I was fortunate enough to be selected for the scholarship programme to attend the 2015 Designing Inclusion Summer School in Gauyaquil, Ecuador by KV Leuven in conjunction with the local University of Guayaquil.
This summer school aims to provide professionals engaged in environmental planning and urban development with the critical tools to design and manage an integrated provision of both housing and ecological infrastructure. Its goals are premised on the lack of scalar integration and participatory planning in the implementation of large-scale and capital-intensive ecological mega-projects in the global South – and in Ecuador more particularly. Indeed, the emergence of ecological mega-projects in the global South is undeniable.
Their implementation in the context of rapid growth, consolidated self-building practices and increasing inequality holds innumerable threats to equitable urban development. Co-producing ecological urbanism for inclusive city transformation is therefore an essential skill for engendering meaningful social and physical change. With the ‘global city’ discourse strongly impacting on the governance of urban eco-restoration and residential developments in many cities, the delineation of alternative ecological management strategies and housing typologies remains largely neglected.
In Ecuador, the Buen Vivir concept has bred many promises to promote alternative forms of development and spread well-being across the country’s human settlements. In line with this agenda, Ecuador’s largest city and port has been subject to significant transformations, out of which the most prominent is the Guayaquil Ecologico.
|University of Guayaquil|
|Heavily controlled ‘public space|
|Market Traders strictly controlled in such public spaces|
|The Malecon (waterfront) project near the historical sector of Guaqyuil|
|Guayquil Relocation settlements (RDP)|
|Public Spaces in Guaqyuil are seen more in Shopping Center’s (Similar to RSA)|
|Gated Communities are as common as in Johannesburg and prolific on the city edges.|
|Environmentally vulnerable residents of the river edges|
|Evicted residents, pressure put on by government and local developers|
|Some public spaces work better than others|
|Such as this heavily controlled ‘public park’|
|Fisherman’s livelihoods were most crucially affected by the issues of urbanisation, and predicted climate change|
|Local residents took us around their neighbourhoods|
|A ‘public space’project that sought to create better waterfront space|
|residents were encouraged to paint their houses to look ‘nicer’|
|The separation of waterfront from the neighbourhood was very clear.|
|Our group working with the local community leader, an advocate and activist.|
|Various housing conditions|
|Various housing conditions|
|Public spaces in streets change daily|
|The proximity to the river was a health and security risk to some, but a livelihood to others|
|Construction typologies varied massively|
|Local residents took us around explaining in detail the various challenges faced|
|A local architect had been commissioned to design a vision of little Venice that the residents of Tramos 8 were pushing local government for|
|Workshops were held at local houses|
|Residents took us into their homes to understand the space|
|The street facades were a crucial aspect of security and social capital|
|But mostly people turned their backs to the river|
|Our team sought to understand public space and design accordingly|
|This was done with several methods of data capturing|
Our work was presented in a series of workshops held at the University and in the local neighbourhoods.
|Strategy Image – Existing Condition|
|Strategy Image – Proposed Design Strategy|
Our strategies were presented in this format, which did not work so well in the first iteration due to various miscommunication and translation errors.
Here with more engaged residents we uncovered valuable information about the area, while developing a stronger communication tool set and focusing in on examples of upgrading such as the fisherman.
|Interviews with the fisherman families|
After a very intense 2 weeks of non-stop work we presented the co-developed scheme to the residents alongside the architect who commissioned the original ‘Little Venice’ scheme.
|Image from final design strategy|
|The presentation was much better received in this 1to1 format, than in the large presentation arena|
|Our team returned to Tramos 8 to present the whole programmes findings to residents in their neighborhood.|