Date: July, 2015
Location: Valencia (Spain).
Framework: Meeting Ciudad Sensible
Coordinated by: Makea Tu Vida – Alberto Flores, Mireia Juan and Luís García.
Participants: Mercedes, Mar, Mudu, Ana, Júlia, Maria, Santi, Usue, Edu, Sandra, Mohamed, Denny, Denny’s husband, the couple who came every day, with the collaboration of the Argentine, Esther (OC), Yolanda (AMPA), Amparo (teacher school), Samuel (radio OC), the cooks, Víctor and Denny’s mother, Boro’s coordination, and with the invaluable collaboration of Ester and Pelu.
From July 6–10, 2015, we participated in the Infrastructure for Participation workshop as part of Ciudad Sensible, a conference that reflects on the city as infrastructure for social innovation. Organised by CarpeVía, a collective of architects, and in collaboration with Contexto[arq] and Orriols Con-Vive, in this third conference’s third year, the organisers decided to take things to a more practical level and get involved in the #SiembraOrriols urban transformation process, which aims to reclaim and revive the empty lot of the San Jerónimo hermitage in the neighbourhood of Orriols, Valencia.
The ultimate goal of the Infrastructures for Participation Workshop was to transform this space via a temporary intervention that provided the initial infrastructure needed to enable new uses, dynamics and relationships to develop at the site and in the community at large. The local residents had the opportunity to get involved and participate in the design, management and construction of their local environment.
The neglected lot around the hermitage has taken on symbolic meaning for many of the residents of Orriols Con-Vive. First of all, the state of disrepair and neglect reflect the general state of the neighbourhood. Secondly, this place has come to be used by Orriols Con-Vive and other related bodies to organise activities that are open to the rest of the neighbourhood: open-air cinemas, concerts, meals and dinners, youth activities, dances, etc.
The workshop addresses this problem from three different angles simultaneously, each one of them guided by a different collective. The self-diagnosis, using Orriols Con-Vive’s participatory process as applied to the hermitage space, was coordinated by Fent Estudi. The management of the space and all communication was led by Las dos en punto. And the design and construction of the physical infrastructure were coordinated by Makea Tu Vida.
Throughout the workshop, the physical infrastructure work group focused on refurbishing the old caravan, aiming to supply an element of action and visibility for Orriols Con-Vive.
Given the name of BARRI VAN (a pun created during a wordplay workshop based on the Valencian expression poc a poc va arribant – ‘little by little things get done’, part of which sounds like the words for neighbourhood and van), this piece of infrastructure was introduced to be the following:
- creator of encounters, a multi-purpose element of support and storage to stimulate activities (time banks, radio workshops, a mobile toy and book library, international cooking workshops, etc.)
- an initial piece of infrastructure to physically support or hold up other elements outfitting the empty lot (movie screens, awnings, information boards, etc.)
- a symbol of reclamation for the site, for Orriols Con-Vive and for the neighbourhood
- a travelling caravan that can be loaned out to other local entities that may need it
- a space in which to develop activities that can generate funding for the association and for those who lead these activities
We also decided to create a User & Management Guide for the Barri Van, researching legal questions, issues of maintenance and usage and the possibility of loaning the vehicle out to other entities.