waterfront area (vehicular access limited to local residents and emergency services), homogenisation of the road and sidewalks, reconfiguration of the existing facades facing the surrounding collective spaces.
2. Providing access to the Oveja-Bellavista manufacturing cluster, maintaining however the physical enclosure (high accessibility, lower permeability to protect the enclosed and specific character of this property), adding more generous spaces around the area that connect more actively with the beach area on one hand and with the fluvial spaces and higher green landscape on the other hand.
3. Reconfiguring the central avenue in the interior part of the neighborhood, reinforcing its orientative spaces and the ordinary-domestic character of the area.
4. Providing a fluvial path, parallel to and re-evaluating the “esteros” and leading to a higher connectivity  at the level of the existing natural resources.
5. Providing a perimetral higher situated path around the residential area, equipped with a recreative  (walkway, access to cerros and higher situated green spaces) and productive (stimulating existing domestic agricultural use) use and with a strong pedestrian/green character.
resume slide tome bellavista image
It is now up to the neighborhood and its actors to define priorities in the reading and implementation of the mentioned strategies that do not start from adding or changing program or zoning, neither adding buildings to the area, but rather from a reconfiguration of the variety of streetscapes in the neighborhood, proclaiming its collective spaces the main protagonists. Only after the needed recognition of the area’s streetscapes as spaces of social inclusion and embodying different kinds of collective use, other necessities like the legal formalisation of heritage conditions or adding new programs to the area can be achieved, as the urban and natural spaces first need to consolidate their spatial qualities to invite the needed investments on a political and economical level in the neighborhood.

Maria Paz Quinteros, Jeanette Orozco, Alejandro Valenzuela, Emma Vidal, Rodrigo Peña, Pedro Orrego, Antonia Burotto, Valeria Farfan, Cristian Utreras, Camila Parra, Lorena Toledo, Juan Carlos Tolrá, Gustavo Muñoz, Fernando Gonzalo, Luis Reyes, Leonel Pérez y Kris Scheerlinck

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