The public plot of the old Fuensanta’s cinema, a neighbourhood in Córdoba (Spain), was reactivated and transformed into a community space in 2014 after two years of working with neighbours. Colaborativa acted as initiators, motivators, gardeners and crowdfunding campaign managers. The Fuensanta’s community space has become a notable example of citizen driven reactivation of public spaces
“#UrbanismoDeBarrio” is a project by Colaborativa.eu and Tercera Piel Arquitectura –in collaboration with numerous architects, individuals, collectives and social agents– to recover abandoned public plots by the neighbours taking firsthand action. #UrbanismoDeBarrio’s involvement is voluntary and starts organizing activities to boost the reactivation of the space from the debate and neighbour’s participation.
#UrbanismoDeBarrio’s work spreads during the recovery phase and until a stable community exists around the plot. When the time comes #UrbanismoDeBarrio leaves daily participation and focuses on documentation and dissemination of the project. However, the link with the project is never lost and #UrbanismoDeBarrio follows its development closely while continues working in other districts.
The team of #UrbanismoDeBarrio spends one afternoon a week working side by side with neighbours during the recovery phase. The medium term engagement and physical labour are essential for building trust. In addition, the team is in charge of social media marketing, provide technical assistance, document every day, disseminate the achievements on the media and other networks, organize workshops and, definetely, create a community around the plot and open its recovery to the whole neighbourhood.
“#UrbanismoDeBarrio” proposes a decentralized organization -following similar models as those of the free software community- in which nobody is essential to ensure the project continuity. The communication is based on an email list and social networks, and supported by weekly face-to-face meetings far away from assembly’s models. A sporadic participation is also promoted by keeping the working team open and new people to join the team is encouraged by creating a friendly culture. A practical example of #UrbanismoDeBarrio is the recovery of the public plot of the old Fuensanta’s cinema which is described next.
The public plot of the old Fuensanta’s cinema is located at Hernando de Magallanes street in Fuensanta’s neighbourhood, Cordoba (Spain), one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the city. The plot remained unused from the cinema’s demolition in the 1990s and transformed into a dump of 2000 square-meters in the heart of the neighbourhood. Neighbours demanded to the city council its recovery in many occasion without success.
Reactivation (September 2012)
“#UrbanismoDeBarrio” started in September 2012 when Colaborativa.eu and Tercera Piel Arquitectura voluntarily organized several activities in the public plot of the old Fuensanta’s cinema. The event was included into the Fuensanta’s local festivity and was used to give a voice to the neighbourhood about the possible uses of the abandoned public plot.
All the activities were free of charge, coordinated by volunteers and consisted of: a walk around the neighbourhood, a building recycled furniture workshop, an urban vegetable gardens workshop and a urbanism for children workshop. All of them took place in the plot and the creation of a vegetable garden was the most popular activity. The Fuensanta’s neighbourhood was originated over the old vegetable gardens at the East side of the city; therefore an initial predisposition already existed. Roles:
- Iniciators and organizers: Colaborativa.eu and Tercera Piel Arquitectura.
- Coordinators: Rafael Blázquez, Antonio Lara, Laura Paños.
- Public: neighbours.
- Dissemination: local communities and collectives, festivities local office.
Recovery (October 2012 to February 2014)
In October 2012, #UrbanismoDeBarrio together with the neighbours decided to independently recover the public plot of the old Fuensanta’s cinema and transform it into Fuensanta’s vegetable garden. In spring 2013, a crowdfunding campaign in Goteo.org was iniciated to obtain the necessary resources to ensure the project’s continuity. The warm welcome of the crowdfunding campaign triggered the interest in the vegetable garden by the neighbourhood and the rest of the city.
The Fuensanta’s vegetable garden is kept open to everyone free of charge and has a living area to carry out collective activities. The Fuensanta’s vegetable garden has consolidated as an example of citizen management of a public space in Cordoba thanks to the team work and generosity of many people, collectives and communities. It has also became a good social integration tool in the neighbourhood promoting social relationships between generations and healthy habits such as healthy diet and physical activity.
- Gardeners: neighbours.
- Motivators, gardeners and campaign managers: Colaborativa.eu.
- Activities’ organizers: many neighbourhood’s collectives.
- Collaborators: schools and colleges of the district.
- Co-financiers: more than 60 people.
Continuation (from March 2014)
Eighteen months later, the Fuensanta’s vegetable garden is the neighbourhood’s pride and a project model for the rest of the city. The neighbours took over the management and the integration in the daily activities of the district is complete.
- Gardeners and motivators: neighbours.
- Collaborators: schools and colleges of the district.
- Documentation: Colaborativa.eu.
The Fuensanta’s vegetable garden has been a project full of challenges and wonderful people we work with side by side during months: María Luisa, María José, Andrés, Inmaculada, Jacobo, Jerónimo, Manolo, Juan Carlos, Francisco, Antonio, Isabel, Ana, Bárbara, Sergio, Lola, Carletes, Pilar, Laura, Paco, Rafael, Mari Carmen, Sonia, Esperanza, Olivia and more…