In August 2010 the PlaySpace team met with community leaders from Independencia. What started out as an academic initiative quickly turned into something much bigger: the community wanted more than ideas, they wanted real solutions.
What are we doing?
PlaySpace Foundation, the community and government have been working together to create a better environment for the youth of Independencia. Together we have designed a neighbourhood improvement strategy, focusing on a park that includes soccer and volleyball fields, community centres and gardens. Also other important infrastructure like rubbish collection facilities and sites for health stations is planned. Construction works on the project has started in late 2012.
Who benefits and why?
Our project directly benefits the neighbourhood of Independencia: a population of around 10.000 in the suburbs of Greater Buenos Aires, made up mostly of young families. Once complete, the community will enjoy safer transit spaces, well-designed public space and community infrastructure services. Residents participate in the ongoing design, building and management of the project.
This project was initiated as part of a postgraduate program run by the Berlage Institute, the Netherlands, whereby students undertook an academic investigation relating to Independencia in 2011 (see publication: Whose City Is It?). The project would not have been possible without the support of relevant government agencies, represented by: Mara Anselmi (Executive General Director of the Reconquista River Committee), Cecilia Larivera and Isabel Basombrio (Subsecretary of Urbanism and Housing) at the Provincial level and Mayor Gabriel Katopodis and Carlos Rodríquez (Public Works Secretary) from the Municipality of San Martín. The project has also involved the ongoing participation of local stakeholders and representatives from neighbourhood organisations, including Pastor Luis Alberto (La Roca Church), father Jorge from the Inmaculada Church and School, Mariano Salamone (Program Coordinator of Envión in Independencia), Sonia Sanchez (Director - Centro de Madres), Andrea Werthein and Luis Lombardi (Industrial Park Suárez) and Luis Pascuali and Graciela Gerace from the ‘5 de Noviembre’ Community Centre. Many other local stakeholders have been involved, including: church groups, work cooperatives, schools, sports clubs, eating halls, social movements, as well as many people living in Independencia. All have given their valuable time to this project in order to collectively develop strategies for public space improvements.