The Winstanley – York Road Estate and Comillas. Similarities and differences

Looking closely at the work of Group 9, I found some similarities in both proposed rehabilitation areas.
First, The Winstanley – York Road Estate and the neighborhood Comillas have been built during the years 60 and 70; therefore they have similar spatial conditions. The Winstanley – York Road Estate has more open spaces whereas Comillas has a higher building density.
A point where there is an important similarity is the immigration rate, although with different problematic. The Winstanley – York Road Estate Residents of Caribbean origin, having lived in the UK for many years are still segregated and have significant problems finding employment. As for the immigrant community in Comillas, mostly from Latin America, are well adapted and have less problems finding jobs, although this job are primarily as house helpers or looking after old people. The unemployment situation in both neighborhoods is not comparable as in the examples of London, 60 to 70% of the population is unemployed, whereas in Comillas the unemployment rate is 21.4%
To end my comment, I note that at York Road there are situations of gentrification that are replicated in Comillas. Although both neighborhoods had similar population base, the proposed rehabilitation program in Comillas is aimed to avoid any severe gentrification process.
Thank you very much.
Leidy Johana Rios Santofimio

Key balance…

Good afternoon everybody!
My thoughts about the key balances proposed by Professor Lamiquiz are based on the different approaches taken in London and Madrid in regards to Urban Renewal. From my point of view the fact that in London the private involvement and cooperation are always present when considering this type of intervention is the most relevant.
To consider privatization of public spaces is a hard decision but, in turn, it solves some issues that have been raised during this workshop, not always meaning that these private spaces are out of the reach to the public as, sometimes, privately owned spaces might be completely open to the general public.
The case of study I had to reviewed (The Winstanley – York Road Estate) had relations with the studies led by Professor José Miguel Güell on Comillas socioeconomic analysis, in regards for example, on setting the appropriate framework trying to match the local job seekers with the local demand, such as offering subsidies to employers who hire neighborhood residents and improving the qualification of the work-force, strategy used, as well in the Urban II project in Lambeth..
To summarize, in my opinion we have to seek innovative strategies to help diminish the unemployment rates while creating new market opportunities that, in turn, will boost local economies. This process will definitely take place within the fabric of the consolidated cities and therefore that is why the research on sustainable rehabilitation, from the holistic point of views where, the mobility aspects, the environmental aspects and the socioeconomic aspects is crucial.
Thank you very much.
Leidy Johana Rios Santofimio

KEY BALANCES: GENTRIFICATION VS. LOCALS PROTECTION

The rehabilitation and urban revitalization hide, behind euphemistic speech, the growing commercialization of cities and the increase of social differences on a territorial scale. The adaptation to the urban environment of these two terms that make up today’s city is to meet the needs of consumers with greater purchasing power. This occurs at the expense of the people who inhabited these areas before, usually with lower incomes. Gentrification is the process of social change and urban transformation in which the resident population of a deteriorated neighborhood and with low levels of income is gradually displaced by other middle class people or mean – higher with higher purchasing power. Therefore, the use of this term is generally in a negative sense.

Currently, urban regeneration processes are developed in the center of cities, because the urban expansion has left the face center to the periphery, which has led to the abandonment of the city center for years and its consequent degradation. These centers have been occupied by poorer population and immigrants. Clearly, these areas need a rehabilitation process, but, is it possible to keep the local population there?

It is clear that, in a city, areas where homes are more expensive than others will always be found, and that they will be inhabited by more affluent population. But on a social level it is not significant that new people have more or less money, but that local people can access housing without finding excessive pricing or being forced to leave out of the neighborhood against their will, due to rising house prices.

When planning these interventions the risk of loss of part of the social fabric of the neighborhood runs, creating exclusive areas for social classes. The city no longer has the function of being for all, then it becomes a group of ghettos divided by level of income. To fight against gentrification, cities like Amsterdam have housing plans with imposed a 70% social housing, in order to avoid the social segmentation of the city.

Not all urban renewal plans are gentrifiers themselves, but they will if they have a relevant magnitude and do not take into account the importance of ensuring that access to housing in the area after the renovation is accessible to people of all kind of income, especially for its current inhabitants.

Sandra Expósito

COMPARING PECKHAM AND COMILLAS

Peckham and Comillas interventions are two different projects related to the delimitation of the intervention area. Peckham`s intervention takes place along a street, reorganizing the public space and rearranging allowed activities that may influence the use of this space. Moreover, Comillas rehabilitation project is done on an entire neighborhood, so it takes into account factors up to a much broader scale.
However, both projects pursue common goals. The interventions planned in Peckham try to reorganize the public space, specially the street, in order to enhance the use of this space by the population. Similarly, the intervention on public space in Comillas goes after the same purpose, pedestrianizing streets, improving their appearance and introducing activities such as urban gardens, flea markets or outdoor activities so the space becomes a dynamic area.
Moreover, these two spaces present problems of social exclusion. On the one hand, it is understood that cultural diversity can be an advantage, but it can also cause conflicts if there is no integration in society. The low use of public space and social exclusion favor the generation of conflicts between the different ethnical groups. A greater use of public space and the introduction of commercial activities that support mobility and increase the flow of people through these marginal areas are committed to remedy this situation in both projects.
In Comillas the rehabilitation is facilitated by the public intervention already made on the Manzanares River, Madrid Rio. Such intervention will inevitably change the area. A complex of activities that will serve as a gateway to the neighborhood will develop in its vicinity. Peckham`s regeneration is motivated by a series of interventions or key projects, the relocation of the bus station and the open spaces and large areas of development, which have reorganized the space along the street.
As for the funding and implementation of the project, both interventions have carried out actions by the public and the private sectors. Perhaps in the case of Peckham the involvement of the community has been more important when making decisions. This should be taken into account in the case of Comillas once the intervention begins.

Sandra Expósito

About KEY BALANCES: Car-free neighborhoods vs. accessibility to economic activities

Taking as a reference the studies by Allan B. Jacobs, the streets are, to many, the external world, an alternative to the closed spaces, a meeting points, a place for interaction (from the social an commercial perspective), a place were the people has the possibility to find each other. Eminently urban, they are essential for the functioning of the cities. The street has a symbolic, ceremonial, social and political function. Above all, doubtlessly, the main role of the street is to facilitate the communication and the public access to the private property.

In many cases, the pedestrian have to compete with the automobile for space, especially on main streets. As Buchanan puts it: “very often the neighborhoods instead of having a street with car as a boundary, they are surrounded by it.” It is true that the pedestrian pathways are more flexible and easy to accommodate, but, nonetheless, they should not be relegated or design as a back street alleys.

In general, the shop owners stand against the conversion of streets into pedestrian ways, but there are examples in which this actions contribute to the betterment of the area, such as the case of Calle Huertas in Madrid. Being the minimum accessibility ensured, the limitation to the traffic not always worsen the situation of the commercial activities, on the contrary, it has been proved that the “ Flexible pedestrianization” is a very wise solution to the problems generated, for example, by the car in the old city centers.

In any case, the pedestrianization is not the only resource to approach the problematic of vehicle in the city. There are design solutions as the “woonerf”, “traffic calming” and shared-spaces. It is always imperative to analyze the impact of these measurements on the traffic of the adjacent neighborhood before implementing them.

Clara Díaz García

West Euston reviving Project / Comilla’s

In my opinion, one of the most important factors of this Project that could be implemented in Comillas is the proposal to revitalize the existing commercial space. The proposal considers the addition of restaurants, art galleries, ateliers as well as the refurbishment of the Cumberland market as one of the new centralities of the area to enhance, in addition, the open air activities.

One of the proposed new activities for Comillas is the localization in the southern tip of the area a new mix use development in connection with the tube station “Plaza Eliptica”, similar to the one the London team proposes along Euston St.

For their proposal, the proximity to the metro station as well as to the University compound is the location most important characteristic that will boost the new activities. In our case the main localization characteristic will be the proximity to Madrid-Rio as it is the most important influence to the neighborhood and to this part city.

On the other hand, both teams propose a better pedestrian accessibility, linking the pedestrian itineraries with Madrid-Rio, the redesign of some streets as it is the case with calle Antonio López, the addition of a new bike-lane and an in depth study of the public transport system serving the neighborhood.

Clara Díaz García

ARCHWAY / COMILLAS

After studying and comparing Archway project and Comillas I found some similarities that could be applied to our neighborhood, but also things that archway could use as an input for their project.

Both projects are based in pedestrianization in order to push actual economic activities and try to solve the existing problems in the public space. Lack of uses and high traffic pressure are the main problems in both projects.

In order to solve these problems both groups have decided to bring new uses into the area, such as hotels, markets, etc, and reconfigure the existing public space and redistribute traffic to combat congestion.  Decrease road traffic and infrastructures, and provide high quality community facilities in the new open spaces.

In the archway case, they try to mix day and nighttime life and increase edificability and introduce residential uses. This idea may be interesting as an input for Comillas, but as we saw in the economic repercussion analysis they won’t work properly because of the sociodemografic profile.

Objectives in both interventions are quite similar but each group approached them under different points of view. So Archway focus on economical aspects and on finding public and private founding, instead Comillas group tried to make a wider analysis including sustainability aspects and mobility issues,. This multidisciplinary analysis may have helped to enrich the archway proposal and give a global view of the area to solve the local problems.

On the other hand, Archway area is a small piece of urban tissue which makes it very punctual, and more difficult to solve, because there is no way to modify the neighborhood and try to integrate and solve those punctual problems with global actions. This circumstance could put on risk the previous analysis and distorting the diagnosis, making the objectives and proposal weaker. Nevertheless, the Archway proposal seems suitable and not difficult to turn into a reality, the only issue is that it may not work as the expected because we don’t know how the entire neighborhood works.

Comillas suffers the opposite situation. The global analyses are deep but there is no local analysis. Non of the local associations took place in the proposal, which makes the global analysis as week as in the Archway case, because even knowing the global problematic, punctual areas may need different interventions than the already proposed.

Comillas is a big neighborhood with more than 15.000 people and different urban tissues, and even if we tried to give a singular respond to each area there are problems that can’t be solved with our proposal. Using Archways methodology we could apply to our neighborhood the public private collaboration, and use local commercial associations to detect local problems and let them offer their own solutions.

Finally, would like to add that boosting public spaces is not always enough to convert a depressed area into a qualified zone, mobility and social aspects are fundamental in order to comprehend a neighborhood for future interventions, not only introducing economic activities is going to solve the problems, because if the actual economic activities aren’t doing well there must be some other reason behind that can’t be solved introducing more “problems”.

Jon Endika Tamayo Calatraveño

KEY BALANCES-CAR-FREE NEIGHBORHOODS VS. ACCESSIBILITY TO ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

Car congestion has become a main issue for many cities around the world. The mobility demands in private cars keeps increasing overcharging the road systems, and the administration can’t invest on increasing the system anymore. It is obvious that extending and increasing the road net can’t solve mobility problems. Any government spatially in biggest metropolitan areas where the mobility problems are difficult to solve using only these criteria can’t afford the costs for these investments.

This congestion began to affect the main city entries in the rush hour, and kept spreading into the city ending in the local roads, and nowadays it is a global problem for all the cities.

Pollution and noise levels have reached unusual levels that reduces citizens life quality and in order to socioeconomic looses, it’s quantified that in 1992 in the city of Madrid 250.000 hours a day were lost in the traffic jams. This amount of lost hours means that the economy didn’t profit of this peoples time to spend their money or even produce in their jobs.

These problems forced some governments to apply some actions or laws to reduce congestion and establish a minimum ambient and quality spaces in the city. For example many companies around the world have take the compromise to introduce different schedules for their employees to graduate the affluence. Other promote mass transport use selling cheaper tickets, or carpool systems, shuttle busses for employees etc.

The result of all this little policies are positive in terms of congestion reduction and doesn’t affect the local economy activities at all, furthermore, they are benefited by this congestion reduction, so people can reach those places in an easier way and saving time in their displacements. In numbers cities as Pleasanton reached a 43% of congestion reduction in the first year of application.

In the Spanish case, many cities have adopted some other ways to solve the local problems. Europe is different to US in this area because our cities are more compact and dense. There is always been controversy between car free areas a local economic activities since these movements began to take place in our cities.

First examples of pedestrianization in Madrid are Preciados Street. At the beginning local commerce was against the city council and thought that if there wasn’t a car access people won’t come to buy there. Not only they didn’t loose activity but they increase their sells exponentially and Preciados is nowadays the most transited street in Europe.

Car free neighborhoods not only help local economies, they help to create comfortable and attractive areas in the city, and revalue the inner neighborhoods creating new opportunities for new companies and commerce.

Of course, this car free policies need to be supported by a strong mass transport offer so people can reach this areas in an easy way and in a reasonable time, instead this pedestrian areas won’t work properly and the economy activities will suffer the consequences.

Jon Endika Tamayo Calatraveño

KEY BALANCES: Thoughts about Gentrification vs. Local’s protection.

I would like to share my thoughts about Gentrification vs. local’s protection. I believe that is a very interesting topic since it’s a phenomenon that happens for various reasons and it could be study and even cause at will.
Gentrification is a dynamic that could happen when the areas are object of renewals, improvements and modifications. Usually this dynamics emerges in poor urban areas, which have been forgotten and neglected and lost value during time. This brings consequence such as residents with low incomes and poor maintenance neighborhoods.
When this area are object to chance by residential shifts or urban planning the cost of the life increases and the effect is that the pre-gentrification residents are force to leave. There are various ways to try to control the gentrification community organizing, zoning ordinances and inclusionary zoning.
The local protection is an action which should a priority, in case of study of Comillas, the goal is to achieve a balance. When it brings diversity and to provide dynamism to a population then it’s well receive, meanwhile when it’s destructive and forces the residents to move it’s considered un contra effect.

Battersea Power Station – Case Studies in Preparing Regeneration Projects 2012-13 – Group 4

The proposal of the Battersea Power Station is very interesting, the study and the presentation is very complete and show a clear study of the location, the history of the previous plans, the cultural contexts and the impacts. The analysis is noteworthy because it shows key aspects of the neighborhood such as the demography, key findings, mobility study and a swot diagram. Especially the SWOT, helps for the development for the proposal, it show the main weakness and opportunities to work on.
The final proposal it’s very interesting and the management policies are thoroughly defined, specially planning and the cost strategy. In my opinion, the main weakness in this study is the lack of detail in the activities surrounding the Battersea Power Station. This aspect could have enriched the study and the proposal because it could have shown clearly the how the renewal of the architectural piece, in this industrial area, would be coupled and become a benefit for the neighborhood.
After analyzing the Battersea Power Station project, for the present work shop, was need to compare to the Comillas project. In my opinion, the main conclusion is that the projects are viewed from completely different angles. Both projects share some similarities, such as in the way how they are served and connected to the modes of transport and how both are close to a waterfront walk. Both project share similar goals, for example the better used of the waterfront connection, the creating of sites for community integration and to provide business incubator.
The projects of Comillas and the Battersea Power Station, as said before, are very different studies. The first ones, it centers in the renewal of the neighborhood as a hole, in the second project propose to use an architectural piece to benefit the surroundings.
Some of the ideas, of the Comillas projects could be used for the Battersea Power Station project, especially because this one doesn’t detail the surroundings of the architectural piece. Proposals like the introducing economic activities to revitalize the zone the generation of pedestrian streets and connections to the waterfront, provision of business space in the form of business incubator and the provision of the community space and facilities are zone of the common ideas of both projects.
In conclusion, both projects share common goals and both have existing similar weakness, but the proposals and the especially the way to approach the problems are very alike.