The Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria dedicates the sixth day of the Cycle of Conferences Sustainable Cities and Communities of the Canary Islands universal access to safe, accessible and inclusive green areas and public spaces in cities and urban areas. This aspect is included in Sustainable Development Goal 11, which proposes to “reduce, by 2030, the negative environmental impact per capita cities, even paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management ”.
On this occasion, the conference in streaming It had the participation of María Luisa González García, architect and professor of Projects at the School of Architecture of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Jorge Coderch Figueroa, architect of Coderch Urbanismo y Arquitectura SLP and José Alberto Jiménez Alcalá-Zamora, architect specialist in accessible architecture.
“The current anthropized spaces become new opportunities for the transformation of cities”, stated Vicente Boissier, dean of COAGC
Vicente Boissier, Dean of the Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria, opened the conference stating that “we are in a moment of urban transformation focused on the recovery of spaces for pedestrians.” In addition, he assured that beyond eliminating traffic from urban areas, it is necessary to have spaces with a high level of quality linked to culture, the environment and social relations. To this he added that, from his point of view, MetroGuagua “is a great opportunity to work on the renaturation of spaces, but it is not enough.”
Maria Luisa Gonzalez Garcia the turn of the speakers began with a presentation focused on the corridors of the green areas. The architect explained the need to “accept the phenomena produced by civilization and find beauty where we are usually seeing a catastrophe.” In fact, he went to examples like Central Park or the High Line Street Walk in New York to show that you can intensify the vegetation on abandoned rails and create a higher quality urban space. González Garcia ended his exhibition by clarifying the importance of giving an image of accessibility to spaces and of providing another vision to the waste of civilization. Specifically, he transferred this proposal to the Barranco de Guiniguada, an area of opportunity on our island that is currently inaccessible.
The urban stance was provided by Jorge Coderch, who focused on the relevance of a good approach capable of carrying out a diagnosis that covers all the aspects on which it is going to influence and that is adapted to the financial capacities and political will of the municipal corporation. Likewise, he affirmed that we currently have a “very important deficit of planning drafting technicians” and that, therefore, there is a need for specialists with sufficient training and commitment to “understand that they are at the service of the citizenry”.
“The disability is in the design, not in the user,” said José Alberto Jiménez, architect and specialist in accessible architecture
Jose Alberto Jimenez it closed the exhibition shift stating that accessibility has been the great neglected of the last decade. “There are not only physical barriers, there are also auditory, visual, cognitive and language barriers and we must take them into account”, commented the architect. Likewise, he warned of the importance of adapting the spaces to the aging of the population and of developing accessible areas without interruptions supported by technologies. The key, in his experience, focuses on taking into account that “the disability is in the design, not in the user”.
For his part, the dean of the COAGC concluded by stating that the available heritage should be reused and useful spaces generated for current demands. Boissier urged administrations to “streamline procedures and create a citizen participation system that does not block projects in areas that are currently being used by citizens.”
The Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria closed this day remembering that in September they will resume the Cycle of Conferences Sustainable Cities and Communities of the Canary Islands with a new program focused on transferring the challenges proposed by the Sustainable Development Goals to the Archipelago. In addition, they will have a special conference during Architecture Week that will try to summarize this cycle in order to detect the challenges that our islands present in a context of climate change and urban transformation.