Doxa Sustainable City: environmental management and risk as a promoter of development. Chacao 2011.
Rebar recently traveled to South America to participate in a conference hosted by the municipality of Chacao, Caracas, VZ entitled Sustainable City: environmental management and risk as a promoter of development.
We were part of a group of international participants that included Allan Lavell, PhD. in Economic Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science; Jose Rosas Vera, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Shimoji Kuniki from Okinawa, Japan; Jean-Pierre Moure from Montpelier, France; Leila Taouil Mancia from Curitiba, Brasil; and Juan David Arango Gartner from Manizales, Venezuala. The conference was hosted by Ana Liz Flores, President, Civil Protection and Environment, Chacao, who presented “Chacao experience. Towards the city as possible.”
John Bela from Rebar presented “Elasi(city): User generated urbanism and the adaptive metropolis”, focusing on three tools used in user generated urbanism; the temporary intervention, interim use, and iterative placemaking.
Following the conference we were led on a fantastic tour of the municipality of Chacao and some of the innovative projects creating public space in this dense city of 6 million inhabitants. Caracas contains large areas of both formal and informal development. We visited some of the great new streetscapes, public plazas, theater buildings and public parks created by the passionate urbanists in Chacao.
The following day we toured areas in downtown Caracas and then ascended into the Barrio San Agustin to check out the recently completed Metrocable, a gondola lift system integrated into the city’s public transport network.
On the last day of the trip we were invited by a group of artists and architects to participate in a brainstorming workshop at Ecodar hosted by Carolina Tinoco. Attendees included LAB.PRO.FAB, Bisa Urbana, Micra, and Penelope Plaza and Luis Bergolla from Conciencia Visual. Each of us presented briefly on our work and then discussed ways of sharing tactics. Several important themes emerged from the day including the necessity to engage with city residents at the level of their sense of responsibility as citizens. We discussed some of the challenges facing the city of Caracas such as the fear of being in public space due to violence, the dominance of car culture, and the necessity to integrate informal developments into the city’s infrastructure and services.
At the end of the session, John Bela led a public space Kecak (a rythmic vocal chant from Bali) workshop, and we tested the social codes that govern various public spaces in the city.
Overall it was an amazing group of people and an incredible experience. We are so grateful to Diana Lopez and Ana Liz Flores of the Municipality of Chacao for inviting us to the conference, and to Sandra Zuniga and Carolina Tinoco for introducing us to the amazing artists, designers, and urbanists of Caracas.