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2018 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

16. Alternatives for Contested Mega-projects: An Academic Venture into Activist Space

Authors: Nelson Carofilis, Olga Peek, Viviana d’Auria

Published in: Neo-liberalism and the Architecture of the Post Professional Era

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

The following chapter is centered on the endeavors of a small number of researchers and lecturers who joined forces with urban residents of consolidated riverbank settlements in Guayaquil (Ecuador) threatened with eviction due to the implementation of an ‘ecological’ mega-project. This large-scale ministry-led intervention over Guayaquil’s urban waterfronts fits within a series of recent transformations heralding the notion of Buen Vivir (‘Good Living’) that over the last decade nuanced the professional environment nationwide by opening new opportunities for local urban professionals, straddling them between traditional top-down urban planning and community-led city-making practices. In the context of contested waterfront renewal projects along the Estero Salado estuary in Guayaquil, a design workshop titled Designing Inclusion (2015) provided the development of alternative urban design visions by bringing together diverse local voices and expertise with foreign academics and practitioners, thereby transcending the customary boundaries to social engagement between architects, activists, communities and government bodies. Building on the experience of this summer school and ongoing research-by-design activities in Guayaquil, the chapter scrutinizes the recent change in the professional environment that Ecuadorian architects have been involved with, and examines how the condition of being ‘socially engaged’ affects the conventional notions of architects and design professionals involved in teaching and research.
Footnotes
1
‘Designing Inclusion’ was a VLIR-UOS funded international summer school held in July 2015 in Guayaquil. Alternative design proposals were developed in dialogue with local actors and communities supporting already ongoing negotiations between residents under eviction and local authorities implementing Guayaquil Ecológico. Website: https://​designinginclusi​on.​wordpress.​com/​.
 
2
We refer to the work of (among many others): Gustavo Riofrío and DESCO in Lima, Perú, Peter Ward, Edith Jimenez Huerta and Mercedes di Virgilio and the Latin American Housing Network (www.​lahn.​utexas.​org); Reinhard Goethert and the Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement (SIGUS) at MIT, Enrique Ortiz at Habitat International Coalition (HIC) in México and Germán Samper in Colombia.
 
3
HIC refers to the Social Production of Habitat as the experiences in which the components of habitat are auto-produced by their inhabitants, forced by their socioeconomic conditions and without adequate instruments to support their efforts. http://​www.​hic-al.​org/​psh.​cfm.
 
5
Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, The United States among others.
 
6
See for example the Association of Architectural Educators Conference, Living and Learning at The University of Sheffield, 3rd to 5th September 2014. https://​aaeconference201​4.​wordpress.​com/​.
 
7
The layout of Villa El Salvador proposed by architect Miguel Romero Sotelo is based on a large-scale grid structure in which 400 × 400 m ‘superblocks’ or ‘urban cells’ with smaller residential blocks, open spaces, and facilities are embedded (UN-Habitat 2015).
 
8
The plan involved a block structure comprised of 9 × 22 m plots, a variety of open spaces and a main road structure complemented with pedestrian walkways. A group of academics from the University of Guayaquil and undergraduate (thesis) architecture students provided spatial designs that reserved space for future equipment and open spaces. This collaboration was corroborated during interviews with actual members of the staff and community leaders who were involved in this movement at the time.
 
9
University of Guayaquil, Ecuador.
 
10
University of Guayaquil, Ecuador; KU Leuven, Belgium.
 
11
KU Leuven, Belgium.
 
12
‘Designing Inclusion’ is a VLIR-UOS funded international summer school held in July 2015 in Guayaquil. Alternative design proposals were developed in dialogue with local actors and communities supporting already on-going negotiation between residents under eviction and local authorities implementing Guayaquil Ecológico. Website: https://​designinginclusi​on.​wordpress.​com/​.
 
13
See for example: Turner and Fichter (1972).
 
14
We refer to the work of Gustavo Riofrío and DESCO in Perú, Edith Jimenez Huerta, Peter Ward and Mercedes di Virgilio (LAHN) in 9 countries of Latin America; Emilio Pradilla, Enrique Ortiz and Jan Bazant in México, and Germán Samper in Colombia, among many others.
 
15
HIC refers to the Social Production of Habitat as the experiences in which the components of habitat are auto-produced by their inhabitants, forced by their socio-economic conditions and without adequate instruments to support their efforts. http://​www.​hic-al.​org/​psh.​cfm.
 
17
Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, The United States among others.
 
18
See for example the Association of Architectural Educators Conference, Living and Learning at The University of Sheffield, 3rd to 5th September 2014. https://​aaeconference201​4.​wordpress.​com/​.
 
19
The layout of Villa El Salvador proposed by architect Miguel Romero Sotelo is based on a large-scale grid structure in which 400 × 400 meters ‘superblocks’ or ‘urban cells’ with smaller residential blocks, open spaces and facilities are embedded (UN-Habitat 2015).
 
20
The plan involved a block structure comprised of 9 × 22 m plots, a variety of open spaces and a main road structure complemented with pedestrian walkways.
 
21
According to the World Bank, Guayaquil is the third most endangered city in the world by sea level rise and other extreme meteorological and geo-physical events (World Bank 2013).
 
22
The term Buen Vivir (collective well-being), referring to the indigenous notion of sumak kawsay, has been actively used by social movements and has reached its way into the new Constitutions in Ecuador and Bolivia (Gudynas 2010). With the ambition to gradually achieve the socialist reconstruction of Ecuadorian society, president Rafael Correa (2007–present) introduced La Revolución Urbana (Urban Revolution) under the heading of the national plan of Buen Vivir (SENPLADES 2013).
 
23
Across various cities in the south, environmental vulnerability is very often used as an excuse to dislocate the urban poor and unlock land values (Davy and Pellissery 2013; Rolnik 2013; Amoako 2015).
 
24
Spanish for “linkage with society”.
 
25
A common practice in many provinces of Ecuador consists of Municipal governments presenting approved projects or plans that are tailored in the studios.
 
28
Intense periods of design activity in teams.
 
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Metadata
Title
Alternatives for Contested Mega-projects: An Academic Venture into Activist Space
Authors
Nelson Carofilis
Olga Peek
Viviana d’Auria
Copyright Year
2018
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76267-8_16