The neighbors of the district of the Conception would form Government in four days. All have yielded a bit in the great common project they have undertaken in recent years: the rehabilitation of the sports facilities of El Mazo, in Ciudad Lineal (northeast of Madrid). They agreed to reduce the old basketball court in half to accommodate a space for BMX bicycles (small, sturdy and single speed). They were not obsessed with creating a green area with benches, but adults occupy the stands of the football field, the same place where teenagers from the opposite school stop. They have created a skate park where the use of the scooter is allowed together with the skateboard and in which the great ones teach the little ones. And the tracks have hosted outdoor activities for users of the senior center and in them children run around.
“Most proposals are sensible. We almost always reach consensus, ”says Jorge Nuño, the statesman from Ciudad Lineal and outgoing president of the cultural association Condesa de Venadito, which promoted this meeting point for children, young and old. It is not his only achievement. The association, which has 120 members in three years, has organized the festival of culture and coexistence Mazo Fest.
Lawyer in practice, formed in the spring of 2016 the association with Héctor Mateos, a colleague of the Conce (apócope of the Concepción neighborhood) and a companion of the Unlogic graffiti group. The latter has sucked activism at home and "gave the stick" to his friend until they created the "aso", as they call it. “My old They are sociologists and have a lot to do with politics. I have always been told that we had to get together to get things, ”says Héctor, 33, the new president and with a more impetuous profile. Nuño, who when he finished Law already created an association in which to guide senior students, drafted the statutes and, together with a third member – the legal minimum – constituted Condesa de Venadito.
Nuño, 36, greets with a good afternoon. He carries a blue cardboard folder in one hand, speaks in a moderate tone to the phone and dresses formally, as if he came from the courthouse. It comes from the court. It is that kind of neighbor to whom you would leave a copy of the house keys and cross it once on the landing. This Madrid drafted lax statutes so that majority voting assistance was not necessary and did not incorporate economic quotas to favor the accession of more residents of Ciudad Lineal, a district with 216,270 inhabitants, according to the Municipal Register of Madrid.
Héctor, industrial designer and muralist, describes the neighborhood with a thick stroke: “Middle-class families settle near Arturo Soria, Latin Americans are in the south, gypsies live in San Pascual and Muslims do so near the mosque of the M-30 ” The district has an unemployment rate of 8.1%, according to the State Public Employment Service. Héctor summarizes: "The association works for culture and coexistence". Three quarters of the members usually attend the meetings, many of them organized on the slopes themselves or at the door of the municipal premises that they share with three other entities. "To open as much as possible to the neighborhood and that more people join," says Nuño, who since childhood understood the graffiti as something "artistic and not vandalism."
Condesa de Venadito presented the proposal for the remodeling of El Mazo sports facilities in 2016. They did so through the participatory budgeting program, the platform created by the previous Madrid City Council to promote citizen initiatives. But having a pending lawsuit to transform that space into paddle tennis courts did not prosper. “Good thing, it didn't make any sense. We were going to look like all Aznarines, ”jokes Javi Español, one of the first members of the association and another of the seven members of the graffiti group, who charge about 4,000 euros when a company orders them a realistic mural that they complete in five or six days .
The following year they presented the dossier again – the paddle courts were not built due to irregularities. Antonio Yeste enters the scene here, Toni, a 15-year-old boy who had developed an alternative proposal for the same space. “I designed some plans at home with Photoshop from skate park I had in mind. I even made pamphlets to hand out to the kids, ”says Toni, who has just turned 18. “It served me even to flirt,” he laughs. Nuño contacted him and convinced him to join his candidacy. “We knew there were kids who skated on wooden modules. We decided to include Toni’s proposal in ours. They are the future of the neighborhood, ”explains this jazz lover.
The association conducted a campaign to collect signatures – a way to get votes for their proposal. They set up a table at the supermarket door and went to the bars to talk about the project. They fought the digital divide of the elderly with direct contact. Toni added to the pamphlets that distributed the power of convening social networks among young people. The proposal was a winner and the district board invested 190,000 euros in the facilities. They opened in the summer of last year. "Regarding the design and location of the elements, the result coincided with 95% with those we proposed," the former president presumes. Javi, who is a graphic designer, made 3D plans. And the father of one of the members of the association, retired architect, made some designs in Autocad. “The technicians of the City Hall hallucinated with the proposal,” says Nuño, who lives with his “chick” in the neighborhood. "It has always been impossible to get me out of here," he says.
Culture and sport
Nuño and Héctor formed the association with the idea of remodeling the tracks but left a slit to carry out other social initiatives. The most successful is the Mazo Fest, a festival of coexistence, culture and sport that was held for the third consecutive year last September and had about 3,000 attendees. For one day there were concerts of hip hop Y dancehall, Yoga classes, graffiti displays, skateboard and BMX and activities for children. Throughout the year they teach origami workshops or teach to play the flamenco cajón. Juan Garcia Pedre, 33, is responsible for the latter and develop new dossiers and other procedures. “They have become machines in administrative law,” adds Nuño. "Pedre doesn't have the ESO. You don't have to be a lawyer or the host to get things done," says Héctor, who plays the keyboard and records a monthly podcast of hip hop to give voice to young people in the neighborhood.
Cristina Lobera, 38, has joined the association a few months ago. “It would be nice to have another festival like this for Carnivals. It has helped me to talk to neighbors with whom I simply crossed the greeting on the portal, ”says this engineer from the mountains and mother of three children. It is in the process of forming a consumption group in the neighborhood – families that come together to buy fruit, vegetables and meat from small producers. "The association leaves us the premises to organize our meetings," says this Leon who has been sitting in the Conce for seven years and who pays 850 euros for rent for a two-room apartment with heating and pool, half an hour by metro from the Gate del Sol. Your partner shows up at night on the tracks on a bike.
The one who has been almost all his life is Miguel Monzón, Guelo He arrived at the neighborhood with 11 years and now he is 30 and lives with his wife. It is one of the kids that they dance the bike – as they call pirouettes with it – on the track flatland BMX “This sport has little reward. Until you get the same level, three years go by, ”says Guelo, who works at a bicycle distribution company of this type. If Guelo is dedicated to something he likes, Viki Gómez is a professional in this sport. He was proclaimed world champion in 2010 of this modality. Although he now lives in Luxembourg with his partner, he spent much of his life in the Conce. Own skaters Y bikers clean the sports courts and bring the trash cans that the association bought to the sidewalk to pick up the municipal truck.
The association does not depend on subsidies, made some cash with a bar that installed in the Mazo Fest and sometimes they have put money themselves – as when they hired the obligatory civil liability insurance for 400 euros. The M-30 mosque, the largest in Spain, organizes an annual day of living together and has had them. The graffiti artists who are part of the association give free workshops in schools and in the center of the Panama Canal. Some retirees come to congratulate them for what they have achieved, others even point to Countess of Venadito. They do it to live the experience of being in an association. And help.
Urban art also shines in León. The artist Carlos Álvarez Cuenllas along with his students of plastic of the San José school has turned an invisible staircase into a point of interest in the city. Their therapeutic art has led them to paint 34 steps with positive phrases such as "Respect all" or "Think" in this corner of Álvaro López Núñez Avenue. The teacher has intervened artistically the school where he works, other areas of the city and trees to raise awareness about the environment. This is one of the initiatives that groups FeliZiudad, Renault's digital platform that illustrates good practices aimed at improving the quality of life in cities.
Discover more initiatives like this one in feliziudad.es
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