Urban renewal for and by the people of Los Fresnos, Plaza Tepantla

                                                              

Urban renewal for and by the people of Los Fresnos, Plaza Tepantla

Fundación Hogares
Solution proposed by: 
Fundacion Hogares with the sponsorship of INFONAVIT (The National Housing Fund Institute for Workers) , Municipal Government of Tepic
In a Nutshell: 
Rehabilitation of a public space that benefited 6,811 residents in a low income neighborhood. The project included the renewal of 5540 sq/m of public space for 2000 houses that were built in 1986. The key to the success of this project was the community engagement strategy used by Fundacion Hogares, were the neighbors were involved in all the process starting with the definition of the program until the delivery of the project
Where and When: 
Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico in 2015; Time of execution 5 months
Challenges: 
The public spaces within the neighborhood of Los Fresnos had been abandoned for many years. The spaces were underutilized, neglected and prone to violence due to the lack of a constant presence. These spaces lacked of a particular definition that made them unappealing. The challenge was not only to propose a new design that fulfilled the community’s needs, but to understand why these spaces had been abandoned for decades and every previous intervention had been unsuccessful. The main challenge was to engage the community to participate in the transformation process of this space for their benefit, appropriation and care. This process was achieved with the support of INFONAVIT, (National Housing Fund Institute for Workers)
Innovation: 
The most innovative component of this project was the process used for community engagement; a process that Fundacion Hogares has developed and applies to all their urban renewal projects. This process includes workshops, visits and overall activities that give confidence to the neighbors and builds trust in the assigned team. Fundacion Hogares has also developed an Index of neighborhood social cohesion that seeks to measure four components interpersonal trust, sense of belonging, social identity, and participatory behavior before and after the project has been done. With the Index the interventions are evaluated and monitored through time to see the level of success of the proposed design and the community’s acceptance. This project received the National Urban Development Prize 2015 given by the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development in Mexico for the quality of the project and the exemplary work with the community.
Concept: 
The concept of this project was to make a particular intervention in a housing unit collaboratively. The purpose was to create networks of coexistence among neighbors using Mural Painting activities and with the design and improvement of their public spaces to promote the use and utilization of common areas in the residential complex. With the participation of the residents of Los Fresnos, Fundacion Hogares managed to complete a project that considers the characteristics of their cultural ancestors, the housing complex and the particular needs of the community to ensure their use and permanent appropriation
Description: 
With the help of an architect and a deep analysis made with the community, an architectural program and project was defined focused on the regeneration of the main plaza, called Plaza Tepantla. The project included a central plaza, football field with sitting area, playground, and a two story high lecture area. A skateboard area was first included and then substituted from the project at the request of the community, for a picnic area with tables and benches and grills. The intervention of these spaces began with the painting of its walls or Mural painting with the community’s participation who decided to include indigenous motives to resemble their cultural background from the Huicholes. The next step was to build a reading room that works as a lighthouse. The open area was designed to give use to every space in a different way., The use of local materials and the reminiscence to the ancestral indigenous people through the Mural Paintings reinforced the sense of community and pride which have helped in the social cohesion of this community.
Impacts: 
6,811 people were benefited with this project. The intervention included the following: 5,540 m2 of renewed surface; 4,374m2 of pavements, 128 m2 of new vegetation, 68 new trees, 112 new lights, 37 pieces of new urban furniture, 9 games for children. The most important impact was the social cohesion achieved, the sense of community generated after the completion of the project and the appropriation and use of the public area. In a final survey to evaluate the results of the project the key findings indicate that the perception of security was increased in 5%, the use of the public areas increased 8% and 58% of the population agreed that the project improved significantly the public areas. On the other hand around 34% of the respondents of the survey agreed that the physical intervention improved the sense of security in public places.

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