Today I met with Prof. Vekstein, MArch Thesis Chair. Although I want to fix all the ills of asentamientos humanos through a single design, I must narrow the scope. Keep in mind that municipalities and federal governments follow strict budgets, especially in developing nations with restricted means. Inspired by then mayor Luis Castañeda’s “Escaleras Solidarias” -which are a series of concrete stairs painted yellow- it was decided best to focus on this existing amenity for the project.  While touring the sites, it was obvious that the stairs are more than circulation up and down the sandy hills. Rather, they serve as community spaces as children play and mothers chat.

People work in the city below. Daily, mothers and fathers walk up and down for work, food and play. The model now exists. Yellow stairs guide you to where everything else is. The problem: the walk. A new model is proposed based instead on the existing contours of residences. Horizontal links are proposed between these yellow stairs lifting amenity to the level of the residence.

Hypothesis: A series of plazas with bodegas and almacenes, infill housing of an improved state which serve as models to be replicated and adapted, lighting, and other civic elements. All of this along paths connecting existing stairways. These operations are incremental, each a layer of investment.  First the path, then the lights, then the houses with squares. A large area is planned connecting several stairways. Scenarios must be put forth: If full funds are available, the entire project is completed as designed. If the budget is cut in half, parts of the paths and all of the lights are put in place to be completed with time. As opposed to PREVI however, plans are available to guide completion and imaginative alterations. As the house is a process rather than object, so shall be open space.

Green is the new color proposed. A new political move intended to be seen but contrasted with the existing. A green line in contrast to yellow. This is an incremental urban stradegy inteded to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.  At some point, people need to stay on the hillsides. Design for this.

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