Ida Marttila , pp. 104. TKS/Fysisk planering, 2005.
In 1984, employees from the water company SEMAPA founded the housing area of SEMAPA. The area is a sub-area of District 1, a city district situated in the north part of the city of Cochabamba. This area consists of detached houses provided with technical infrastructure, such as water and sewage network. SEMAPA is in need of improvements concerning the outdoor environment. Within the housing area, there is a lack of public spaces and the majority of the streets are in poor condition. Furthermore the neighbourhood is divided in two separate parts; therefore the area does not work as a functional entity. To make proposals for the upgrading of this area have been in focus for my diploma work.
SEMAPA constitutes a so-called Base Territorial Organization (OTB, Organization Territorial del Base), an entity at the most local level of the administrative system in Bolivia. In the 1990s, there were administrative reforms carried out in the country. The decentralisation of some power and the construction of the local administrative units of OTB were created to, among other things, promote popular participation among the inhabitants.
I was given the task about planning of public spaces in this particular housing area through PROCASHA, an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) that promotes cooperative housing. The present process of democratisation in Bolivia has contributed to an increased interest for cooperative housing as an alternative way to attain acceptable housing for everyone. Today, there is no cooperative organization in the neighbourhood SEMAPA but discussions have begun concerning a future possibility to finance improvements of the public spaces by founding one.
Among the inhabitants of SEMAPA, there is a general awareness about the shortcomings within the housing area. A willingness to accomplish changes is also apparent. A lack of communication between the inhabitants complicates though any development to support collective and cooperative arrangements.
The overall aim of the study is to, on the basis of social and physical requirements specific for the area, make a proposal for improvements of the housing area. The main focus is on the design of public spaces in order to facilitate social activities. In order to reach this goal, an important issue concerns the identification of the interests and aspirations among the inhabitants as well as physical deficiencies restraining the inhabitants from carrying out social activities and collaboration. At present, the neighbourhood does not work as a functional unity; it is split up in two separated housing entities. Therefore, an additional purpose of this project is to connect the entities through spatial planning, and by doing so, increase the opportunities for future cooperative and collective organisation of the inhabitants.
I have developed a proposal and it comprises two sections; the street pattern and the recreational area. The overall aim of the proposal is to by means of physical changes facilitate social life with the purpose of increasing the possibilities to develop a community feeling.
The proposal includes a number of measures to improve the street pattern in the housing area. At present, there is no clear hierarchy concerning the streets and in general, most of the streets are physically in bad condition. This entails limited accessibility for both cars and pedestrians. Since only few inhabitants do possess cars it is above all important to create a safe street environment for the unprotected road users. In order to improve the street environment, I propose a hierarchical street net. The cars will still have access to all the streets but by means of re-designing of the streets the drivers will be encouraged to use only some for through traffic. The particular street leading through the recreational area will remain since this makes the entire housing area easily accessible. Nonetheless, the traffic and speed will be circumscribed by physical measures. Physical improvements of the streets, such as pavements, are also proposed to increase the safety and the accessibility for the pedestrians. Moreover, a new street and improvements of entrances will increase the accessibility to the housing area but also the exit from the area.
In order to facilitate social life, one of the most important measurements is the construction of public spaces for various activities and public meetings. Therefore, a central area aimed for recreational facilities is at the core of this proposal. The area will consist of public spaces suitable for different kind of activities, and parks to increase the green structure in the housing area. The covering of some parts of the canal is proposed, above all in order to create connected areas for the activities and to link together the separated housing area. In addition, the covering diminishes some of the problems due to the canal. A number of measures are also suggested concerning the remaining open parts of the canal in order to improve the perilous environment around the canal. To make the public spaces accessible, they are connected through a net of footpaths and streets designed mainly for unprotected road users. The footpaths facilitate also moving within the entire housing area. New buildings are suggested to be located along the sides in the recreational area, in connection to other buildings. To increase safety in SEMAPA measures are proposed concerning public lightning. The proposal includes also suggestions how to deal with and diminish the refuse problems.